Races come and go, usually win or lose we don’t have to wait to long for another chance to beat the bookies. Sometimes though we have to wait a full 12 months. From my point of view races don’t bother me after the event. Usually I’ll grab the required race result information I need, ponder over a few potential new horses to follow if something has caught my eye or I watch the replay of the race if I have missed the live action.
However the one race which really annoys me for the entire year is when I don’t win the Grand National. Now I know many punters will only ever bet on this race in a single year and most see it as a bit of fun and a flutter with nothing more than luck separating the winners form the losers. To me this race means everything.
I can’t really complain as I’ve had my fair share of winners over the years in the National, at least 5 over the last 10 years. To me it’s massive in terms of a racing showcase. I love this race the weeks anticipation, the whole build up to all the thrills the spills. Knowing that most of the country are watching as well as the rest of the world, and when you win the Grand National it doesn’t get any better.
I’ve never made the trip to Aintree, I must admit the clientele puts me off, they seem to be having a great time but I doubt many are there for the actual racing, it’s mainly just a huge piss up. It always amazes me how much effort or lack of effort the ladies, (dare I call them ladies) go to when getting into glamour mode for the day, its intriguing how many folks don’t own a mirror. A few look like potential glamour models although if they were horses im sure a few would have screens pulled around them by the end of the last race and a vet would be called.
I certainly will have to make the effort one year, but for now im happy to sit back and scream at the TV like most of the general public im sure. It’s probably the only time i really get very vocal when watching a horse race.
Last year the race finished and well yet again for the 5th year running I managed 2nd place, which to me is terrible.
With the Grand National I go very old school, I simply buy the Racing Post paper, and start striking off selections. For me it’s a great way to feel very in touch with racing, and I always make the trip to the bookies it’s traditional really, although I must admit on Grand National day the bookies is busier than the takeaway queue on a Saturday night, similar aromor also which is quite strange. You just know its often the only day of the year where some people step foot inside a bookmakers. Thank God they banned smoking from in there as it used to have me barking like an old dog back in my early days, before Betfair.
Now don’t get me wrong im a software day to day chap, that’s my thing, my name (BSG), my business, but this one day of the year, its kinda like Christmas day for me, I do things which I don’t usually do. I have a 6 step process when looking for a Grand National winner I tend not to use the media hype in fact I ignore the most of it until maybe the morning of the race. I always look to shortlist 4 horses, you always need a wildcard. On the day i will spread my bets over 3-4 sections in relation to price.
Moral to the story. With any race we need to do our homework even with the Grand National people think anything can win and you know what they are right, however there is some skill involved, you need a lot more luck however to win the Grand National, and I can’t wait to watch it.
The AP McCoy-ridden Shutthefrontdoor is artificially short in the market, so there’s plenty of value to be had elsewhere, with many others fitting the profile of a possible winner. CARLITO BRIGANTE and OSCAR TIME should both be strongly considered at big prices, and assuming he’s race fit after a long absence, BALTHAZAR KING should lay down a big challenge.
See how to pick a winner for the Grand National –
On the morning of the big race, many people will be searching in a mild state of desperation, through unfamiliar racecards and newspaper columns, to try to unearth which horse will win the world’s most famous steeplechase.
You might feel you’re better off consulting the local psychic or seeing what’s trending on Twitter. However, we thought you might want a little more help to pick a winner.
1 – Look at the horse’s age
It’s unusual for one who is eight years or younger to win; it’s also rare for a horse who is 12 or older to finish this four-and-a-half mile marathon first. Your best bet is to focus on the ones aged between nine and 11. Only twice in the last 19 Grand Nationals has something outside that bracket won.
2 – Don’t worry about the weight
The official handicapper works hard to make sure that every horse has an equal chance. There used to be a view that horses on a light weight were favoured, but in four of the last six races the winner has carried 11 stone or more.
3 – Check the form
Look at a horse’s previous results in the numbers next to each one’s name, for example: 130F-B02. The Grand National fences are very hard to negotiate, so try to avoid horses whose form contains the letters F for “fell” or U for “unseated rider” as you want the most reliable jumpers.
4 – Aim for experience
Every single one of the last 24 winners had run in at least 10 chases before taking on the Grand National. Most years, punters seem happy to gamble on horses that simply haven’t got enough miles on the clock when it comes to facing the bigger obstacles.
5 – Don’t let big odds put you off!
We had a 66-1 winner two years ago, a 33-1 shot the year before and a 100-1 champion in 2009. Horses from the well-known stables, and those ridden by the famous jockeys, tend to shorten quite dramatically. And that leaves other viable contenders at big odds against. It’s not cheap to enter a horse in the Grand National, and if the handicapper is doing his job correctly they all stand an equal chance.
6 – Don’t back one that’s too fresh
The benefit of a recent run also appears to be important. All of the last 24 winners had had their last prep run for the Grand National within 55 days of the big race.
Happy punting… though if you really want to back a horse because you like the colours it’s carrying or the name reminds you of the place where you were married – then who would we be to stop you?
Saturday, 4.15 Crabbie’s Grand National, Aintree
This guide shows form, trainer and jockey
1) 761-373P LORD WINDERMERE Age: 9 Weight 11-10
Jim Culloty (IRE) | Robbie McNamara
Last year’s shock Cheltenham Gold Cup winner has disappointed in all four appearances this season and represents a trainer who’s been out for form for a long time.
2) 2B4-1116 MANY CLOUDS Age: 8 Weight: 11-09
Oliver Sherwood | Leighton Aspell
A spectacular winter campaign brought three successes including the Hennessy Gold Cup. This extra stamina test may be too much and spring ground conditions are a negative.
3) 1838-613 UNIONISTE Age: 7 Weight 11-06
Paul Nicholls | Noel Fehily
A smart performer with a fine strike rate over fences but this grey looks too high in the handicap for one so young and the marathon trip might put him out of his comfort zone.
4) 3225-2P1 ROCKY CREEK Age: 9 Weight: 11-03
Paul Nicholls | Sam Twiston-Davies
A fine win at Kempton days after the weights were announced suggests he’s well in on the handicap. Fifth last year after leading twice, very solid claims if stamina holds.
5) 34-24683 FIRST LIEUTENANT Age: 10 Weight: 11-03
Mouse Morris (IRE) | Miss Nina Carberry
A once highly regarded chaser who has become deeply frustrating of late. This unique challenge, at a course where he won a Grade 1 in 2013, might just relight the fire.
6) 1112-F11 BALTHAZAR KING Age: 11 Weight: 11-02
Philip Hobbs | Richard Johnson
Cross-country specialist with proven stamina and jumping class. Carries just three extra pounds after finishing a game runner-up in last year’s National. Big player.
7) /1246-11 SHUTTHEFRONTDOOR Age: 8 Weight: 11-02
Jonjo O’Neill | AP McCoy
The 2014 Irish National winner has raced just once since, way back in November. Needs a huge training performance to be spot on for this, and if so could give jockey a perfect farewell.
8) 131-0P80 PINEAU DE Re Age: 12 Weight: 11-00
Dr Richard Newland | Daryl Jacob
Last year’s comfortable winner has been sent exclusively over hurdles this season. Must defy an eight-pound rise compared to his weight last year, but can give a bold show again.
9) 4F-2173P BALLYCASEY Age: 8 Weight: 10-13
Willie Mullins (IRE) | Ruby Walsh
Only current jockey to have won the race twice faces tall order on a heavy-ground specialist who has been much more effective over significantly shorter distances.
10) 28015-44 SPRING HEELED Age: 8 Weight: 10-12
Jim Culloty (IRE) | Nick Scholfield
The weak form of the stable is a clear negative, but this horse won a tough handicap at last year’s Cheltenham Festival, usually jumps well and tries his heart out.
11) -7454121 REBEL REBELLION Age: 10 Weight: 10-12
Paul Nicholls | Ryan Mahon
Has had a long campaign, and his optimum trip is about half the distance he faces on Saturday. That said, he is well handicapped and is trained by a genius of the sport.
12) 6-028180 DOLATULO Age: 8 Weight: 10-11
Warren Greatrex | Dougie Costello
Trainer has made great strides recently and has his first National runners, including this young horse who won a tough handicap on Boxing Day. Would prefer soft ground.
13) P81-P015 MON PARRAIN Age: 9 Weight: 10-11
Paul Nicholls | Sean Bowen
Second over these fences in the 2011 Topham Chase, he has mostly performed solidly since and has a confident young jockey on board, who won six times over Easter weekend.
14) 01-32213 CARLITO BRIGANTE Age: 9 Weight: 10-10
Karen McLintock | Brian Harding
A consistent and successful stalwart of the northern scene after being sold out of Ireland’s Gigginstown operation 18 months ago. Will relish the ground, has serious claims.
15) P1-40233 NIGHT IN MILAN Age: 9 Weight: 10-09
Keith Reveley | James Reveley
Highly proficient chaser who has finished in the top three 13 times in 18 attempts over fences. Ticks in all the right boxes and could put in a big show if he gets into a rhythm.
16) 5-545211 RUBI LIGHT Age: 10 Weight: 10-09
Robert Alan Hennessy (IRE) | Andrew Lynch
Looks very well handicapped with two wins after the weights were framed, but they were on deep Irish ground over short trips and Saturday will be a very different test.
17) 2P-12751 THE DRUIDS NEPHEW Age: 8 Weight: 10-09
Neil Mulholland | Aidan Coleman
Ten pounds well in after winning a Cheltenham Festival handicap in fine style, this horse is an extremely interesting prospect if inexperience does not get the better of him.
18) 2220-751 CAUSE OF CAUSES Age: 7 Weight: 10-09
Gordon Elliott (IRE) | Paul Carberry
Won the four-miler at Cheltenham last month, and has the services of the winning jockey in 1999. Will try to pass tiring horses late in the day, but this looks a big step-up in grade.
19) PP23-P50 GODSMEJUDGE Age: 9 Weight: 10-08
Alan King | Wayne Hutchinson
Somewhat temperemental horse who has an excellent record at trips of four miles-plus, including a first and second in the Scottish National. Big contender if in the moood.
20) 201-0P33 AL CO Age: 10 Weight: 10-08
Peter Bowen | Denis O’Regan
Last year’s Scottish National winner was pulled up when getting a first sighter of these fences in December but the word is that he has looked impressive on the gallops.
21) 57-24430 MONBEG DUDE Age: 10 Weight: 10-07
Michael Scudamore | Liam Treadwell
Former Welsh National winner who jumped poorly in this race last year and did well to come seventh. Has shown glimpses of quality this year but always liable to clatter one.
22) 1110-33P CORRIN WOOD Age: 8 Weight: 10-07
Donald McCain | David Casey
Top novice chaser last season, somewhat disappointing this season and unlikely to lay down a big challenge though may be one of those at the front early on.
23) P/261U-P THE RAINBOW HUNTER Age: 11 Weight: 10-07
Kim Bailey | David Bass
Misfortune played a major part when this one unseated Aidan Coleman in each of the last two Nationals. But he’s not a proven stayer beyond three miles and holds limited appeal.
24) 4PF-3331 SAINT ARE Age: 9 Weight: 10-06
Tom George | Paddy Brennan
Ended a losing run when winning at Catterick last time out. Handicapper took no chances, raising him 14 pounds for that, but has won twice at Aintree in April. Live outsider.
25) 1U0-800B ACROSS THE BAY Age: 11 Weight: 10-06
Donald McCain | Henry Brooke
Often deadly on heavy ground, fairly hopeless (and winless) on anything else. Fourteenth in each of the last two Nationals sums up his chances this time.
26) 0231P0-5 TRANQUIL SEA Age: 13 Weight: 10-05
Warren Greatrex | Gavin Sheehan
Three and a half years ago he was a decent chaser when racing at about half the distance he encounters on Saturday. Can be safely dismissed as a realistic contender.
27) 04-11U14 OSCAR TIME Age: 14 Weight: 10-05
Robert Waley-Cohen | Sam Waley-Cohen
Would be the oldest winner since 1853, but has very solid form over these fences and a jockey who also loves Aintree. Much in his favour, cracking each-way bet.
28) P-120P1P BOB FORD Age: 8 Weight: 10-04
Rebecca Curtis | Paul Townend
A deluge would have made him seriously competitive, since all his best chase results have been on heavy or soft ground. Cannot realistically be recommended.
29) 24/P2-67 SUPER DUTY Age: 9 Weight: 10-04
Ian Williams | Will Kennedy
Has won just once over fences (second five times). Lacks experience, but could conceivably plug on for a place if showing the required stamina, but that’s a big if.
30) 99P16-2F WYCK HILL Age: 11 Weight: 10-04
David Bridgwater |
Decent strike rate over fences, but preference in recent seasons for ground with plenty of cut in it and one of the weaker jumpers in the field which is hardly a positive.
31) 8U-P11P4 GAS LINE BOY Age: 9 Weight: 10-04
Philip Hobbs | James Best
Has the kind of profile to suggest a big run at a nice price is within his compass but must eliminate recent jumping errors. Very impressive when winning at Haydock last November.
32) 81P46-55 CHANCE DU ROY Age: 11 Weight: 10-04
Philip Hobbs | Tom O’Brien
Won the Becher Chase over these fences in December 2013 (soft ground) and carries two pounds less than when sixth in the National itself last year. No lost cause.
33) 4-8P1292 PORTRAIT KING Age: 10 Weight: 10-03
Maurice Phelan (IRE) | Davy Condon
Has been kept very busy by his trainer through the spring so may lack freshness. Has won just one fairly weak contest since taking the Eider three years ago. Limited appeal.
34) 213-8256 OWEGA STAR Age: 8 Weight: 10-03
Peter Fahey (IRE) | Robbie Power
Second-season chaser who’s unlikely to be able to compete adequately thrust into this company, and there would be big doubts over the marathon trip too.
35) -6U58P14 RIVER CHOICE Age: 12 Weight: 10-03
Richard Chotard (FRA) |
No French-trained horse has won the National since the Victorian era. Set to be a great experience for connections, but this horse will face a tough task just to complete.
36) 33265-11 COURT BY SURPRISE Age: 10 Weight: 10-03
Emma Lavelle | Richie McLernon
Lightly raced chaser who was 1 from 13 over fences when running up two on the bounce last autumn, but long lay-off since then not ideal and this is his first visit to Aintree.
37) 3/51P4-5 ALVARADO Age: 10 Weight: 10-03
Fergal O’Brien |
A dangerous lurker on a low weight, much the same as last year when he stayed on past weakening horses to capture fourth. A repeat bid has always been the plan and could go close.
38) 4750-P11 SOLL Age: 10 Weight: 10-02
David Pipe | Tom Scudamore
Seventh in the 2013 National off similar mark before switch to top west country yard in the autumn reaped immediate dividends with two wins from two. Very interesting.
39) /10115-P ELY BROWN Age: 10 Weight: 10-02
Charlie Longsdon |
Ex-hurdler switched late in life to the chasing game, picking up a couple of novice contests last season. This is a massive leap into the unknown, and in theory he should struggle.
40) 723-4132 ROYALE KNIGHT Age: 9 Weight: 10-02
Dr Richard Newland | Brendan Powell
Last year’s winning trainer has a second barrel to fire this time and does it with an ex-Irish pointer who won a Sedgefield handicap by a huge margin last October. Warrants respect.