So it’s nearly here again, the race beloved of housewives and non-bettors the length and breadth of the country.
It was almost single handedly responsible for my interest in and subsequent love of horse racing when as a boy I managed to back Aldiniti and Bob Champion in 1981.
I’m no longer a huge fan of the race – those fences just seem too unnecessarily vicious to me after the loss of Synchronised last year – but you have to admire the spectacle and the place it seems to hold in the heart of the British public. (Let’s hope that the adaptations to the fences make some difference this year).
Last year saw one of my group of selections, Sunnyhillboy beaten by a nose after I had taken the very juicy price of 25/1 about him the day before. To say I was disappointed would be an understatement.
This year I’m hoping to go one better and my thoughts are below:
Grand National 2013
Obviously in a race with this many runners we need to find some trends that help us cut the field down to a manageable size. Thee are some quite strong trends for this race and it really isn’t the lottery some would have us believe.
There is a strong age trend in the race with the vast majority of winners being in the age band 9-11 years old. The only 12 year old to win in the last 10 years was Amberleigh House and he was an absolute Aintree specialist winning or placing on 5 of his 11 runs at the course. I think we are safe to narrow our search to 9 to 11 year olds which allows us to exclude:
Imperial Commander, Ballabriggs, Join Together, Oscar Time, Always Waining, Treacle, Lost Glory, Saint Are, Swing Bill, Harry the Viking, Mumbles Head, Soll and Viking Blond.
Very satisfying – nearly a third of the field fail on that trend alone!
Clearly to win over this gruelling 4 and a half mile trip a horse needs stamina to burn – and the trends show they have to have demonstrated that stamina by winning over at least 3 miles. The horses that fail this trend are:
Seabass, Tatenen, Quiscover Fontaine, Becauseicouldntsee and Ninetieth Minute, reducing the field to just 22 of the original 40.
Next let’s take a look at two related trends around recent runs. All of the last 10 winners had won no more than 1 chase in the current season and had between three and 6 runs in the season. These trends count against:
What a Friend, Quel Esprit, Sunnyhillboy, Forpaddydeplasterer, On His Own, Balthazar King, Cappa Bleu, Mr Moonshine,Colbert Station, Across the Bay and Tarquinius.
It seems horses need to have proven their class at a certain level and all of the last 10 winners had previously won at least a Class 2 chase and 8 of them had won at listed or graded level. Horses that fail on this trend are:
The Rainbow Hunter, Any Currency and Major Malarkey.
We are now left with a short list of 8 runners. Let’s look at their chances in a bit more detail:
Weird Al – The 50/1 generally available is clearly value if he can get back to anywhere near his best but I simply can’t back a horse whose recent form reads PU, PU, 4th of 5, F and PU. Not for me.
Big Fella Thanks – His 4 failures to complete during his career (either by falling or unseating his rider) would seem to indicate that his jumping isn’t quite good enough but he has managed to finish this race on his 3 previous attempts, placing on one of those occasions. Likely to be there or thereabouts while finding a couple to good for him, it still appears to me that the 40/1 generally available is just a bit too big and might be worth a small each way interest.
Roberto Goldback – His tendency to put in the odd really bad jump makes him too risky for me, even at 33/1.
Teaforthree – I really like this one. Fits all the trends nicely, showed real heart to battle back in his last victory and is as surefooted as you need to be for this. I grabbed some of the 20/1 available last week about this one but I will be topping up at the 16/1 currently available with Hills and Lads. My main bet in the race.
Joncol – I think he has a bit to prove here to be honest but he’s one of the few that fit the trends so nicely and I don’t think he can be ignored at 50/1. Small each way interest.
Chicago Grey – Another with very big claims – if he can stay on his feet! He’s in good form, his trainer knows how to win here and I would be steaming into him were it not for his tendency to put in a bad jump every now and then. If he gets round, I think he’ll go very close indeed so I will have a reasonable win bet at 14/1 and buy a little insurance with a stake saver on him not to complete the race at just over even money with Bet 365.
Rare Bob – He’s a decent hardy battler and clearly has a lot of ability. I do have concerns about his stamina though so 25/1 looks about right to me. I wouldn’t put anyone off him but I’d want a slightly better price than that to get involved.
Auroras Encore – He’s fallen far too often for my liking and in his last 3 runs he’s been beaten a combine total of 100 lengths (and he fell in one of them!) Again, not for me!
So there we have it. A few contenders that I will be having an interest in but the main bet will be Teaforthree.
Leave a comment and let me know what you fancy!