Apr 06 2019 @ 08:39
Hi, It’s GRAND NATIONAL DAY folks!!
Yes, the biggest betting day on the calendar is here again and we’ve got it all covered below with all the main trends to apply to the Merseyside Marathon to help you find the winner.
Did you know the last 7 year-old to win the National was in 1940, while the last back-to-back winner was Red Rum in 1974?
Last year’s hero – Tiger Roll – will be hoping to join Red Rum in the National hall-of-fame today and he also looks set to go off one of the shortest-priced favourites in modern times.
It will be great if he can do it – he’s certainly becoming a firm favourite with punters and racing fans, but surely there is no value in backing him at those odds especially with 39 other runners to contend with, not to mention 30 tricky fences. He’s also up 9lbs in the ratings from last year too and will have 6lbs more in actual weight to carry let’s see if he can do it!
Top Tipping Last Week – Oh – and without blowing our own trumpets too loudly – we couldn’t be heading into National weekend in much better form after a string of top winners last weekend. Invincible Army (4/1), Petrus (7/1), Sharja Bridge (8/13) & Auxerre (5/2) gave us a clean sweep in the first four races at Doncaster, while at Kempton Forbidden Planet (4/1) won too. Great stuff!
There are also four other LIVE Aintree races on ITV to take in – we’ve also got our views and the main stats on these too.
As always, we’ll be hoping to find plenty more winners for you and as always, we’ve got it all covered with free tips and all key trends for the LIVE races
Have a Great Weekend!
GRAND NATIONAL – Key Trends Suggest There’s SEVEN To Focus On
5.15pm – Randox Health Grand National Chase (Handicap) (Grade 3) Cl1 4m3f110y ITV
2018 Winner: TIGER ROLL (10/1 odds)
Trainer: Gordon Elliott
Jockey: Davy Russell
Aintree Grand National Trends (Last 28 Runnings)
27/28 – Ran no more than 55 days ago
· 27/28 – Officially rated 137 or higher
· 26/28 – Had won over at least 3m (chase) before
· 25/28 – Had won no more than 6 times over fences before
· 23/28 – Aged 9 or older
· 23/28 – Returned a double-figure price
· 22/28 – Ran no more than 34 days ago
· 22/28 – Carried 10-13 OR LESS
· 21/28 – Came from outside the top 3 in the betting
· 19/28 – Had won between 4-6 times over fences before
· 17/28 – Finished in the top 4 last time out
· 17/28 – Aged 10 years-old or younger
· 16/28 – Carried 10-8 OR LESS
· 15/28 – Placed favourites
· 14/28 – Aged 9 or 10 years-old
· 15/28 – Won by an Irish-bred horse
· 10/28 – Ran at Cheltenham last time out
· 9/28 – Trained in Ireland (inc 6 of the last 13 years)
· 6/28 – Ran in a previous Grand National
· 5/28 – Won by the favourite or joint favourite
· 6/28 – Won last time out
· 2/28 – Trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies
· 2/28 – Ridden by Ruby Walsh
2/28 – Ridden by Leighton Aspell
· 0/28 – Won by a horse aged 7 years-old OR LESS
Aintree Grand National Facts
• Since 1978, 124 horses have tried to win with more than 11-5 – with just two winners – Many Clouds (11-9) in 2015 & Neptune Collonges (11-6) in 2012
• 10 of the last 11 winners were having their first start in the race
• 15 of the last 20 winners were bred in Ireland
• Only 2 horse that won at the Cheltenham Festival that same season has won since 1961
• The last 7 year-old or younger to win was back in 1940
• 12 of the last 22 winners had won or been placed in a National-type race before
• No horse aged 13 or older has won since 1923 or placed since 1969
• 3 of the last 10 winners ran in the Scottish National the previous season
• 9 of the last 16 winners had run over hurdles at some stage earlier in the season
• 5 of the last 17 winners had been unplaced in the National last year
• Only four 8 year-olds have won the last 25 renewals
• Just one past winner or placed horse from the previous year’s race has won for 34 years (76 have attempted)
• 20 of the last 22 winners had fallen or unseated no more than twice in their
• The last horse to win back-to-back Nationals was Red Rum in 1974
Aintree Grand National Betting Trends (16 Year)
15/16 – Had won over at least 3m previously
14/16 – Ran less than 50 days ago
14/16 – Officially rated 137 or higher
13/16 – Won by a horse aged 9 or older
9/16 – Won by horses aged in double-figures
9/16 – Winners from the top 8 in the betting
9/16 – Finished in the top 3 last time out
7/16 – Experienced the National fences
6/16 – Carried 11-0 or more in weight
6/16 – Won by an Irish-trained horse
5/16 – Won by a horse aged 10 years-old
4/16 – Won their last race
3/16 – Winning favourites (2 joint)
2/16 – Won by the McCain yard
TQ VERDICT: The big questions this year are will we see the first back-to-back winner since Red Rum in 1974, will we see the first horse to ‘regain’ his Grand National title since you guessed it – Red Rum (1974), or will we have another new champion?
TIGER ROLL is the obvious place to start, as last year’s winner has been supported as if defeat is out of the question in the last three weeks – well since his Cheltenham Cross Country romp in the middle of March. However, at around 4/1 then surely – with all respect and sorry if you do fancy him – you need your head tested! There are 39 other runners in the race, plus 30 tricky fences to tackle. Yes, he’s proven in the past the obstacles are no problem, but he’s also rated 9lbs higher this year and is carrying 6lbs more in actual weight! Don’t forget, he only held on by a neck last year too and surely in another few strides Pleasant Company would have caught him.
In my view the Cross-Country race lack strength-in-depth and even though he won it very easily I’m not sure he beat a lot. This time he’s got to contend with horses that have been placed in Gold Cups, while it’s hard to ignore the stat that the last back-to-back winner was in 1974 – and many have tried.
Those in favour of the Tiger roaring again will say he’s a much better horse this year so the extra weight won’t be a problem – and maybe there is some truth in that. Some are even saying he should run in the Gold Cup next Cheltenham and with his record at the Festival, I agree it’s worth a crack.
The ground should also be a lot easier than last year’s heavy conditions so that will help in carrying the extra weight. But, let’s not forget, it will also help those at the foot of the handicap that have featherweights to carry.
However, even with 11st 5lbs to carry here, he’ll be looking to become only the fourth horse in the last 35 runnings to win with such a burden., while did you know – 10 of the last 11 National winners were making their debuts in the race?
In short, I love the horse and I’d love to see him win again, but at 4/1 (or shorter), then – you have to agree 0 there is certainly no value in backing him at those odds. If you are on at a bigger price, then good luck to you, BUT THE TIGER IS NOT FOR ME!
Anibale Fly, Valtor, Outlander, Don Poli and Go Conquer all have 11-3 or more in weight to carry too, so they are not for me. Yes, Anibale Fly was a gallant fourth in the race last year and ran a blinder in the Gold Cup last month – that form certainly makes him the one to beat but as a result he’s also got 11-10 to carry and, for me, that will surely take it’s toll over this 4m 2 1/2f trip.
Last year’s runner-up Pleasant Company is rated 7lbs higher but having completed in the last two Nationals (9th in 2017) then he looks a solid each-way option, or at least a bet to complete if you prefer.
The two-time Topham Chase winner – ULTRAGOLD – would be an interesting contender too as he seems to save his best for these fences. I certainly wouldn’t put you off backing him, but the big unknown is the trip. The Topham is run over 2m5f and he’s yet to win beyond 3m. Did you know 15 of the last 16 winners had previously won over at least 3 miles? Having said that, his record over the fences and the better ground mean he’s hard to ignore and he ran oaky (5th of 12) over 3m5f in the Classic Chase at Warwick back in January so there is certainly some hope he’ll get home.
Jockey Richard Johnson is still looking for his first win in the race – he rides Rock The Kasbah, but even though he’s a horse that’s gone well fresh in the past his 113-day absence would be a worry – a massive 14 of the last 16 winners had run in the last 50 days!
Away from Tiger Roll, the rest of the main Irish challenge this year looks to come from Rathvinden and Jury Duty. Both head into the race in tip-top form after with wins and staying shouldn’t be an issue for either. Rathvinden landed the 4m race at the Cheltenham Festival last season and the Willie Mullins team have kept this 11 year-old fresh for this with just one run this season. A certain Ruby Walsh, who will be looking for his third National success, is an obvious plus in the saddle. He’s making his National debut, but that is a strong stat, so really it’s hard to find faults in his chance. If you want to cling to something to take him on with then the fact he’s unseated and been brought down in two of his last five races might suggest he needs to be careful at these tricky fences – still a very big candidate though, that is running for some powerful connections.
Jury Duty also hails from a top Irish yard – the Gordon Elliott camp. He’s won his last two in decent fashion and this 8 year-old has time on his side for more improvement too. He beat Mala Beach but just over 6 lengths last time at Down Royal and gets in here with the perfect weight of 10st 11lbs. Another that is making his debut in the race but generally a sound jumper that has unseated just once from 11 runs over fences. With 9 top three finishes to his name from those 11 runs over the bigger obstacles then he’s another of the Irish challengers that must have a say. My only slight niggle is the trip as he’s only tried 4m once before (Cheltenham) and didn’t seem to be seeing that out when unseating. On a plus, Robbie Power is in the saddle and he’s won this race before (Silver Birch, 2007), oh and that was also trained by a certain Gordon Elliott – could history be about to repeat itself?
Rameses De Teillee will be looking to give the Pipes their third win in the race and this improving staying grey will have it’s supporters too after running second in the Grand National Trial at Haydock in February and finishing runner-up in the Welsh National over Christmas. However, he’s still only 7 years-old and do you know when the last horse to win the National aged 7 was? I’ll tell you……1940!
The 2017 winner – One For Arthur – can’t be ruled out, as he’s still only 10, but he’s a horse that’s clearly had his issues (missed the race last year) and head here having unseated in his last two races – hardly ideal preparation. He’s got 3lbs more to carry and is rated 6lbs higher.
Mr Grand National – Trevor Hemmings – who has won the race three times before will have a string hand too with Warriors Tale, Lake View Lad and Vintage Clouds – the trio should all be respected.
Warriors Tale is a course winner too, after landing the Grand Sefton here in November with 11st 12lbs on his back. He’s only got 10-13 this time but having been pulled up in the race last year then this would be a concern.
Therefore, LAKE VIEW LAD and VINTAGE CLOUDS might be the better of the Hemmings pair to focus on and both make their debuts in the race – don’t forget, that’s a good stat.
LAKE VIEW LAD is a consistent staying chaser that’s finished in the top 3 a massive 11 times from his 12 runs over fences. We last saw him running a blinder in the Ultima Chase at the Cheltenham Festival and he gets in here off the same mark. Yes, the longer trip is a slight unknown, but he ticks most of the main trends and is right on the cusp of the weight trend with 11st 1lb.
VINTAGE CLOUDS gets in with a much lower weight of just 10st 4lbs and comes from the Sue Smith yard that won this in 2013. He also ran in that Ultima Chase at the Festival last month when second and that was his first run back after a wind op too – it clearly helped. Again, he’s in here off the same mark and with 11 top three finishes from 16 runs over fences he’s another consistent staying chaser. He was 4th in the 2017 Welsh National and 7th in the 2017 Scottish National, so the trip should be fine too.
Another horse that ticks a lot of boxes is the Rebecca Curtis-trained Joe Farrell. This 10 year-old just scrapped into the race as number 40, but with a light weight he looks to have a top chance. He landed the Scottish National last season and warmed up for this with a solid second at Newbury last time out. He’s only had two runs this season so will be a lot fresher than most and we know he stays this sort of trip. He looks one for the shortlist too.
Others to note based on the trends
WALK IN THE MILL – Missed out last year by just a few horses but is firmly in the race this time. Winner of the Becher Chase here back in December so we know the fences are fine and that experience will be a big plus. He gets in with just 10st 4lbs and should be spot-on for this after a fine third at Exeter last month. Yes, his mark suggests a career-best is needed, but he still has a light weight and the proven track-winning form makes him interesting.
TEA FOR TWO – Unseated last time out in the Cross-Country race at the Cheltenham Festival, but was making heading at the time. Yes, would have been a shock if he’d had beaten Tiger Roll that day but he may well have been placed. He gets 10lbs this time off Tiger and only has 10st 9lbs to carry in weight, while let’s not forget this 10 year-old was third in the 2017 King George and beat Cue Card in the Betway Bowl here at Aintree in 2017 too. Like most of these he’ll be entering unknown territory with the trip but is his last run was anything to go by then he’s certainly worth a crack at it. Lizzie Kelly, who rode a winner at the Cheltenham Festival, will be looking to become the first female-winning rider of the National…….and we all know this race loves to throw-up a story!
SINGLEFARMPAYMENT – A horse that’s got a reputation of not being the most resolute in a finish. He’s looked all over the winner several times in the past only to finish second and many will argue that’s not a great attribute to be taking into a race like the National. However, with 10st 6lbs this will be the lightest weight he’s ever raced with and if getting into a rhythm that light burden could be dangerous. The experienced Paddy Brennan rides and with age, making debut in the race, weight and having a recent run (13th in Ultima Chase) all positive trends then, of those at bigger prices he might be worth having an interest in.
LAKE VIEW LAD
Best Of The Rest:
TEA FOR TWO
Aintree: Rest Of The LIVE ITV Races Covered
2.20pm – Betway Mersey Novices´ Hurdle (Grade 1) Cl1 2m4f ITV
2018 Winner: BLACK OP (3/1 fav)
Trainer: Tom George
Jockey: Noel Fehily
15/16 – Won by a horse aged 5 or older
14/16 – Raced 39 days or less ago
13/16 – Won by a horse aged either 5 or 6 years-old
12/16 – Priced 9/2 or shorter in the market
12/16 – Placed in the top three last time out
11/16 – Raced in the Supreme (4), Neptune (6) or County Hurdle (1) last time out
7/16 – Favourites to win (2 joint) (6 of the last 9 favs have won)
6/16 – Won their last race
4/16 – Won by the Paul Nicholls yard
4/16 – Ridden by Ruby Walsh
2/16 – Trained by Willie Mullins
2/16 – Ridden by Barry Geraghty
2/16 – Won by the Nicky Henderson yard (inc two of last 8 runnings)
17 of the last 21 (81%) winners were either fav or 2nd fav
10 of the last 13 (77%) winners had won at least 3 times hurdles
14 of the last 20 (70%) winners ran at the Cheltenham Festival
15 of the last 22 (68%) winners finished 6th or better at the Cheltenham Festival
Willie Mullins, Paul Nicholls or Nicky Henderson have won 8 of the last 15 (53%) runnings between them
6 of the last 9 runnings went to a 5 year-old
TQ VERDICT: Brewin’upastorm was a fine fourth in the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle at the Festival and that form probably makes him the one to beat. He looks sure to be in the mix, but with just one hurdles win from four that is a slight concern. Henderson’s Angels Breath – if running – will be popular too but does need to bounce back form a poor run in the Supreme last time out – the longer trip though looks in his favour and, don’t forget, that last run was also only this third outing – he should have learned a lot from that. ONE FOR ROSIE (e/w) has done little wrong this season too and is another that should make his presence felt – he’s worth an interest. However, it might also be worth taking a chance on the David Pipe-trained UMBRIGADO (e/w). This 5 year-old gets a thumbs-up on most of the main trends and even though he missed Cheltenham that also means he heads here fresher than most. He’s won his only two runs over hurdles, with the last of those being an impressive victory at Exeter. Okay, the second – Ask Dillon – was down the field in the Ballymore at the Festival next time, so the form is a bit suspect, but the Pipe runner won with plenty in-hand to suggest there is a lot more to come from him.
3.00pm – Doom Bar Maghull Novices´ Chase (Grade 1) Cl1 2m ITV
2018 Winner: DIEGO DU CHARMIL (5/1 odds)
Trainer: Paul Nicholls
Jockey: Harry Cobden
16/16 – Won by a horse aged 8 or younger
16/16 – Winners from the first 3 in the market
16/16 – Priced 5/1 or shorter in the market
14/16 – Won by a horse aged 7 or younger
13/16 – Ran within the last 35 days
12/16 – Placed in the top three in their last race
10/16 – Ran in the Arkle Chase last time out
10/16 – Won by a horse aged 5 or 6 years-old
7/16 – Won their last race
6/16 – Favourites that won
5/16 – Won by the Paul Nicholls yard
5/16 – Ridden by either Ruby Walsh (3) or Barry Geraghty (2)
3/16 – Irish-trained winners
2/16 – Won by the Nicky Henderson yard (inc two of last 8 runnings)
2/16 – Won by the Henry de Bromhead yard (inc two of the last 6 runnings)
Since 1989 there have been just 3 Irish-trained winners – 2013, 2015 & 2016
Since 1999 trainer Paul Nicholls has had 7 winners and 7 runners-up
18 of the last 24 (75%) winners ran in the Arkle Chase that season
7 of the last 10 winners were French bred
TQ VERDICT: A bit of a re-run of last month’s Arkle Chase here with most of the runners – bar the winner that day – lining-up again. Clondaw Castle was fourth in that Cheltenham race, Knocknanuss was 5th, while Lalor was pulled-up and Ornua fell when leading at the sixth fence. However, the horse that did the best was the Joseph O’Brien-trained Us And Them, who was a 13 length runner-up that day. Prior to that he’d run second to the classy Le Richebourg and on all of those efforts certainly make him a big player here. However, I’d just be a tad worried that he does have a habit of finishing second. So, it might be worth taking a chance on ORUNA, who will need to bounce back from that recent fall but he looked set to run a big race there. The Henry De Bromhead yard have also won two of the last six runnings of this race, while off a rating of 151 he’s the joint top-rated in the field. His age (8) is a slight concern based on the trends, as 14 of the last 16 winners were aged 7 or younger but he’s a consistent sort that’s finished in the top three in all his completed chase starts (7). He also often likes to front run and on this flatter track might just prove hard to peg back.
3.40pm – Ryanair Stayers’ Hurdle (Reg as the Liverpool Hurdle) (Grade 1) Cl1 3m110y ITV
2018 Winner: IDENTITY THIEF (14/1)
Trainer: Henry De Bromhead
Jockey: Sean Flanagan
14/15 – Priced 11/2 or less in the market
14/15 – Ran within the last 30 days
12/15 – Won or finished 2nd at this meeting previously
10/15 – Placed 4th or better in that season’s Sun Racing Stayers’ Hurdle (Cheltenham)
10/15 – Placed 1st or 2nd in their last race
10/15 – Won by a horse aged 6 or 7 years-old
8/15 – Won their last race
8/15 – Favourites to win (6 odds-on)
6/15 – Raced in that season’s Cleeve Hurdle
4/15 – Won by the Paul Nicholls yard
4/15 – Ridden by jockey Ruby Walsh
2/15 – Trained by Alan King
2/15 – Trained by Nicky Henderson
2/15 – Number of Irish-trained winners
Whisper won the race in 2014 & 2015
14 of the last 15 (93%) winners raced at that season’s Cheltenham Festival
14 of the last 15 (93%) winners had won a Grade 1 or 2 before
13 of the last 15 (87%) had run at this meeting before
13 of the last 15 (87%) were favourite or second favourite
7 of the last 10 winners won a race at that season’s Cheltenham Festival
6 of the last 10 winners won the Stayers’ Hurdle (Cheltenham) before winning this
TQ VERDICT: It’s a shame we are not seeing the Sun Racing Staying Hurdle hero Paisley Park running here, but we still have the second – Sam Spinner – lining-up. He bounced back to form last time at Cheltenham to make the hot favourite pull out all the stops and will be the highest-rated in the field. He did, however, flop in this race last year and despite that better run last time is still six runs without a win. He’s also not always the best of jumpers and he also might not have things his own way up top with the classy mare APPLE’S JADE another strong front runner in the line-up. He also has to give Jade 7lbs and with the pair only rated a pound apart then this gives the Irish raider a big advantage. Those against her will cling to her poor run in the Champion Hurdle last time but she’s a course winner here and over this longer trip can take her time a bit more at her hurdles. That effort was still too bad to be true and the fact connections are running her again so soon suggests she’s none-the-worse for that experience. Of the rest, If The Cap Fits is certainly a player but this is a big step up in trip so that is a huge unknown. The Mares’ Hurdle winner at the Festival – Roskana is another to note, but she looked a bit of a lucky winner that day and still has 15lbs to find with Apple’s Jade based on the ratings. Wholestone was runner-up in the race last year but hasn’t quite been firing this season and has been well-beaten the last twice. He’s a horse that has bounced back in the past though so can’t be totally ruled out. Course winners Skyes, Unowhatimeanharry and The Worlds End are others that could sneak into the frame, but of those at bigger prices the Coral Cup winner – WILLIAM HENRY (e/w) – looks the most interesting. He came with a cracking late run over 2m5f last time at the Festival to suggest this 3m 1/2f trip will be right up his street, while that last win also came off a wind op that has clearly helped him. He’s a bit to find on the ratings and it won’t be easy giving weight away to Apple’s Jade, but he’s also the sort of horse that can improve for the longer trip and in the process make up that ground.
4.20pm – Betway Handicap Chase (Listed Race) Cl1 3m1f ITV
2018 Winner: THOMAS PATRICK (3/1 fav odds)
Trainer: Tom Lacey
Jockey: Richard Johnson
14/16 – Carried 11-1 or less in weight
14/16 – Had run within the last 35 days
13/16 – Won by a horse aged 8 or older
10/16 – Priced 9/1 or bigger in the market
9/16 – Raced at the Cheltenham Festival last time out
9/16 – Unplaced in their last race
4/16 – Won their last race
3/16 – Favourites that won
3/16 – Won by the Philip Hobbs yard
2/16 – Won by the Nicky Henderson stable
2/16 – Won by the Jonjo O’Neill stable
1/16 – Irish-trained winners
Only 3 of the last 20 winners were aged 10+
Only 2 winners carried more than 11st in the last 15 years
Just 1 Irish-trained winner in the last 42 runnings
9 of the last 11 (82%) winners were rated between 134 and 140
TQ VERDICT: Mister Malarky, who was fourth in the RSA Chase last time out, will find this return to handicap company more to his liking and with the promising Jonjo O’Neill Jnr claiming 3lbs from the saddle, then he can go well. DEBECE (e/w) will provide the Tim Vaughan camp with a leading chance too after nice wins at Newcastle and Catterick. This will be a step up, but he ran well at this meeting last season over hurdles and seems to save his best for this track. He’s run here three times and finished in the top four every time, so even though he falls down on the main weight trend I still like him. Really though with 14 of the last 16 winners carrying 11st-1lb or less then this stat is hard to ignore. 13 of the last 16 were also aged 8 or older, while many recent winners ran at Cheltenham last time out. Taking all that into account the Dan Skelton-trained OLDGRANGEWOOD (e/w) ticks a lot of boxes. This 8 year-old gets in with just 10st 13lbs and he heads here after a fair run in the Ultima Chase at the Festival (9th). He’s been dropped 3lbs for that and is now starting to look very well-handicapped. He was also fourth (of 16) in this race 12 months ago, but gets in here off a 9lb lower mark! Of the rest, Amaulino, Red Giant and Polydora are others to consider, but I’ll stick with Debece, who seems to love the Aintree track, and the well-handicapped Oldgrangewood, who is 9lb better off than his fourth in this race last year.