The Grand National is not only the most popular steeplechase chase in the UK and Ireland, it also has worldwide appeal given the unique nature of the 4m4f contest. Here are some trends to look out for ahead of this year’s contest.
Thirteen of the last 14 winners of the Grand National have been between the age of 9 and 11. That suggests that novices or horses with little experience struggle in this big field. It is also a big negative for horses aged 12, as this gruelling contest is probably too much for them at the latter stages of their career.
The most common age for winners in the last 14 years is ten, where there have been four horses who have been successful. If you are looking for a 10-year-old to back this year, then Tenor Nivernais for Venetia Williams fits that bill. The consistent chaser is 25/1 in The Grand National Festival on Paddy Power betting.
Only one horse in the last 40 years has won with a weight of 11st 7lbs or more in the Grand National and that was Many Clouds in 2015, as he had 11-09 on his back when successful. That stat would be a huge concern for connections of Carlingford Lough, The Last Samuri and Alelchi Inois. On the other hand, the 10/1 ante-post favourite Vieux Lion Rouge is nicely placed in the middle of the weights and will only have to carry 10-11. He was not penalised for his victory at Haydock in the Grand National Trial as the handicapper had already revealed his weights list at that point. That alone suggests he is nicely handicapped so should have a big chance of going better than his sixth-placed finish in 2016.
It is every jockey’s dream to win the Grand National once in their career, but as you can see from the recent history of the race, Leighton Aspell has had the pleasure of riding the victor in two of the last three years as he partnered Pineau De Re in 2014, while just 12 months later he was on board Many Clouds. That suggests Aspell rides this tough course better than anyone. Jockey bookings have yet to be confirmed for the race; however, the two-time winner has ridden The Romford Pele and Gas Line Boy before, and therefore they could both be options for him as they both have solid each-way claims.
It goes without saying that you need a horse who can jump well to win the Grand National. If you look at the last two winners of the world famous steeplechase, neither Many Clouds or Rule The World had fallen in their careers. That would make you put a line through horses who have a ‘F’ on their form line. Before you do that, though, bear in mind that the 2013 winner Auroras Encore had fallen five times before he won the Grand National, while the 2014 champion Pineau De Re had come down twice but was still able to get the job done at Aintree. Horses who have not fallen before should be given more consideration; however, do not rule a fancy out, i.e Saphir Du Rheu in this year’s race, just because he fell in the Hennessy Gold Cup earlier in the season which was won by Native River.
If you want to have a further look at trends ahead of the 2017 Grand National then you can also study the prices, trainer form and ability to handle the ground at Aintree. However, the above four factors will hopefully be enough to steer you towards this year’s winner of the race.