The allure of the Grand National is inevitably linked to its betting public, as viewers of plenty to no experience line up to watch and have a flutter.
A number of reasons suffice for punters to get involved, whether the jockey’s silks are your favourite colour, a name leaps from the page or you heard “that thing wins” from your neighbour’s dogwalker.
The lottery it is makes for one of the greatest puzzles to solve that even the most seasoned tipsters are left scratching their heads over.
Some though will chiefly consult the history for their pointers. As old as they are, the race’s records can hold a number of clues for what type of horse usually wins the race, depending on factors varying from age to breeding.
These are known as a race’s trends and it’s the closest thing to science when it comes to backing a winner (although it must be said they still remain anything but). Outlined below are some of the most significant, hopefully pointing us to a small field from then to choose from.
· A seven year old hasn’t won the race in 77 years (Strike: Double Shuffle, Shantou Flyer, Le Mercurey)
· Only four eight year olds have won in the last 32 runnings (Strike: Plenty including Blakion, Definitly Red, One For Arthur and Vieux Lion Rouge)
· 13 of last 18 winners were Irish bred horses (Strike: Cause of Causes, Drop Out Joe, Goodtoknow, Ucello Conti, Wonderful Charm, Houblon Des Obeaux, Tenor Nivernais, Saint Are, Raz De Maree)
· Only 2 horses in the last 20 years have won after falling or unseating more than twice in their career (Strike: Bishops Road, Thunder and Roses, Gas Line Boy)
4. Warm up run
· Just the one horse has defied an absence greater than 50 days since 1981 to win (Strike: Regal Encore, Rogue Angel, Stellar Notion, Perfect Candidate, Ballynagour, Highland Lodge)
5. Proven stamina
· Every one of the last 45 winners had previously been victorious over at least three miles (Strike: Cocktails At Dawn)
6. Chasing experience but not too much
· 7 of the last 10 winners have jumped fences between 10 and 14 times on the track (Strike: Measureofmydreams, Just A Par, More Of That, Lord Windermere, Pleasant Company, Doctor Harper)
7. But not last year’s race
· Amberleigh House is the only horse since 1983 to win after placing the year before (Strike: The Last Samuri)
The one name left from that field of 40 is O’Faolains Boy. The 66/1 odds shouldn’t deter you from having a bet but the rather callous dismissal of some very talented other runners might.
The Rebecca Curtis trained gelding was once one of the more exciting staying novice chasers around, whose progression was only faltered by injury. Being unable to finish on his two most recent starts is worrying, yet the horse is undeniably well handicapped and may well run to better form if a recent breathing operation proves the making of him.
Generally speaking recent renewals have tended to buck plenty of these trends, with last year’s victor even enjoying his first win over fences in the race. The horses themselves will certainly remain blissfully unaware of any stats punters might swear by well before and long after the winning post. If racing was nearly this simple I’d be a much richer man.
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