September 2021

All Things Seem Possible in May

By his own admission, veteran Newmarket trainer Sir Michael Stoute has ‘been at it a long time’. In fact, the worldly-wise Barbadian first took out a public training licence, in his own right, in 1972 and, in career spanning five decades, has been crowned Champion Trainer ten times, most recently in 2009. In June, 2018, Stoute also became the most successful trainer of all time at Royal Ascot, beating the previous record held by the late Sir Henry Cecil; he has since recorded four more victories to take his career tally to 80 winners at the Royal Meeting.

One oft-repeated pearl of wisdom regarding the master of Freemason Lodge – repeated, that is, by many learned judges, including the scribes at Timeform – involves his performance during the month of May in any given season. Stoute is renowned for his patient, unhurried approach to training, but typically starts to unveil his better horses from early May onwards which, nowadays, coincides with the start of the official Flat season at the Guineas Festival at Newmarket.

The theory goes that by blindly backing every horse saddled by Stoute during May, punters can generate a profit, almost without thinking about it. That may well have been true in the past, especially during the early Noughties, but closer inspection of the results from the last decade or so suggests that caution is required. In fact, since 2010, Sir Michael Stoute has recorded a level stakes profit in May just three times and blindly backing ever runner in that period produced a level stakes loss of 32.39 points. However, two of the last three years produced healthy profits, of 48.20 points in May, 2017, and 31.70 points in May, 2019.