Grand National Tip

It’s that time of year again folks.

Grand National Day tomorrow.

It’s a race I live in fear of each year sweating over the possibility of her indoors picking the winner on the grounds that the jockey was wearing a pretty blouse. If so I won’t hear the end of it for a long time.

I have put a bit more effort into my own research than that. Remember however that hard work and research is a thing that tends to pay off in the long run but not every day nor in every race.

Below you can read my personal thoughts on the race.

Good luck to you no matter who you decide to back in the end.



John Smith’s Grand National Chase
(Handicap) (Grade 3) (7yo+) 4m3f110y

See live odds from multiple bookmakers

This year The Grand National has been shortened to 4m3f110y

One area that interests me is the number of runs this year horses have had.
So I will start there

Number of Races This Season

* The last 24 winners had the following runs that season
* 4 3 4 6 4 5 6 6 5 9 6 6 6 6 5 4 5 6 7 3 5 4 6 7 6
* Clearly having 4-5-6-7 runs this year is ideal
* None have won with 0-1-2 runs that year
* The following horses fail this and are rejected
* IMPERIAL COMMANDER is 12 with 1 run this season
* That’s not an acceptable profile with Topweight
* WHAT A FRIEND is exposed with 1 run this season
* QUEL ESPRIT is out with 2 runs this season
* His sire’s never had a winner beyond 3m 1f yet
* Stamina Weight and lack of runs should beat him
* ALWAYS WAINING 12 and has just 2 runs this season
* He is Flat Bred and doesn’t look likely to stay
* TREACLE will stay but he is also underraced
* He’s exposed aged 12 with just two runs this season

* The last 24 winners had the following runs that season
* 4 3 4 6 4 5 6 6 5 9 6 6 6 6 5 4 5 6 7 3 5 4 6 7 6
* SUNNYHILLBOY only has two runs this season
* He was 2nd in last years race
* I don’t see him repeating that this year
* He had 4 prepatory races last year and just 2 this year
* He had 30 days absence last year but now has 84 days
* He had 10st 5lbs last year and now 11st 4lbs
* That’s three big problems from an exposed horse
* He is hardly big in stature anyway
* He withdrew from the Gold Cup on the day
* That lack of prep run must count against him
* seabass has raced just twice this season
* He was 3rd in last years race when favourite
* Last year he had 8lbs less weight
* He also had 4 runs that season
* Now with more weight and only 2 runs I oppose him
* ON HIS OWN has raced just once this year
* He has a very worrying profile in other areas
* The least experienced winner had 9 Chase runs
* He has just 7 Chase runs and only 1 run this year
* He is a serious talent and has ability
* He may be a new breed of horses about to win this
* None before were remotely like him though
* Until one wins we should oppose his type of horse
* BALTHAZAR KING has just two runs this season
* That’s a big worry for an exposed horse like him
* He won the 2012 Cross Country at Cheltenham
* That was 3m 7f but not a true stamina test
* He is the only horse by his sire to win beyond 3m 3f
* Horses by Kings Theatre are 1-32 racing at 3m 3f +
* His 141 day absence also badly damages his chance
* The past 21 winners all ran within 7 weeks
* CAPPA BLEU has only raced twice this season
* The last 19 winners had won at least 3 Chases before
* CAPPA BLEU hasn’t done that yet
* 18 of the last 19 winners had 3-4-5-6-7 Chase wins before
* They had 11 4 4 3 5 4 3 3 5 7 3 5 6 5 7 3 5 6 4 5 Chase wins
* CAPPA BLEU has only won twice over fences
* With 9 Chase runs he’d be joint least experienced winner

A Recent Race

* It is very important to have a recent race
* The past 21 winners all ran within 7 weeks
* I’d not want a horse absent more than 60 days
* The last 21 winners were absent this many days
* 56 35 23 21 41 32 27 48 28 20 25
* 42 20 24 35 23 16 35 23 35 23 25
* Look at the absences of the Runner Ups
* Horses 2nd in the National had the following absences
* 30 45 49 25 27 21 22 22 100 35 23
* 63 345 28 16 44 18 42 21 23 23 102
* 18 of the past 22 Runners Ups also ran within 7 weeks
* I am prepared to have some leeway with 60 days absence
* The following horses fail this statistic
* IMPERIAL COMMANDER is absent 70 days
* SUNNYHILLBOY has an absence of 84 days
* BALTHAZAR KING is absent 141 days
* The above 3 horses are already rejected
* MUMBLES HEAD and LOST GLORY fail it too

Age Of Winner

* Horses aged 6 and 7 have appalling records
* They haven’t won since 1940 and few even finish the race
* Horses aged 6 and 7 are too young
* SAINT ARE is rejected as a 7 year old
* Horses aged 8 need to actually be 8 year olds
* Only 3 of the last 36 winners were 8 year olds
* Horses aged 8 haven’t the best recent record
* If you bet an 8 year old make sure it is actually 8
* Be aware some horses are younger than their age
* If Foaled after April 6th they are really under 8
* All 8yo winners were foaled early before the race
* Bindaree – Party Politics – Corbiere are the last 8yo winners
* They were all foaled early the year they were born
* They were all aged 8 and a few months
* Red Rum also won aged 8 and he was a January Foal
* Horses foaled after the day of the race are not 8
* They are just 7 and a few months old
* LOST GLORY is a only about 7.5 years old
* SOLL wont fully be an 8 year old form another 28 days
* HARRY THE VIKING isn’t 8 quite yet either

Back Class

* Class is important in a Grand National Winner
* 11 of the last 12 winners won in Listed Grade or higher
* The exception was Ballabriggs (2011)
* He had won in Class 2 race but hadn’t been tested in higher
* I’d argue he should be seen as a Graded winner
* He won the 2010 Kim Muir at the Cheltenham Festival
* It was a Class 2 handicap but he did that with Topweight
* That was more than worthy or a Graded win
* 21 of the last 22 had raced in Graded Class before
* The vast majority of the runner ups also did this
* The ones that did not were mainly lightly raced
* Having No Graded form is not acceptable
* The following horses have no Graded form
* COLBERT STATION has no Listed or Graded form
* That’s a worry but I don’t want to be hasty with him
* He won a 22 runner Chase worth 89k very easily
* Officially that Irish race was a Class 2 race
* I would view that as more like a Graded race
* COLBERT STATION gets a free pass on this statistic

* These Horses haven’t won a Listed/Graded race
* QUISCOVER FONTAINE hasn’t won in this class either
* BALTHAZAR KING has also failed that
* CAPPA BLUE is yet to win in Listed/Graded class too
* TEAFORTHREE has plenty of Graded form
* He has never won beyond Class 2 before
* That is a definite negative about his profile

Chasing Experience

* Chasing Experience is of obvious importance
* The previous 22 winners had the following Chase runs
* 27 12 12 24 14 13 10 11 37 41 14 12 24 17 25 10 23 16 9 14 28 14
* The least Experienced Chaser was Miinnehoma in 1994
* He had 9 previous Chase runs
* There were two more that had 10 Chase starts
* Horses with Under 9 Chase runs are unlike any past winners
* I looked at the Chase runs of the last 20 Runner Ups
* 11 10 24 18 11 13 15 23 14 20 10 11 9 19 14 9 8 24 32 22 8
* I would be wary of any horses with under 9 Chase starts
* COLBERT STATION only has 5 Chase starts
* That is 4 less than the least experienced winner
* We have to bear in mind the race is changing
* Last years 4th (Cappa Blue) had just 6 chase runs
* Mely moss was 2nd in 2000 with 5 Chase starts
* Lord Atterbury was 3rd in 2004 with 4 Chase starts
* The race has been maid easier this year
* COLBERT STATION fails this but I could forgive this
* He has a longer absence than the last 21 winners
* That’s only by 6 days though and I would ignore that
* COLBERT STATION – I would still keep him on side
* ON HIS OWN only has 7 Chase starts
* He fell in one of those in this race last year
* I rejected him earlier with 1 run this season
* JOIN TOGETHER has raced in only 8 Chases
* That’s a bit short of runs when he didn’t finish in three
* WIth two Pulled Ups and a Fall he hasn’t had many runs
* JOIN TOGETHER gets credit in many areas
* He will stay and he has backclass
* He also has a healthy of runs this season
* Against him is just 8 previous chase runs
* Especially when not finishing 3 of these
* It worries me he was a Novice just 12 months ago
* There is also the issue of field size
* His Trainer is on record saying he likes small fields
* All his wins come in fields of 10 or less
* In fields of 11 or more he is PU 7th Fell PU
* He’s been to 2 Cheltenham and 1 Aintree festival
* He has disappointed on all three occasions
* Profile isn’t quite right and has a few minor flaws
* CAPPA BLEU is short of Chase runs having only 9
* CAPPA BLEU is short of runs as well with just 2 this year
* That’s not many for a horse aged 11
* He was 4th in last years race
* He was younger then and had an extra run that season
* The last 19 winners had won at least 3 Chases before
* CAPPA BLEU hasn’t done that yet
* 18 of the last 19 winners had 3-4-5-6-7 Chase wins before
* They had 11 4 4 3 5 4 3 3 5 7 3 5 6 5 7 3 5 6 4 5 Chase wins
* CAPPA BLEU has only won twice over fences
* With 9 Chase runs he’d be joint least experienced winner
* CAPPA BLUE is yet to win in Listed/Graded class too
* All in all I want more from a 12/1 chance


* I think we should ignore the weight statistics
* The 2012 winner won with 11st 6lbs
* The 2010 winner won with 11st 5lbs
* Red Rum won with 11st 8lbs and again with 12st
* Corbiere won with 11st 4lbs and Grittar with 11st 5lbs
* L’Escargot won with 11st 3lbs and Gay Trip with 11st 5lbs
* I wont be ruling any horse out on their weight

Past Chase Wins

* 18 of the last 19 winners had 3-4-5-6-7 Chase wins before
* They had 11 4 4 3 5 4 3 3 5 7 3 5 6 5 7 3 5 6 4 5 Chase wins
* CAPPA BLEU has only won twice over fences
* JOIN TOGETHER also fail this
* Both of these have already been rejected
* NINETIETH MINUTE has won just 1 Chase start
* I wouldn’t want to bet him
* COLBERT STATION also fails this stat with 2 Chase wins
* That’s understandable as he has just 6 Chase runs
* He has a 40% strike rate over fences
* If we forgive him inexperience we can forgive him this

Handicap Chase Runs

* Past winners had ran in the following Handicap Chases
* 9 7 5 21 8 8 6 6 24 33 7 12 14 12 15 7 16 7 4 7
* Horses running in 5-12 Handicap Chases did well
* They won 14 of the last 20 renewals
* Every recent winner ran in at least 4 Handicap Chases
* IMPERIAL COMMANDER has just 1 Handicap Chase run
* COLBERT STATION only has 2 Handicap Chase runs
* JOIN TOGETHER only has 3 Handicap Chase runs
* All of these have already been rejected
* NINETIETH MINUTE only has 3 Handicap runs
* JONCOL runs in his first Handicap Chase today
* We know every past winner ran in at least 4
* JONCOL could have problems with ground and trip
* He clearly looks best around 2m 4f – 2m 6f
* I don’t see him getting home

Past Handicap Chase Wins

* Number of Handicap Chases won
* Recent winners had won the following Handicap Chases
* 3 3 1 2 1 3 3 2 3 6 0 4 4 5 4 3 3 1 1 2
* No past winner had won more than 6 Handicap Chases

Jumping Ability

* You want a decent Jumper of course
* The last 13 winners had not fallen more than twice before
* I wouldn’t rule a horse out on this statistic
* It is something to bear in Mind
* TATENEN has 1 Fall and 3 Unseated riders
* BIG FELLA THANKS has 1 Fall and 3 Unseated riders
* CHICAGO GREY has fallen twice and unseated as well
* AURORAS ENCORE has fallen 3 times and unseated

The 3 Mile Statistic

* Every winner since 1970 had won over at least 3m
* seabass hasn’t done that but I ignore that
* His 3rd in this race last year trumps that
* I have rejected him for different reasons
* TATENEN has never raced beyond 2m 6f
* His sire hasn’t bred a 3m 3f winner yet
* Coming from the 2m Grand Annual must hurt him
* He moves up almost 2m 4f in distance today

Horses Coming From 2m4f Races

* The record of horses from 2m 4f or shorter is poor
* This is worse when its a Chase over 2m 4f or shorter
* I Looked at horses from handicap chases over 2m 6f or less
* No exposed horse won doing that
* TATENEN fails that and makes no appeal
* CHICAGO GREY comes from a 2m 4f race
* More about his chance later on

* BIG FELLA THANKS also comes from 2m 4f
* He has a mixed profile for me
* BIG FELLA THANKS has ran 3 times in this race
* He was beaten 23 28 and 40 lengths
* All 3 times he had a bad profile and excuses
* I don’t think he has a disastrous profile this year
* I think he has a lot of weight for what he’s achieved
* He has more weight this year than for all 3 of his failures
* Not keen he comes from 2m 4f either when exposed
* He probably doesn’t get the trip and I wanted better

* WEIRD AL probably hasn’t got the guts to win this
* His good runs are rare and he is underraced this year
* There is a good chance he wont get home
* His sires runners at 3m 6f and more are 0-40
* AURORAS ENCORE is an exposed 11yo
* His sire hasn’t bred a winner beyond 3m 2f yet
* Not keen he has fallen 3 times and unseated already
* I don’t see him being good enough
* FORPADYDEPLASTERER has won an Arkle before
* You have to question his stamina here
* His sire’s runners at 3m 4f and more are 1-34
* That sole winner came at Cartmel in a Class 5 race
* He’s exposed and moves up almost 2 miles in trip
* I cant see him overcoming that
* NINETIETH MINUTE has won 1 of his 11 Chase runs
* 18 of the last 19 winners had won at least 3 Chases
* He has less handicap chase experience than past winners
* His form isn’t really good enough to win this
* Liable to hit some fences and he’s fallen twice before
* RARE BOB passes most of my main angles
* He was brought down at the 5th in last years race
* He’s exposed and could be vulnerable to improvers
* I do like that he has improved on all 4 runs this year
* His Racing Post Rating improved each time
* He’s had 4 runs here but hasn’t done much
* He was Brought down in one and Unseated in another
* He was well beaten in the other two
* He has won just 1 of his last 22 races though
* I looked at his record in Chases with 16 + runners
* 3rd 8th BD 16th PU 8th 3rd 4th 4th
* That doesn’t inspire me too much
* I looked at his form over 3m 2f and more
* He’s run this far 5 times in the past
* He was Brought down in one of then in this race
* The other 4 runs saw defeats of 65 59 19 12 lengths
* Not convinced will Stay this far
* He does have a fair statistical chance
* I just don’t trust him to do the business



* ACROSS THE BAY passes all my main angles
* He’s won 3 times this season probably not ideal
* That doesn’t take much away from a competent profile
* His Chase record is 7 2 W W PU PU PU 2 UR 2 W
* He has only finished 4 of his 11 Chase runs
* I’d be slightly worried he lacks the substance to win
* Drying Ground could also be a potential issue
* There is a doubt about his stamina in the class
* His Sire’s had winners at 3m 3f and 3m 5f
* None have yet won over further than 3m 5f
* The two winners came in Class 3 and Class 5 races
* He has lots of positives as well though
* He is W W 2 7 W this season
* That “7th” had a genuine excuse in the Welsh National
* He’s had a wind operation which could also help
* Bottom line is he is shortlistable but maybe not 1st choice
* He is too big at 40/1 and more on Betfair

* CHICAGO GREY was brought down early in last years race
* He passes the important angles I like in this race
* CHICAGO GREY has to be considered a potential winner
* I don’t like the fact he comes from a 2m 4f chase
* He is well raced this year and ticks a lot of boxes
* I do worry about his jumping which isn’t perfect
* Other than that there is a lot to like
* His trainer has a National Pedigree
* CHICAGO GREY also looks laid out for the race
* He certainly has the class but there are some worries
* Look at his career record in his 6 Handicap Chases
* He finished 4 of these losing by 25 38 51 50 lengths
* He Unseated rider and was brought down in another
* He has never ran well in a handicap chase before
* He started 20/1 9/1 20/1 4/1 9/4f 11/2f in these races
* He’s one of the best handicapped horses in the race
* CHICAGO GREY – It’s his jumping worrying me most
* It was fine last time but many times before it wasn’t

* COLBERT STATION – Shortlisting him at this stage
* Statistically he does not have a safe profile
* I have given him a free pass to the shortlist stage
* I have been very generous to do that
* I am not prepared to rule him out just yet
* I’m sure McCoy will ride him ahead of Sunnyhillboy
* I have to turn a blind eye to some of his failings
* At this stage its vital not to eliminate the winner
* I love his sire and he should relish the distance
* The fences are easier and the distance shortened
* It could be best to forgive his inexperience
* At this stage he is worth considering for a saver

* ROBERTO GOLDBACK passes my main angles
* He looks a very dangerous floater to me
* He does have a lot of weight with 11st 6lbs
* He also has a lot of smaller field form
* ROBERTO GOLDBACK has won in a 14 runner race
* He was kept wide though and I’m not convinced
* That said his owner bought him to run in this race
* He will either take to the race or he wont
* Not bad for a small bet around 40/1

* TEAFORTHREE has a lot of positives statistically
* He passes all my major angles for the race
* He is basically safe with a few niggles
* Not keen he was only a Novice Chaser last year
* That said so was the 1997 winner so its not a deal breaker
* I’d also worry about how he’s cope if its quick ground
* His last run was poor but that was excusable
* After the Hennessy and Welsh National
* He wanted a longer break before he ran at Haydock
* No Aintree form but neither had many past winners
* TEAFORTHREE deserves a place on the shortlist

* BALLABRIGGS won this race in 2011
* He was 6th last year but had a very weak profile
* He raced just once last season before the National
* He was only beaten 17 lengths into 6th place
* That’s a very credible run without more than 1 prep run
* He had some much fitter horses ahead of him last year
* He was just behind Sunnyhillboy -seabass – Cappa Blue
* BALLABRIGGS now looks fitter than them this year
* BALLABRIGGS has 3 runs this season 2 more than 2012
* Sunnyhillboy – seabass – Cappa Blue all have just two
* These 3 horses have a lot more weight this year
* BALLABRIGGS in contrast has 5lbs less weight
* He is 18lbs better off with Sunnyhillboy
* He is 13lbs better off with seabass
* He is 6lbs better off with Cappa Blue
* He has two more races this season
* Those 3 all had 2 fewer races this season
* I don’t see why he shouldn’t beat them and all of these
* I’d rather have him a bit younger and with another run
* He isn’t though and there are compensations
* One being so many here have 1-2 runs this season
* He’s done it before and will handle any ground
* He’s a safe jumper and I fancy him a lot this year
* I like the price but have to get over one thing
* His Age and weight with three runs this season
* Individually I don’t worry about his age or weight or runs
* Collectively when you combine all three I do
* I looked at horses older than 10 with 10st 12lbs in the race
* They had a 1-46 record in the last 16 renewals
* That was last years winner Neptune Collonges
* He was 11 and had 4 runs that season
* BALLABRIGGS is 12 and has 3 runs this season
* I have to wrestle with that but I have backed him


Shortlist Summary


My Final Selection



COLBERT STATION 12/1 Saver ( saver staked to roughly reclaim stake on other two if saver wins)


The odds above are from Betfair. Betdaq will offer about the same but are running a 0% commission offer for the Grand National.

If you prefer to go each way at a traditional bookmaker note that most offer five places. Beware a few tightwads who only offer four places. Bet Victor are worth noting due to them paying six places.

See live odds from multiple bookmakers

Best wishes





Posted under Major Horse Races

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

More Blog Post

Next Post: