How To Pick A Winner
When Auroras Encore romped to victory in the 2013 Grand National pundits everywhere were stunned. He was 11 years old, a low rated horse with a history of falling. To make matters worse, Ryan Mania the jockey partnering Auroras Encore on the day had absolutely no experience over the course, on paper the 66/1 odds the bookies gave him looked about right. Yet, they both proved us wrong!
It just goes to show that picking a National winner is very difficult. Nevertheless, we can show you a couple of things to look out for when selecting your horses. Every now and again a horse like Auroras Encore will win the big one. However, horses who usually win the Grand National fall into a narrow band of statistics. Below you can read what to look for in a potential winner.
Beware The Heavy Weights
Generally we’d advise against backing a horse that carries over 11-03 in weight, even with the recent wins of Tiger Roll, ‘Neptune Collonges‘ and ‘Don’t Push It’ who all carried more than 11-03 to victory, they remain the exception that proves the rule.
Since Corbiere carried over 11st to victory in 1983 only a few runners have done the same. Tiger Roll in 2019, Many Clouds in 2015, Neptune Collonges,’Hedgehunter‘ & ‘Don’t Push It‘ have equalled the feat. The simple fact is that very few horses have managed to win carrying big weights.
The 2008 Grand National winner, Comply or Die, weighed 10-09. Mon Mome won in 2009 carrying 11-00, Ballabriggs carried 11-00 in 2011, Auroras Encore carried 10-03 in 2017 and in 2017 One For Arthur scored carrying 10-11. Even Tiger Roll won in 2018 carrying just 10-13.
The 2021 National proved beyond a doubt just how much weight plays a part. Minella Times won the race on 10-03 and NO runner carrying 11-00 or more even finished the race.
It’s A Marathon Not A Sprint
The Grand National is a grueling race, and we’ve always maintained that only horses experienced at running over 3 miles or more can be expected to be in with a shout. New BHA recommendations regarding this have now been put in place so that only horses who have previously finished fourth or better in a chase of 3m or further will be allowed entry. Don’t rule out horses that have previously entered and completed the Grand National, even if they finished nowhere. Mon Mome, Silver Birch, Hedgehunter, Amberleigh House and Montys Pass are all winners who also ran unsuccessfully the year before!
Age Before Beauty
Age is one of the best indicators to a horse’s chances of winning the Grand National. Looks for runners who are aged 8, 9, 10 or 11 as the majority of winners in the last ten years have fallen within this bracket. Six of the last ten winners, meanwhile, have been 8 or 9. Be wary of backing any seven-year-olds as it’s been more than 75 years since one won and few even finish the course!
Previously I’ve suggested you should forget the French bred and trained horses, until recently they had a terrible record in the National, but the tremendous win from French horse Mon Mome in 2009, and Neptune Collonges in 2012 is rewriting the form book. However, those two winners were trained in the United Kingdom. It has been over a Century since the last French trained horse won the National.
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2011 Winner Proves A Point
Let’s look at the 2011 race – I followed my tips exactly, chose my horses and they came home in 1st and 2nd place!
I looked at every horse running, ruled out those younger than 9 and older than 10 years, looked at the weights they’d been given and had a quick gander at the distances they had previously run. What I ended up with was a few terrific horses two of which did exactly as hoped – Ballabriggs came 1st with Oscar Time in 2nd 2011 Grand National.
Now all you need to do is pick a horse to back using our tips! To view the full list of Grand National runners Click Here.