9 things to keep in mind when picking a Grand National winner

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  • Striking colours, strong-looking hindquarters or a name that makes you smile — there are plenty of ways that punters up and down the country attempt to pick a Grand National winner. While records are always broken and new statistics created, BetBright has delved into the Grand National archives to make your decision for this year’s race a more rational one

    1. When it comes to age, there has not been a winner under the age of eight in 75 years.

    2. Staying with age, 17 out of the past 20 winners have been aged between nine and 11. This may then send alarm bells out to backers of eight-year-olds Saphir Du Rheu and Blaklion, who are two of the classier entries in the race. Although their quality is not in question, do they have the maturity to win the race?

    3. Experience is also something that punters should consider when making their selection. For example, the last 10 winners of the Grand National had run at least 10 times over fences. This would rule out More Of That (14/1), who is a very well respected horse, having run in this year’s Cheltenham Gold Cup and the Lexus Chase at Leopardstown, but has only run over fences eight times. This statistic would also write off Ruby Walsh’s ride, Pleasant Company, who has run six times over fences.

    4. The Grand National is known as a long, grueling race, so it should be no real surprise to hear that apart from Rule The World and Red Marauder, every winner in the last 46 years had a previous win over three miles. The Gordon Elliott trained, Ucello Conti, is currently 16/1 and although he has racked up a total of six wins in his career, none of them have been over three miles and this could be a  relevant point when the horse looks to win over four miles and two-and-a-half furlongs this afternoon.

    5. Eleven of the last 12 Grand National winners had a top three finish in their last three runs, which would rule out The Young Master (16/1) and Gigginstown’s Wounded Warrior (50/1).

    6. Only one of the last 17 Grand National winners had won more than once earlier in the season, which would suggest that current 10/1 favourite with BetBright, Vieux Lion Rouge, would be bucking a serious trend if he were to win on Saturday, notching up two wins out of two runs this season at Aintree and Haydock.

    7. It’s also worth noting that 32 out of the last 33 winners had their last run within 50 days of the Grand National. The last time the Lucinda Russell trained, One For Arthur (currently joint third favourite at 14/1), ran was on 14 January 2017, which is eighty-four days before this year’s Grand National. Although he won at Warwick, history shows that he may lack the fitness to go all the way at Aintree.

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    8. Just one previous winner or placed horse from the previous year’s race has won in the last 32 years. This was the late Many Clouds, who came fourth in 2014’s Grand National and then came back to win the following year.

    9. Eighteen of the last 20 winners had fallen or unseated their jockey no more than twice in their careers. Could this be bad news then, for David Pipe’s Ballynagour (66/1), who has fallen twice during his career and unseated Tom Scudamore in last year’s Grand National?

    Don’t miss the full report from the Grand National in the 13 April issue of Horse & Hound magazine

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