MINI BETTING SYSTEM #9: National Hunt Trainers That Win to Follow in January & February

After a flurry of big National Hunt races in December, there is something of a lull before Cheltenham, and Aintree’s major festivals bring the curtain down on the season. Yes, there are still plenty of good races in January and February, but nothing near the scale of the Gold Cup or Grand National.

While the likes of Mullins, Henderson, and Nicholls try to land the big one, there are plenty of trainers who quietly go about their business. As the top dogs plan their assaults for March and April, there is a period where it pays to focus on more minor National Hunt races. The basis of this article is to find trainers capable of earning us a profit in the early part of the year.

I will focus on the best National Hunt trainers for January and February. All data is from 2016 to the present.

You can see all the past mini betting systems here.

The Mini Betting System Rules

January National Hunt Trainers

  1. Focus on handicap races.
  2. Bet only on horses from the following trainers: Sue Smith and Christian Williams.
  3. Stick with horses at SP odds of 19.00 or less.

February National Hunt Trainers

  1. Focus on handicap races.
  2. Bet only on Fergal O’Brien’s horses.
  3. Stick with horses at SP odds of 19.00 or less.

The Logic

Trainers tend to peak at different times of the year, whether for National Hunt, Flat, or All-Weather racing. In the case of NH racing, some trainers focus on the major events at the end of the season, while others are content to pick up a few winners in minor races.

As such, it is worth looking at NH trainers that fare well in January, after the excitement of the Kempton Christmas festival has died down. I also looked for trainers who do well in February, when the spectre of Cheltenham begins to loom large.

Overall, I found two trainers worth following in January and one in February. All three perform significantly better in handicap races. The A/E must remain above 1.10 to ensure you get value for your bets. The SP odds are, as usual, set at 19.00 to ensure the occasional big-priced winner does not skew the microsystems’ results.

The Results


I continue to try and be even more rigorous with the selection process. It will result in fewer bets but far better systems.

BetsWinsStrike RateP/L UnitsROI BFA/E

The Smith and Williams combination yields a win rate of over 32% in January. Williams is relatively new and has only had runners during the last three Januarys. Overall, you are looking at an average of 30 bets during the month, which averages one a day.

The A/E figure is extremely high, and this microsystem has yielded a profit of at least 34% or 10 units, in each of the last five Januarys.

It is worth noting that this is still a high-risk system, which means you may experience long losing spells. Thus far, this system has endured a 12-bet losing run. Its longest winning run stands at four, with three straight wins happening five times.

This system also offers a profit if you want to make place bets. The win rate is over 52%, with a profit of 38 units and an ROI of 29%. Place betting has been profitable ever since Williams became involved in 2018.


It was even trickier to find a trainer worth pursuing in February, but Fergal O’Brien ticks all of the boxes. Here are his results from 2016 to the present.

BetsWinsStrike RateP/L UnitsROI BFA/E

One of the best things is that O’Brien has improved in recent years. After recording a loss of almost three units in 2016, punters would have earned at least six units for the next four Februarys. The A/E is again extremely high, and O’Brien had six winners from 19 runners in February 2020. While it isn’t a large number, this is a worthy microsystem to add to your collection.

The longest losing run of eight happened in his last seven races of February 2017 and in his first race of February 2018, which he followed up with three wins in four races. O’Brien has also achieved three wins in a row on one occasion.

In the last three years, backing O’Brien horses to place in February would earn 14 units of profit from 40 bets, or an ROI of 35%.  

In Summary

It is also worth looking for All-Weather trainers that excel at the beginning of the year as all eye turns towards the National Hunt season’s final act.

The two NH microsystems above have offered consistent profit from betting on wins or places in the last few years.

Try creating a portfolio of mini-systems with different risk profiles. The systems in this article very much belong in the high-risk zone.

If you’d like to get the horses for every mini-system in Patrick’s Portfolio found and sent to you each day, you can register at

Patrick Lynch

Patrick graduated from the National University of Ireland, Galway with an MA in Literature and Publishing but decided he would rather have the freedom of a freelance writer than be stuck in a publishing house all day. He has enjoyed this freedom since 2009 and has written thousands of articles on a variety of topics but sports betting is his passion. While his specialty is finding mismatches in obscure football leagues, he also likes to use his research skills to provide punters with detailed winning strategies in horse racing. You can check out his personal blog on or Twitter @pl1982 where he writes content to help small businesses achieve success.
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