2018 Crabbie’s Grand National
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Stats & Trends

Grand National Trends Tips - The Short List

Courtesy of grand-national-guide.co.uk

Nine of the past ten previous winners, shared the following characteristics -

  • 9 to 12 years old
  • handicap rating above 135 on the day
  • weight of 11 stone 6lb or under
  • won over at least three miles
  • run in at least ten chases
  • won a chase worth at least £13,000

Each one of these trends should be considered when looking at the list of this year's Grand National runners.

You can use this Grand National form tool to input the criteria and show you the list of horses which fit the trends. Add your own criteria to further narrow down the field.

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© Racehorse Photos


Aimed at The Grand National

At Grand National Guide we have always advised to look for a Grand National runner who has been aimed at the race all season. One way is to look for horses that have run over hurdles in the current year.

The reason trainers run their Grand National hopes over hurdles is to protect their chase handicap mark. Horses have different handicap ratings for whether they are running over hurdles or chases. Should a horse run well in a chase early in the year then their handicap mark will be increased and this then makes their chances of winning the Grand National much harder.

Its no surprise then that

6 OF THE LAST 10 GRAND NATIONAL WINNERS RAN OVER HURDLES IN THE SEASON THEY WON THE GRAND NATIONAL. (Comply Or Die, Neptune Colonges, Auroras Encore and Many Clouds did not)

Grand National Trends - Age

Stamina reserves and jumping ability are the two most crucial requirements for a Grand National winner. Younger horses have a poor record in the race which is probably because they tend to have more speed than stamina.

As horses age, like humans, they tend to lose speed and gain stamina. With so many difficult jumps, experience is the key to success.

We have to go back to 1940 to find a horse younger than 8 has won the Grand National.

Much older horses also tend to struggle in the Grand National as a horse needs to be in its prime to survive the tests of the World's greatest race.

The peak for a staying chaser is thought to be around 9 - 11 years old. Grand National trends back this up with 9 of the last 10 winners coming from this age group.

We have to go back to 1923 to find a horse older than 12 that won the Grand National

Focus on horses aged 9-11. The 2013 winner Auroras Encore was aged 11 and none of the first six home was aged under 9. In 2011 horses aged 9-11 filled the first ten places

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Grand National Trends - Class

It may seem like an obvious statement, but every year thousands of pounds are lost on horses that don't have the class to win a Grand National.

Most recent Grand National winners ran off an official rating over 136 with only Bobby Jo (1999) and Little Polvier (1989) winning from "out of the handicap".

Many Clouds
© Racehorse Photos
Many Clouds

Grand National trends - bad horses simply don't win the race! Grand National trends like this are too strong to be ignored. Concentrate on those rated over 136 on the day of the race. In 2014 the winner Pineau De Re was rated 143. This trend may not be very helpful these days as almost all, if not all runners may meet this trend. The class of horses running in the Grand National has improved in recent years. Last year for example Many Clouds was rated 160 and all of the first five home were rated 140 or higher. It is likely you should now be looking for a higher rated horse.

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Grand National Trends - Weight

The weight a horse carries is probably the most important statistical factor when analysing top class staying handicap chases. With the Grand National being the longest and toughest staying handicap chase this is made even more important.

Since the war only seven Grand Nationals have been won by horses carrying more than 11st 5 lbs. Two of those high weight victories were by the incredible Red Rum. But last year Many Clouds carried 11st 9lb to victory!

Grand National trends - horses carrying more than 11 stone 6lbs have tended to struggle but with the recent changes to the race perhaps horses with a high weight are beginning to become more favoured? This thought was backed up with Many Clouds winning last years race. So it is no longer a case of ignoring horses on higher weights.

Grand National Trends - Stamina

Stamina is a critical ingredient for winning the Grand National. Every year we see very talented 2.5 milers that the public & press get behind, yet they never seem to last home.

Gay Trip (1970) was the last Grand National winner who hadn't previously won over at least three miles!

The 2012 joint favourite Seabass had only won over 2m 6f and it looked like his stamina ran out in the final stages of the race. The BHA have taken steps to reduce the possibility of horses running the Grand National who have lots to find on stamina but it should still pay to concentrate on those horses who have categorically proved their stamina.

Grand National tips - if a horse hasn't previously won over at least three miles then you are taking a big chance that its first long distance win will be the Grand National. Concentrate on those with proven stamina. The 2014 winner Pineau De Re had confirmed his stamina by winning two chases over three miles. 2013 winner Auroras Encore had previously finished a head second in the four mile Scottish National.

Grand National Trends - Ability to Perform in Top Races

Each of the last ten winners had proven ability in a top race.

Every winner in the last ten years had won a race worth at least £13,000.

Grand National trends - Its far safer to concentrate on runners with proven ability. These horses have shown that they are capable of winning and that they can handle the conditions of a competitive race. Concentrate on horses with proven ability in a decent class race.

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Grand National Trends - Jumping Experience

Horses with little jumping experience don't win Grand Nationals. To jump these large, difficult obstacles, a horse needs to have the confidence behind them which they have gained by jumping plenty of fences before.
Schooling on the training grounds doesn't make up for real experience at the race course.

Each of the last 10 Grand National winners had run at least ten times over fences before the start on the big day at Aintree.

Grand National tips - this normally eliminates a few novices and those with little experience due to being off the course with injuries.

Grand National Trends - Tiredness/Trained for the Race

A tired and over raced horse can't be expected to beat 39 other horses in the toughest race on earth. Horses who aren't at peak fitness will struggle.

The Grand National is usually run around three-four weeks after the Cheltenham Festival and many horses will have been trained so that they peak in time for Cheltenham, not Aintree.

Some would think that this leaves them at a big disadvantage and if they have been in a tough race at the festival, three weeks or so might not be enough time for some of them to recover.

However, in recent years several horses have run well at Cheltenham and gone on to win the National. So maybe this is another trend which is changing.

In recent years Many Clouds (sixth in the Gold Cup), Silver Birch (second in the Cross Country), Bindaree (sixth in the William Hill Chase) Don’t Push It (pulled up in the Pertemps Final) and Pineau De Re (2nd in the Pertemps Final) have gone on to win the Grand National after racing at Cheltenham.

Grand National Trends - Trainers and Jockeys

Its best to concentrate on the proven ability of the horse rather than the jockey and trainer.

Jockeys can win with their first run in the Grand National whereas some of the best national hunt jockeys have never won the race. A perfect example of this was in 2009 when jockey Liam Treadwell gave Mon Mome the perfect ride to win on his first ride around the Aintree fences.

Some trainers have a better history of training staying chasers and particularly Grand National winners than others. In recent years Nigel Twiston Davies has trained two runners to victory, whilst the late Ginger McCain won his fourth Grand National with Amberleigh House.

  • Pay attention to runners from stables with a history of training good staying chasers and Grand National winners but don't place too much emphasis on this.
  • Don't be put off if your selection has an inexperienced jockey on board - Liam Treadwell for example!
  • Richard Johnson is one of the current top jump jockeys yet he has never won a Grand National!

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