Applying some numbers to the biggest race of the year………
Thousands will flock to the course, Millions will watch on television and many will be having their only bet of the year. The Grand National, a race etched in everyone’s calendar, grabs the attention of the general public and racegoers alike across the globe. All of them eagerly waiting to see if their horse(s) make it round the course to give them their sweepstake, favourite colour or lucky number winner.
With so many variables to consider, even the most season horse tipster will be left scratching their head when it comes to the Grand National. Let me give you a few stats to maybe help turn the annual Pin Job into a slightly more calculated selection, or at least get some of your runners past that first fence!
The Profile of a Winning Horse
Let’s start by looking at the previous winners over the last 15 years and seeing what trends we can take away to help us reduce the field a little.
If we look at the Age of the horse when winning, the average over the last 15 years has been 9.8. You certainly don’t want to be 12 or over as there has only been one 12 year old winner back in 2004. Until the last 3 years you certainly didn’t want to be a relative youngster either, with only 2 eight year old winners coming in 2015 and last year.
The weight that a horse has to carry on its back also plays a large part in determining whether the horse has a fair chance of passing the winning post first. Carrying more weight than 11st 5 does not bode well for any horses this year, as there have only been three winners in the last 15 years who have accomplished that feat to win. The average weight carried has been 10st 9 with the lowest down at 10st 3.
So in conclusion based on the above you could be ruling out the chances of fancied runner Minella Rocco who scrapes in on age at 8 but is carrying top weight at 11st 10.
63% of Horses do not make it over the 30 fences of Aintree
Although emphasis has turned more towards being a staying horse and less focus on jumping in recent years, its still a fundamental part of the Grand National.
As per the above graph broken down by where horses tend to fall during the race, if you get past Becher’s Brook, the stats say you are in with a good chance of getting round. Of course on occasions it doesn’t even have to be your horse that falls. Another horse can easily bring yours down, which makes it all the more important to get in a good position whilst navigating your way around the National course.
These fences still need to be jumped however and if the weather forecast comes true for Saturday with the ground due to be very testing, having a good jumping record becomes even more important. Only two winners in the last 15 years have won when having a previous record of falling or unseating their rider more than twice prior to their Aintree success.
If we were to rule out a runner based on this information, then we would have to rule out Irish favourite Total Recall from the reckoning.
The Odds Don’t Lie – It’s The most open Race of the Year
The best way to normally tell whether a horse has a good chance of winning or not is to look at the odds that the bookmakers are giving for that horse to finish first. The lower the odds on offer the higher the % chance of winning, but don’t be fooled this is definitely not a race for favourites with only three winning favourites in the last 15 years.
If we take out the outlier from 2009 where Mon Mome strolled in at 100/1 for Venetia Williams and Jockey Liam Treadwell then the average SP for the winning horse stands at22/1. There are roughly 13 horses at odds of 25/1 or less at the moment, its very competitive but I think its worth focusing your energy on the lower side of that number rather than the less fancied runners.
Summary and One Against the Field
There are so many variables as I mentioned that could be considered here, trainer form for example has always been important. Only Donald McCain has had more than one winner of the National in the last 15 years and he doesn’t even have a runner this year. Can Gordon Elliot continue is tremendous form on from Cheltenham?
Surely a seasoned Grand National jockey has to be one of the tick boxes you look for when selecting your horse. Alas no, you will not find Richard Johnson, Davy Russell or other more fancied Jockey’s whom you may have thought had experienced the winning enclosure at the Grand National. Only Leighton Aspell has won the race more than once in the last 15 years, back to back in 2014 and 2015.
Course form, going on the day, fitness of the horse, all undoubtedly play a factor in your selection. Alternatively, enter a sweepstake, close your eyes and let the pin do the job for you, you might just find you hit the jackpot in the true spirit of the Grand National.
Selection: Ucello Conti 25/1 – Trainer: Gordon Elliot Jockey: Daryl Jacob
This 10 year old horse has previous course experience ( albeit unseated last year ), has a weight of 10st 9, a Jockey that has won the National before and his trainer is flying. Elliot’s other runner Tiger Roll also has a good chance.
Blaklion has a fantastic chance and should be a nailed on place horse but I just feel he has slightly too much weight in testing conditions for a relatively small horse.
Good luck to all…………………………