Wednesday, 25th Apr 2018
A look at the key trends for the world’s greatest steeplechase on Saturday, April 14
With a maximum field of 40 set to go to post for Randox Health Grand National at Aintree on Saturday, April 14, it may appear a daunting task to try and find the winner.
However, studying key trends for the big race can be a useful tool to narrow down the runners when making your selection so Horsebetting.com have produced a guide to help you do just that.
Here’s a look at some leading points to take into consideration before placing your bets on the stamina-sapping extended 4m 2f test at the Merseyside venue.
Twelve of the last 20 Grand National winners have been aged nine or 10. Eight-year-olds have been successful three times in the same period, with two of those victories coming in the last three runnings.
One For Arthur was eight when landing the spoils 12 months and, prior to the late, great Many Clouds winning at the same age in 2015, the three previous runnings were landed by 11-year-old horses.
In 2011, horses aged between nine and 11 filled the first 10 places. The last seven-year-old to win the Grand National was Bogskar way back in in 1940, so avoid them like the plague!
The Grand National was once considered a lottery which any horse was capable of winning. That is no longer the case due to the new framing of the weights, which means that the handicap is more compacted allowing the class horses to perform better.
Most recent winners ran off an official rating given by the British Horseracing Authority of between 136 and 160, with only Bobby Jo (1999) and Little Polvier (1989) winning from “out of the handicap”. Five of the last 10 Grand National winners have carried 11st or more.
Horses that have run within the previous 50 days have fared best in the past 30 renewals.
However, this trend was bucked last year when the Scottish trained One For Arthur won off the back of an 84-day absence – following success in the Classic Chase at Warwick. Overall though, a recent run is clearly a good thing.
Market leaders don’t have a good record in the Grand National. Just five have won since Grittar landed a gamble went sent off 7/1 market leader in 1982.
However, Don’t Push It was sent off joint-favourite at 10/1 when famously providing legendary jockey AP McCoy with his first success in the race.
The last horse to go off at less than 5/1 was Red Rum, and he was 7/2 when beaten by L’Escargot in 1975. Blaklion and Total Recall are currently vying for ante post favouritism for this year’s renewal.
Anything sent from across the Irish Sea to the Aintree Grand National commands the utmost respect.
One third (five) of the last 15 winners have came from the Emerald Isle, with the last being the Mouse Morris trained Ruler Of The World in 2016.
Ladbrokes Trophy winner Total Recall (Willie Mullins) and 2017 Grand National runner-up Cause Of Causes (Gordon Elliott) are among the leading Irish trained horse heading into this year’s contest.
Only Ruby Walsh and Leighton Aspell have won the race more than once in the last 40 years. Walsh looks set to partner Total Recall this time around.
Don’t let an inexperienced jockey over the unique Grand National fences put you off, though, as Liam Treadwell gave 100/1 outsider Mon Mome a peach of ride to win at the first attempt in 2009.
Derek Fox was also successful at the first attempt when giving One For Arthur an ice cool ride from off the pace to win in 2017 by 4 1/2 lengths from Cause Of Causes.
The last horse to win the Grand National, which had not previously won over a distance of 3m or further, was Gay Trip in 1970.
The Topham Chase, which is also run over the same fences and at the same meeting, can be seen as a pointer to future Grand National winners. However that race is is run over a distance of almost two miles shorter.
Another key Grand National trial that gives horses experience of the fences is the Becher Chase at Aintree over just shy of 3m 2f – around a mile short of the big race – every late November or early December. Having a horse that has raced over 3m is paramount for the Grand National.
Nigel Twiston-Davies has been the most successful trainer in recent Grand National history, winning the race in 1998 and 2002 with Earth Summit and Bindaree.
Blaklion, a winner of the RSA Chase at the 2016 Cheltenham Festival and a fine fourth in last year’s race when his rider arguably kicked for home to early, is among the market principals for this year’s Grand National.
This is because of his success in the Becher Chase over the unique fences and he was runner-up in the official Grand National Trial at Haydock.
Since the Second World War only seven horses carrying more than 11st 5lbs have won the race.
Fourteen of the last 20 Grand National winners carried less than 11st. Of the first 10 home in 2017, only Blaklion carried over 11st and finished fourth.
However, the quality of the race is getting higher every year and Don’t Push It won off 11st 5lb in 2010, Neptune Collonges off 11st 6lb in 2012,and Many Clouds off 11st 9lb in 2015.