Ayr Gold Cup

S a t u r d a y   A y r   3.20

By popular demand the race I am looking at here today for
the free blog is the Ayr Gold Cup.

I feel I have something a bit stronger in the 3.55 at Ayr
but that is for full members of my paid service.
Quite rightly they moan if I post too much up here for free.

A few of you have asked about my thoughts on the Ayr Gold Cup
so here they are.

It is a huge runner field and I wont be investing heavily myself but
if you forced a tenner into my hand and told me to bet it this is why I would do.

William Hill Ayr Gold Cup
(Heritage Handicap) (CLASS 2) (3yo+) 6f

* The Ayr Gold Cup is a 6f Handicap
* There has been 18 renewals of this race since 1993
* There has been 77 Similar handicaps elsewhere

* Horses aged 7 or more struggled
* None were absent as long as TAJNEED
* None were absent as long as EVENS AND ODDS
* REGAL PARADE doesnt come out well aged 7
* Not without a recent run and from Listed Class
* ANCIENT CROSS is an exposed 7yo from 6f
* He has just Class 2 Form similar horses were 1-59
* ANCIENT CROSS has more weight than that winner
* Those like him running within 2 weeks are 0-36
* ANCIENT CROSS isnt as good a fit as I want
* MAYSON shouldnt win this aged 3 with 1 run this year
* Fillies aged 3 need at least 6 runs that season
* DARAJAAT fails that with 4 runs
* MAJESTIC MYLES looks the wrong type of 3yo
* Those down in trip with 9 + runs struggled
* None had anything like his weight and I cant match him
* In 77 races no exposed horse won absent 7 + weeks
* Those that tried had a 0-66 record
* HAWKEYETHENOO fails that and is rejected
* LIGHT FROM MARS fails that and is rejected
* KALDOUN KINGDOM fails that and is rejected
* Exposed horses absent over a Month were 3-175
* None have won this race
* None were aged 4 like PEPPER LANE
* None were fillies like PEPPER LANE
* GROUP THERAPY – Wrong as exposed 6yo from 5f
* ANNE OF KIEV is a mare and fails the same statistic
* BREATHLESS KISS is wrong as an exposed filly from 5f
* I looked at Exposed horses from 7f races
* Those aged 6 or more were just 1-60
* Those without a run in the last week were 0-56
* CASTLES IN THE AIR fails that and has a bad draw
* BRAVE PROSPECTOR fails that from 7f
* HIGH STANDING also looks wrong doing this
* There were 13 winners coming from 7f
* None had just 1-2-3-4 runs that season
* ETON RIFLES fails that
* Those aged 6 or more like him needed 8 + runs that year
* ETON RIFLES falls short for me
* MAC4S POWER is exposed and from a 6f Listed race
* Horses with this profile had a 1-28 record
* That was the 1996 winner of this Royale Figurine
* She was a 4yo filly and had 6 runs this year
* MAC4S POWER is an older 5yo and a Male
* MAC4S POWER – Can’t match him as well as I’d like
* He has a tough handicap mark on ground not ideal
* SON OF THE CAT has the same profile
* He is exposed aged 5 from a Listed race
* SON OF THE CAT has a tough handicap mark
* BELOW ZERO is an exposed 4yo from 7f
* Similar horses had a 1-31 record in 77 races
* That winner had less weight than he does
* Recently punished by the handicapper he is unsafe
* OUR JONATHAN is 4 and comes from a 6f handicap
* He has a Months absence as well
* I found 2 winners that had that profile
* Both winners had 8st 8lbs or less
* OUR JONATHAN has 9st 6lbs
* I see him borderline shortlistable but the weights a worry
* The Handicapper does look in charge
* WAFFLE is an unexposed 5yo from a 6f handicap
* He has a recent race beaten about 6 lengths
* The 2000 winner of this race shared that profile
* That winner did have 20lbs less weight though
* I Dont see WAFFLE as well treated
* Having 1 career win drags his numbers down as well
* Borderline shortlistable he is respected but unsafe

S h o r t l i s t

* CROISULTAN is very hard to read
* Irish horse that comes from a Group race 7 days ago
* He looks short of runs this year for an exposed 5yo
* Coming from Group 3 races is not the norm either
* In His favour is strong recent form
* I would see him more as a Neutral profile
* He is unorthodox and not statistically strong
* I shouldnt impose English stats on Irish horses though
* CROISULTAN is respected but very hard to read

* DUNGANNON is an unexposed 4yo
* He comes from 6f and has Class 2 form
* Similar horses running within a month did win 2 races
* There is a Silver Cup winner like him
* No Gold Cup winner but DUNGANNON is shortlistable

* PASTORAL PLAYER is an unexposed 4yo from 7f
* He runs within 2 weeks and has 5-6-7 runs this season
* In 77 races there were 2 horses with that profile
* These finished 1st and 6th
* PASTORAL PLAYER is very shortlistable

* COLONEL MAK is an exposed 4 year old
* He won a 6f Handicap last time over 2 weeks ago
* Similar horses had a 1-4 record
* The winner was the 2005 winner of this race (Presto Shinko)
* COLONEL MAK won the Silver Cup last year as a 3yo
* That shows me he has a good chance in this years race
* COLONEL MAK is shortlisted


CROISULTAN – Hard to read. Neutral profile
DUNGANNON – Almost right and respected
PASTORAL PLAYER – Like his profile
COLONEL MAK – Decent chance

Final Selection

Split Stake Bet

CROISULTAN  16/1 S James
COLONEL MAK 16/1 S James

Full live market odds at


Best Wishes

Posted under Major Horse Races

Grand National Tip

I dealt with the Grand National last Sunday for full members and sent a long
preview with reasons why I felt CHARACTER BUILDING
had an outstanding chance and he is still my main selection.

He is about as fashionable as Drink Driving looking at all other opinions
but many recent winners were and if he can keep in contention for the
first circuit you never know and he still looks a very big price to
me at 33/1 so fingers crossed.

A copy of my analysis from last sunday is below.


John Smith´s Grand National Chase
(Handicap) Grade 3 (CLASS 1) (6yo+) 4m4f

* The Grand National has 17 renewals since 1992
* There are also 75 Handicaps in Febuary-March-April
* Thats 75 Handicap Chases over 3m 7f or more
* Thats 75 Handicap Chases with at least 12 runners
* Thats 75 Handicap Chases in Class 2 or Higher Grade
* This includes the last 17 Grand nationals
* It includes the Scottish , Irish and Midlands Nationals


* It is very important to have a recent race
* The past 20 winners all ran within 7 weeks
* The last 20 winners were absent this many days
23 21 41 32 27 48 28 20 25 42 20 24 35 23 16 35 23 35 23 25
* What is also significant is the absence of the Runner Ups
* Horses 2nd in the National had the following days absence
* 49 25 27 21 22 22 100 35 23 63 345 28 16 44 18 42 21 23 23 102
* 16 of the past 20 Runners Ups also ran within 7 weeks
* There are over 120 English horses absent 7 + weeks
* None of these have won and I would avoid long absences

* BACKSTAGE has been absent since last July
* CALGARY BAY has been absent 70 days
* BECAUSEICOULDNTSEE has been absent 101 days
* STATE OF PLAY has been absent 304 days
* HELLO BUD has been absent 84 days
* Other horses that fail this include the following
* Majestic Concorde –  Or Noir De Somoza  – Dooneys Gate
* The Tother One- Nedzers Return – Grand Slam Hero
* Thats Rhythm – Frankie Figg – Our Monty – Starzaan
* Royal Rosa – Putney Bridge –  Imoncloudnine


* The last 7 year old winner of this race was back in 1940
* Horses aged 7 and unlikely to even complete the course
* QUINZ has to be eliminated aged 7
* QUINZ is not going to be 7 until May anyway
* He is no more than 6 years 11 months old
* I dont see how I can bet him given the record of 7yo’s
* Quolibet – Sagalyrique – Galant Nuit are out aged 7 as well


* Only 2 of the last 26 winners were 8 year olds
* Horses aged 8 havent the best recent record
* If you bet an 8 year old make sure it is actually 8
* All recent 8yo winners were foaled early before the race
* Those foaled in Mid april and Beyond are not officially 8
* 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
* WHAT A FRIEND is 8 and a May Foal
* He is technically still a 7 year old
* Other horses that fail this statistic are as follows
* Majestic Concorde – Our Monty – Belon Gale
* Junior – I’moncloudnine


* Horses aged 13 can also be opposed with confidence
* HELLO BUD fails that
* Especially when so lightly raced this season


* Exposed horses struggle with under 4 runs that season
* They have a 1-184 record in 75 Similar races
* The only winner was Grey Abbey – 2000 Scottish National
* I would demand at least 4 runs a year from exposed horses
* The Following Horses all fail this important statistic
* Other horses that fail this statistic are as follows
* Ballytrim -Faasel – Dev – Starzaan – Toby Jug
* Comply Or Die – Frankie Figg – Junior – Royal Rosa


* In the 75 similar races I looked at horses with 13 + runs
* These horses struggle badly with just 1-2 runs that season
* Whilst horses with 21 or more starts need 4 + runs that year
* Those with 13 or more runs need at least 3 + runs that year
* Those that did not have a 0-144 record
* Horses with 1-2 runs this season should be avoided
* The last 23 winners had the following runs that season
* 4 6 4 5 6 6 5 9 6 6 6 6 5 4 5 6 7 3 5 4 6 7 6

* The Following Horses all fail this important statistic
* THE MIDNIGHT CLUB who is favourite for the race
* BECAUSEICOULDNTSEE fancied as well
* Also failing this statistic are the following
* Our Monty – Majestic Concorde – Dooneys Gate
* Roll Along – Ornais – Surface To Air – Faasel
* Dev – Toby Jug- Gallant Nuit – Treacle

* Seasonal Debutants should be avoided
* BACKSTAGE hasnt run this year under rules
* Our Monty – Starzaan also have that against them


* Horses coming from a small field struggled
* Horses from races with under 9 runners were 0-104
* Not a strong statistic but worth bearing in mind
* BALLABRIGGS fails that
* THE TOTHER ONE also fails that
* Northern Alliance – Always Waining also fails that
* Skippers Brig


* Class is very important in a National Winner
* The last 10 winners all won in at least Listed Grade before
* The last 20 winners had all ran in Graded Class Before
* The vasy majority of the runner ups also did this
* The only ones that did not were very lightly raced
* All exposed horses must have Graded Form
* In15 years no exposed horse won without Grade 1 form
* I would not want a horse without Graded Class form
* BALLABRIGGS fails that
* He’s now exposed and has no form in Listed or Graded races
* Other horses that fail this statistic are as follows
* Dooneys Gate – Nezders Return – Surface To Air
* Our Monty -Belon Gale – Grand Slam Hero – Putney Bridge


* I think we should ignore the weight statistics
* Last years winner won with 11st 5lbs
* Horses with 11st 6lbs have struggled overall
* Only Red Rum had won with more weight in recent years
* I would not get too hung up with weight though
* 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
* Horses with 11st 5lbs or more won in 1965 1957 1954 1050
* The Precedents are there are last years winner showed that
* I wont be ruling any horse out on their weight


* You dont want a horse with 2 or more wins that season
* Past Winners had the following number of wins that year
* 0 1 1 0 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 0 1 3 1 1 1 0
* Only 1997 winner Lord Gyliene won more than once that year
* BALLABRIGGS fails this statistic
* QUINZ fails that as well
* WEST END ROCKER fails that
* Other horses that fail this statistic are as follows
* Midnight Chase – King Fontaine – Golden Kite
* Skippers Brig – Putney Bridge – Sagalyrique


* Chasing Experience is of obvious importance
* The previous 20 winners had the following Chase runs
* 12 24 14 13 10 11 37 41 14 12 24 17 25 10 23 16 9 14 28 14
* Least Experienced Chaser was Miinnehoma in 1994
* He had 9 Chase runs and two more had 10 Chase starts
* Horses with Under 9 Chase runs are unlike any past winner
* I looked at the Chase runs of the last 20 Runner Ups
* 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 10 Chase starts
* The following horses had under 10 Chase Starts
* THE MIDNIGHT CLUB is favourite with 8 Chase starts
* Thats only really 7 Chases as he had one early fall
* THE TOTHER ONE only has 9 Chase starts
* BECAUSEICOULDNTSEE has only had 7 Chase starts
* QUINZ has only had 7 Chase starts
* Other horses with fewer Chase runs than ideal are:
* Synchronised – Majestic Concorde – Nezders Return
* King Fontaine – Ornais – Surface To Air -Our Monty
* Skippers Brig – Giles Cross – Starzaan-Gallant Nuit -Junior


* You want a decent Jumper of course
* The last 11 winners had not fallen more than twice before
* I wouldnt rule a horse out on this statistic
* It is something to bear in Mind
* BIG FELLA THANKS fell or unseated in 3 of 15 chases
* SILVER BY NATURE has fallen in 3 of 14 chase starts
* NOTRE PERE has fallen 3 times before
* ARBOR SUPREME  has fallen 3 times before
* The following horses fail this as well
* Quolibet – Frankie Figg – The Sawyer – Pomme Tiepy


* You want a horse that was 1-2-3 in at least one of the last 6 runs
* Horse that havent done that score badly in all similar races
* COMPLY OR DIE has not managed that in 6 runs
* ROLL ALONG also fails that


* The record of horses from 2m 4f or shorter is awful
* This is worse when its a Chase over 2m 4f or shorter
* No exposed horse won from a 2m 6f Chase or shorter
* The following horses have this to overcome
* BIG FELLA THANKS has to come from 2m 4f
* NICHE MARKET also comes up in distance
* Or Noir De Somoza – Dooneys Gate – Scotsirish
* Northern Alliance – In Compliance – Santa’s Son
* Askthemaster – Dev – Starzaan – Duers – Treacle


* Every winner since 1970 had won over at least 3m
* The following horses have this to overcome
* BECAUSEICOULDNTSEE hasnt won at 3m yet
* The following also fail this statistic
* Or Noir De Somoza – Scotsirish –  Nezders Return
* Quolibet – In Compliance – Santa’s Son – Piraya
* Faasel – Putney Bridge –  Askthemaster -Dev
* Starzaan  – Duers


* Recent winners had ran in the following Handicap Chases
*  5 21 8 8 6 6 24 33 7 12 14 12 15 7 16 7 4 7
* Every recent winner has ran in at least 4 Handicap Chases
* Horses running in 5-12 Handicap Chases did well
* They won 12 of the last 18 renewals
* I would like to see at least 4 previous Handicap Chase runs
* THE MIDNIGHT CLUB is favourite
* He has only ran in 2 Handicap Chases before
* WHAT A FRIEND has only ran in 1 handicap chase
* TIDAL BAY has raced in just 2 handicap chases
* OSCAR TIME has raced in just 3 handicap chases
* BECAUSEICOULDNTSEE has just 1 handicap chase runs
* The following horses also fail this
* Synchronised – Majestic Concorde – Or Noir De Somoza
* Scotsirish – Quolibet – Roll Along – Ornais – Junior
* Our Monty – Surface To Air – Starzaan – Toby Jug

O T H E R   A N G L E S

* Number of Handicap Chases won
* Recent winners had won the following Handicap Chases
* 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

* The last 18 winners had between 3 and 7 Chase wins before
* They had  4 3 5 4 3 3 5 7 3 5 6 5 7 3 5 6 4 5 Chase wins


Whilst he is progressive THE MIDNIGHT CLUB has plenty
to prove as favourite when lightly raced and having just two runs
this year and at the price I am against him especially as he has just
two runs in Handicap Chases losing both. Others I dislike at the head
of the market as I see their preparation as wrong include
I’m against MERIGO as he doesnt look about to win and there must be a big form and fitness question.


OSCAR TIME doesnt offer enough given his price as He is
failing one of the strong stats. BACKSTAGE is technically
wrong with an absence but there is a temptation to ignore
that as he is Irish and has been Point To Pointing and that counts for something.
There will be a serious stamina doubt with him but you can argue he comes
from the same sire as Mon Mome the 2009 winner. I shouldnt select him
but he’s one of those that could win and it wouldnt shock me.
I dont  agree with people who say BIG FELLA THANKS does not stay.
He has been 4th and 6th in the last 2 Nationals.
Once when Under 7 years old and again when under 8 years old  and in
Neither race was he remotely equipped to win this race failing several angles
and his two performances in the race were remarkable. I really dont like the
fact he comes from 2m 4f but he does have a chance in this race.
Given a weight of 11st 10lbs DONT PUSH IT is bound to fail a weight statistic
but thats all he does fail and having won this last season and having promised
myself not to worry about the weight too much I think he is shortlistable much
as he has a stiff mark and the last time he ran over fences was in this race last
year which I dont see as an advantage.

WEST END ROCKER has plenty on his side considering
he is a 50/1 chance but I prefer others. I think Mares are
quite interesting in this race but BLUESEA CRACKER is
exposed and only has 3 runs this season and that makes
her unlike any recent winners. SILVER BY NATURE is
a big danger. He has been very impressive and probably
underestimated by many but he isnt for me mainly down
to the likely ground and the fact he is short of runs this
season. I dont see VIC VENTURI winning with so much
weight at his age but he passes most of the better angles.
So to does KILLYGLEN much as he is complicated and
has only finished in 5 of his last 9 Chases a big worry. I
think TIDAL BAY has a good chance and I have backed
him as well. He has a great Aintree record and has never
fallen before. Throw in Bags of Class and 50/1 there are
worse bets and he could run very well for an old rogue.



Getting his profile out of the way first have a similar
type winning. In 2004 Amberleigh House won when
an exposed 11 year old with 5 runs that season. It’s
also interesting that Amberleigh House had his prep
run in the Grimthorpe Chase at Doncaster and thats
where CHARACTER BUILDING last ran. There is
a similar profile there and enough to be confident in
CHARACTER BUILDING that he is the right type.

CHARACTER BUILDING came 7th in the 2010
race beaten 37 lengths. That does not worry me for
several reasons. He simply was not fit. He had won
at the 2009 Cheltenham Festival. He ran just twice
in the next 15 Months and by the 2010 National
he had only had 2 runs that season which is simply
not enough for a horse like him. He went there as
unfit and underprepared and out of form. There is
more to his run than meets the eye. He jumped all
the way round. This is a horse who has never fallen
in his life before and that counts for plenty. In last
years race he proved he handled the track. He was
mid division most of the way. Some will say that
he is unable to lay up close to the front but I have
to answer that by stating he was out of form last
year and underraced that season and he wasnt fit.

I watched the video of last years Grand National.
When DON’T PUSH IT jumped the penultimate
fence in front CHARACTER BUILDING was just
3 seconds behind him staying on overtaking quite
a few horses. He then faded but he was entitled to
as he was not fit and he blew up and came home in
7th place. In last years race he was a 16/1 chance.
This year He has a considerably better profile yet
is twice the price. This year he has 5 prep runs to
go to war with 3 more than last year. He also has
7lbs less weight this year which must help. He has
twice proven himself at this distance. He’s proved
he stays marathon trips before. He finished second
in the 4m National Hunt Chase at Cheltenham in
1997 when having a poor profile and badly treated
at the weights. He should have placed in this race
last year had he been fit. I see enough stamina and
Class there. CHARACTER BUILDING’s trainer is
John Quinn who’s won with 3 of his last 5 runners
and has struck form this week which must help.

So many of this years rivals are underraced and do
not have enough runs this season. The previous 23
winners had these following runs that season

4 6 4 5 6 6 5 9 6 6 6 6 5 4 5 6 7 3 5 4 6 7 6

CHARACTER BUILDING fits that like a Glove as
he has 5 runs. We know all past winners had under
7 wins in Handicap Chases and he does that as well.
Its also very interesting the last 18 winners of this
had 4 3 5 4 3 3 5 7 3 5 6 5 7 3 5 6 4 5 chase wins
and CHARACTER BUILDING fits in well with 3.
I can not find a better option and he looks the one

33/1 and 5 places at bet365 and s james
VC offer 6 places but are currently 25/1

Good luck.

You always need it in a race like the Grand National


Posted under Major Horse Races

Grand National Tips

Grand National Account Bet

£40 Win DARKNESS  20/1 +
£30 Win  L’AMI   22/1 +
£15 Each Way IDLE TALK 66/1

£100 Staked on the Race


24/1 Betfair
22/1 William Hill – Sportingbet
20/1 –Corals –LadbrokesTote


28/1 Betfair
25/1 Paddy Power
22/1 William Hillbet365
20/1 Corals –Ladbrokes


100/1 + Betfair
66/1 William HillCorals – Ladbrokes -VC- S James – Skybet



GRADE 3 (CLASS 1) (6yo+)  4m4f

7/1 My Will , 8/1 Butler’s Cabin , 10/1 Rambling Minster,
12/1 Black Apalachi , 12/1 Hear The Echo , 12/1 State of Play, 12/1 Big Fella Thanks, 14/1 Comply Or Die , Parsons Legacy 14/1 Darkness, 16/1 L’ami, 16/1 Irish Invader, Southern Vic 16/1 Kilbeggan Blade, 20/1 Snowy Morning , Himalayan Trail, 25/1 Offshore Account , 25/1 Cornish Sett , 25/1 Brooklyn Brownie , 33/1 Cloudy Lane, 33/1 Chelsea Harbour, Knowhere 33/1 Preists Leap , 33/1 Mon Mome , Silver Birch , Reveillez, 33/1 Golden Flight , 33/1 Battlecry, 33/1 Can’t Buy Time, 33/1 Maljimar , 50/1 Stan, 50/1 Eurotrek , Companero, 66/1 Ollie Magern, 66/1 Fleet Street, 66/1 Idle Talk , 66/1 Patsy Hall , 100/1 Fundamentalist , 100/1 Musica Bella , 100/1 Arteea , 100/1 Kelami, 100/1 Zabenz, 100/1 Iron Man , 500/1 Cerium


DARKNESS 20/1  Win Bet

IDLE TALK 66/1 Each Way Bet

L’AMI 20/1  Win Bet



To check live best bookmaker prices click below



This Grand National Preview is based on the following

* The 15 Grand Nationals since 1994
* The 64 Similar races at this time of year

The 64 similar races are used as a Guide to check statistics from. The Grand National is Unique and should be seen as such. Using the 64 similar races allows us to test theories out and test the strength of the statistics. If a Grand National statistic is confirmed and is also backed up in the 64 similar races then it can be seen as stronger and more relevant.

64 Similar Long Distance Chases

* Since 1993 there has been 68 Handicap Chases
* That’s 64 races between February and June since 1992
* That’s 64 races over distances of 3m 7f or more
* That’s 64 races in Class 2 or Higher Grade
* The 15 Grand National races are in this total
* So to are 16 Scottish and 15 Midlands National
* It includes 13 Eider Chase’s and other marathon races
* These 64 are the closest similar races to the Grand National

There are some strong angles in these races that are also mirrored in the Grand National. Some of the better trends in the National are also backed up with the results of these other 64 races as well and that should allow us more confidence in ruling horses out

E X P O S E D    H O R S E S

Horses with 21 or more National Hunt runs I call Exposed.
I use the 21 race cut off point as the mark at where a horse goes from being unexposed to being exposed. An exposed horse often struggles to do things that a lighter raced and potentially improving horse is able to do. There are some excellent trends with Exposed horses in the Grand National and All other 64 races at this time of year


It takes longer for an exposed horse to achieve a level of
form and fitness that you normally need to win a top class
long distance chase. In 64 similar races 20 winners were
exposed but those with under 5 runs that season were awful. They almost always fail to win. I love this statistic because if you look at exposed horses that had under 5 runs that season in the Grand National they had a 0-136 record and it wasn’t as if several came second. Only 1 of these managed to finish 2nd in the race. That was What’s Up Boys in 2002 a horse that won the Hennessy and placed in the Welsh National before finishing 5th in the Cheltenham Gold Cup that year. I’d strongly oppose these underraced horses

* Exposed horses with 1-2-3-4 runs this season want avoiding

* In the Grand National since 1992 they have a 0-136 record

* In 68 Handicaps they have a 3- 314 record

* Those with under 4 runs that season were just 1-188

* Those with under 5 runs that year struggled in many areas

* Those that were aged under 10 were 0-105

* Those that had Past Group 1 form were 0-135

* Those that were not 1st or 2nd last time were 0-241

These horses are unlikely winners of the Grand National
because they fail one or more of the above statistics.



* We know horses with 21 + runs need 5 runs that season
* Those less exposed get away with slightly less runs
* Horses with 13-20 runs can get away with fewer
* They do however need to have at least 3 runs this season
* In 64 races those that did not won Nothing
* They had a 0-134 record in all 68 races
* The Following Horses are Unlikely winners because of this

REVEILLEZ  and MALJIMAR fail this statistic

Time to take a quick Time out as we have said goodbye to a lot of strongly fancied horses here so lets makes sure that one has not slipped through the net. I don’t think they have.

I don’t mind losing MY WILL at this stage as two runs this
year and 11st 4lbs just look too much for any horse. We’ve
not seen a winner that had 1-2 runs this season when they
had 13 or more runs in any similar race so MY WILL with
32 runs and a tough weight to carry and just doesn’t appeal. CLOUDY LANE also fails my statistic as he fell at the first fence last time meaning he has just had 4 runs this season. That’s not ideal but more importantly for me is that it means that he hasn’t run really in 77 days and I am shortly going to explain that its a big problem. So to is stamina as he did not look like he stayed in last years race when beaten 33 lengths and that was when he was 20lbs well in last year. He lacks size and is now forced to carry 11st 10lbs and I am happy to ignore him as well. COMPLY OR DIE won this last year but he had 11lbs less weight to carry and not once has he looked the same horse this year and he does not appeal to me at all failing several angles and carrying a tough weight.

BLACK APALACHI has also been rejected at an early stage
but I have other problems with him anyway. He’s only won
on soft and heavy ground. He won a Graded Chase in Ireland
last time but horses that win non handicap Graded Chases
have a poor record in all 64 similar races and there were just 5 runners that day. We know horses in this race that came from a race with less than 8 runners are 0-103  in the Grand National. He fell at the second fence in last years race and the key issue for me is that when he did that last year he had 8lbs less weight yet still started at 66/1 and he looks short to me at 14/1 considering he has a weight only Red Rum has carried in decades and his general profile is unsafe. The last 11 winners all ran from ratings at least 6lbs lower than his and I just think there are too many doubts about him as a horse with 11st 5lbs.

BUTLER’S CABIN has been rejected. As an exposed horse
with 4 runs this season he fails an important trend but
other things bother me as well. He’s ran 23 times before
yet has had no form in Grade 1 class. That seems strange
to me and I think it’s a sign that he may lack the class. If you go back to the last 15 Nationals you will see that no exposed horses won without Grade 1 form in the past.
Horses that had 21 or more career runs yet lacked form
in a Grade 1 race were 0-100 and BUTLERS CABIN fails
that. You can also argue that a handicap mark of 147
seems very harsh as he is rated only 134 at the moment.
Last year he fell at Beechers second time round before
stamina became an issue. Not everyone believes he will
stay this trip and whilst its an open issue there is a doubt and the fact he is more exposed this year would worry me greatly especially when he’s had just 1 run since December because of the bad weather. I do respect him but he doesn’t have a winning profile for me.

HEAR THE ECHO has also been rejected as an exposed horse that has had just 4 runs this year. I can understand
why connections were angry that he was given a handicap
mark of 153 and that’s higher than all recent winners and
pushes him to 11st 5lbs. There are several other little issues with him as well that lead me to think its fine to eliminate early on. I don’t see it as an advantage that he comes from 2m 4f last time as no past winner did. Equally a small field Graded Chase has not provided a recent winner either. He hasn’t placed this year. He has already fallen in 3 of his 14 chase runs and a combination of factors trouble me about his chance and he isn’t for me and I don’t see him wining.

KILBEGGAN BLADE is a fancied runner rejected by my earlier statistic. He may be the one from my list of early negatives that could upset the analysis but I do have some
concerns. Like Butlers Cabin He is exposed and lacking
any Grade 1 form and we know horses in the National like
that were 0-100 and that suggests there is a Class doubt.
Its also interesting that he’s only 3 times ran in Graded
Class before. All 3 runs were in Long distance Graded
Chases like this one and he Pulled up all three times.
Could it be these races don’t suit him or is he a small
field horse. Either way he has never looked like winning
a race like this and I wonder whether the lack of Grade 1
form for an exposed horse is a Clue that he may not have
the class. His W W W 2 preparation isn’t really the norm
in the Grand National even though most were hurdle runs.
Go back 12 months and he was an outsider and out of the
handicap in the Scottish National and Pulled up and now
people are expecting him to win an English National a
year later when all he has done is run in once Chase in
a year and three hurdle runs. I don’t think he is the one
and whilst I may be wrong he doesn’t appeal to me.


In the Grand National the record of  English horses that
had an absence of 7 weeks or more is a worrying 0-116
and that implies that you do not want an English horse
coming back from a long absence. The same is true in
all similar long distance chases as well. I would not say
a horse with an absence of over 60 days couldn’t win but
its a significant problem to overcome and a 0-116 record
in this race shows this. These horses fail this.


STATE OF PLAY doesn’t do it for me. He’s now reached the
tipping point where he moves from unexposed to exposed
status. He has to do that with just two runs this season and no horse has done that anywhere close to as exposed as he is and throw in a weight above 11st to add to the problem and a longer absence than any past winner has had and it suddenly looks a difficult task and that’s before even going down the French Bred argument I am avoiding this year

Time to consider what Age is suitable for a Grand National
Bet. I agree with the trends that argue 6 and 7 year olds are too young. They  haven’t won in 70 years and very few even finish the course  so I am ignoring all horses that age. The main horse this affects is BIG FELLA THANKS. He has only had 6 chase starts and fell in one of those and that is very inexperience yet he still has to carry a bigger weight than most past winners and all this for a horse that was running in a Novice Chase for the first time just over 5 months ago. I doubt he has the profile to win. He lost all 4 of his early chase runs and he just looks weak and I couldn’t overlook an Age trend that’s lasted 70 years with this horse.  If you think about it he isn’t actually 7 for another 24 days and that’s not been picked up anywhere. CAN´T BUY TIME is also rejected as a 7 year old and he is another who is not actually 7 years old until April 29th. I don’t think a 6 or 7 year old will win.

Horses aged 13 can be opposed as well but the only horse
who fails that EUROTREK has been accounted for. I think
its worth looking at some of the Eight year olds in this race. Horses aged 8 haven’t the best recent record. They won with Party Politics in 1991 but since then they have a weak 1-79 record. I think this age group are slightly inferior to the horses aged 9 and 10. What strikes me about some of the 8 year olds this year is that some of them are not actually 8 for a while. The past 8 year old winners like Bindaree and Party Politics were all foaled early and had also reached their 8th Birthday by the time the race was run. In this race IRON MAN fails that and is only a very old seven year old and much as he probably won run he wont win if he does.

I would have to take out the Seasonal debutants and the
horses with one race this season. These types simply don’t
win this race or any similar long distant handicap chase
and It would amaze me if one won this race this year so
these horses are rejected.


You need to be against some of the impossible to fancy
rank outsiders who have little hope of winning a race like
this. It is not time effective to write long paragraphs about why 200/1 chances are statistically weak so I will just list some of the huge priced rags that need a miracle to win

FLEET STREET looks too inexperienced and complicated for a race like this and was after all a Novice last season. MUSICA BELLA and STAN make no appeal. There is no sign FUNDAMENTALIST or PATSY HALL can win this. Its almost impossible to see OLLIE MAGERN win. I find it hard to go with MON MOME. Although beaten miles in last years race he did have excuses and has a better profile this year but I don’t think he stays this far. All his long distance chase form in recent years has been disappointing. His run in this race last year suggests he isn’t good enough. His recent form suggests he isn’t at his best and whilst I am ignoring the fact he is a French Bred horses like him that were exposed lacking Grade 1 form do have a 0-100 record in this race suggesting they lack the necessary class and the 2008 renewal suggests he is not the winner. CHELSEA HARBOUR got round in 9th last year but was beaten 56 lengths and that was from a 10lbs lower mark. He has to try and win this carrying a bigger weight than any past winner. He also looks badly handicapped and hasn’t had a preparation similar to any recent winner and he has far too much to do.


SNOWY MORNING was a gallant 3rd in last years race beaten just over 5 lengths. He was well treated last year off 145 but this year he has to race off a mark of 156 and that means a weight of 11st 8lbs a near impossible task. Since 1992 horses with 11st 3lbs or more are 0-77 in this race so 11st 5lbs will take an immense effort and as his
preparation has been unorthodox and mirrored by none of the recent winners he wouldn’t be my choice.


BROOKLYN BROWNIE does appeal to a few people and there are worse bets at 33/1  but he does not look classy enough for me. Every recent winner of this race had ran in Graded Class before and he has not done that. He’s never been out of Listed class over hurdles or fences and that suggests a class gap he may struggle to make up. There has been 100 exposed horses in this race with no Grade 1 form and none of them won and that’s just considering Grade 1 form. This horse has no form in any Graded race. Look at the 60 horses that finished 1st 2nd 3rd and 4th in this race in the last 15 years. You will find only six horses that had no Graded Class form before. The only one that was exposed was Blue Charm in 1999 who was second in the 1999 Grand National. Its far from ideal. He has never ran a long distance chase before beyond 3m 2f and that’s not an ideal preparation and neither is winning a 4 runner race last time in 0-115 class. I would also be extremely worried that he has ran just once since November 2008. I don’t think he is good enough.


This horse has a strange profile and certainly not the
norm for a Grand National winner. He is exposed yet has to come from an 18f race and a small field chase and has won his last 3 races. If you take the 64 similar handicaps between February and April that include this race. If you look at exposed horses like IRISH INVADER you find that those that ran at only 2m 6f or less last time were just 1-75 and that’s a worry. That sole winner was Bobby Jo in the 1999 Grand National who ran in a 2m hurdle before winning it. Horses that were exposed and that came from Chases over 2m 6f or under had a 0-67 record and that has to be a concern. It would be more forgivable had he been an unexposed type but this is a horse with 28 career runs. He has been on the go since July and has ran 7 times since September last year more than all past winners and winning 3 races this year hasn’t been the norm in recent years. You can also fail him on the statistic that shows exposed horses in the National that had never ran in a Grade 1 race before had a 0-100 record. There is not much 3m handicap chase form in his profile and no form at longer  and because he is exposed I am not prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt in overcoming an unusual preparation and statistically he just is not there to consider as a selection.


He was bought by the Owner of Monty’s Pass the 2003
winner who wants to try and win the race  for the second
time. He bought the horse out of Sue Smith’s yard. I’d
worry that the horse only has 8 chase runs. That’s pretty
inexperienced especially as he has only completed in 6
Chase runs. You can argue he jumped badly the only time he had these fences in the Beecher Chase but I’m ignoring that as he hated the ground that day and he has jumped well enough to win a Midlands National. Eight Chase runs though is not an advantage in a race like this and he has not shown much at all this year although he has been running mainly over hurdles. He is one of those horses that I want to shortlist and I think he has a chance but his inexperience does worry me. So to does the lack of Graded Form in his profile. We know very few horses that were placed in this race had never run in Graded Form before.

I see the Grand National winner coming from 5 Horses



If you ignore the fact that SOUTHERN VIC has fallen on his only run at Aintree you can give him more than an outside chance of proving Ruby Walsh wrong. He would be in the top 2 or 3 profiles in the race. He has a reasonably similar profile to the 2002 and the 1997 winners much as he’s older and not identical in profile. His sire won the race last year. You would be happier on softer ground but I don’t see him completely out of this on good ground. Friendless in the betting since rejected by Ruby Walsh he’s now backable at 33/1 and that’s a big price. SOUTHERN VIC has a better chance than that. He is “shortlistable” and worth considering for a saver in the race.


RAMBLING MINSTER has a reasonably similar profile to the 1998 winner Earth Summit much as he is older and doesn’t fit the Earth Summit profile like a Glove. Statistically he does not sail through the requirements to win this race with flying colours. We know exposed horses that have no Grade 1 form in the race are 0-100 and he fails that. He has won twice in a row which hasn’t been the norm in past years and he will have to raise his game again to win this. That said I think he has a big chance and Brings Guaranteed Stamina to the races and that’s something I need. RAMBLING MINSTER is in the Top 4 profiles in the race and will go well and could win and very nearly made my shortlist


DARKNESS 20/1  Win Bet

IDLE TALK 50/1 Each Way Bet

L’AMI 25/1  Win Bet

L’AMI 25/1

L’AMI has had two chances to win this race but he shouldn’t be judged harshly on that. He fell early in 2008 but that was a one off and he is a proven safe jumper. He was well beaten in the 2007 race but he had just had a hard race in Kauto Star’s first Gold Cup and don’t forget he had 11st 8lbs that year a weight that hasn’t been carried for decades. He is a French Bred and many people say French Breds don’t win this race. I don’t see that as a good trend anymore. Since 2000 there were 3 French Breds that were runner up in the race and a further two were 3rd and that’s a stat waiting to be busted in my view. L’AMI has won on soft ground at Cheltenham over 4 miles and carrying a big weight so its far from sensible to assume he cant stay this with a very good Racing weight. Its no wonder McCoy waited for a long time to prefer Butlers Cabin. I think he has that wrong and I bet it was a marginal decision. I do
like his profile. He was 2nd in the Cross Country at Cheltenham just as Silver Birch was in 2007 before winning this and running his profile in the last 15 Nationals has produced 5 winners.

* Exposed horses with 5-6 runs this season
* Having ran within 7 weeks
* Starting under 50/1
* Having had Past Grade 1 form before
* Carrying under 11st weight
* Since 1996 5 winners had that profile
* L’AMI has a great chance to win this

DARKNESS and IDLE TALK were both placed in the 2006 Sun Alliance Chase and the similarities don’t end there. They both come from the Strong Gale line and although many see that as a concern with limited Stamina I am far from sure that’s right. Many Strong Gales stay very well. You can point to GVA Ireland winning a Midlands Grand National in 2006 on Heavy Ground over an extended 4m 1f and with 11st 5lbs on his back and he was a “Strong Gale”. So to was Mini Sensation who won over 4 miles on Soft Ground and won a Welsh National on Heavy ground. How about Shotgun Willy who has a second in the Scottish National and won a Red Square Vodka over 3m 5f. Plenty of these horses stay well and I hope this pair do as well as they are the outstanding candidates for me and big prices.


This horse should not be 50/1 . Back in 2006 IDLE TALK
was 2nd in the Sun Alliance won by Star De Mohaison.
Interesting that in 3rd place that day was DARKNESS a
horse I also feel has a big chance. This horse’s jumping
went to pieces back in 2007 when he fell in this race and
the two runs before that and in the Scottish National. He
was too inexperienced to have a chance in the 2007 race.
Since 2008 the horse has ran in 8 more Chases and has
not fallen since and he has had Yogi Breisner helping
him jump and concentrate. He has jumped well since then and looks accomplished and He managed to jump round without a problem in this race last year.  He was 14th in this race last year. He was going sweetly in the first half dozen before he felt the pinch and eased home in his own time. He may not have stayed. That could be his biggest problem but that’s far from Proven and I’d also argue he was out of form at the time – had more weight than this year and had a much busier season taking in some big races. Trevor Hemmings his owner loves this race and is on record saying that they left the Grand National behind in 2008 after a hard race at the Cheltenham Festival as this is a horse that doesn’t want a lot of racing. This year He is Fresher and ran well in the Grimthorpe Chase last time out. He has a lot of class for a lightweight. He  hasn’t been trained to show his best this year until today.  The only trend he fails today is my opening one showing that exposed horses need 5 or more runs that season. IDLE TALK  does fail that with him having just 4 runs this year but I am prepared to overlook it as he is 50/1 and a Class horse with a Lightweight. I think there are several winners similar to IDLE TALK we can draw comfort from. In 2004 Amberleigh House won this race when exposed. He had Past Graded form. He came here beaten 27 lengths into 5th in the Grimthorpe Chase before the National and he won having 5 runs that season and
10st 10lbs. IDLE TALK comes from the Grimthorpe Chase as well and achieved more in  that race.  He has 5lbs less weight than Amberleigh House did in2004. Whilst IDLE TALK has just 4 runs this season and Amberleigh House had 5 runs it is also relevant that IDLE TALK is 2 years younger and as a 10 year old is a much better age. There has been several low weight exposed horses with Graded Class that have won this race like Bindaree (2002). I would like him
to show he can stay and that he’s a Born again Chaser
that’s thrown in off a career low mark. That may be a
bit of wishful thinking but at 50/1 and 66/1 I think it
is a brilliant risk to find out.

D  A  R  K N  E  S   S


* Not the best Jumper
* Will he handle a big field ?
* Has he enough Stamina ?

I felt he had a superb profile but my biggest worry was
his jumping especially in a big field and my next concern
stamina. First of all if you look at the last 15 renewals and horses that had his profile its very interesting

* Horses with 13-20 career starts
* Horses that came from a Class 2 Handicap
* Horses that ran 32-49 days ago
* There were only 5 National horses with that profile
* They finished W W W 6
* Comply or Die won in 2008 with the same profile
* Silver Birch won in 2007 with the same profile
* Red Marauder won in 2001 with the same profile

DARKNESS comes out very well on those simple stats. He is a horse with a serious chance. Whilst we are discussing
his positives I will stay there. DARKNESS is now rated 151
yet is allowed to run in this race off a mark of 143 so is well handicapped and officially 8lbs well in. In terms of ability DARKNESS is easily good enough to win a National off this mark having won a Feltham and placed in a Sun Alliance. This was a serious Novice Chaser two years ago. He has a lot of class. Injured in 2006 Normally I’d be worried that he has had just 3 runs in 3 seasons but as he is not unexposed that does not worry me. You only have to go back to Comply Or Die who won last years race having had just 4 runs in the previous 2 years when unexposed and he was placed in a Sun Alliance as DARKNESS was as well. This horse has a serious chance. He missed Cheltenham this year which is probably an advantage. He could easily win this. Looking at some of the Negatives. Sometimes his jumping is a bit shaky and he wouldn’t look the most likely to get round and I accept that and know its a risk. Some people point to the fact that He has a PU PU record in both long distance handicap chases He has ran in before but that doesn’t worry me. He had any number of excuses for those races. He was injured in the Scottish Grand National in 2006 and trying to win a Welsh National this year with 1 run in over 2 years was a near impossible task. It doesn’t worry me at all but I feel you can argue that he is not proven in a big field and there is a lot of small field races in his form. It could be an issue and it is a
worry. You can argue that he isn’t a certain stayer and there are potential cracks in his breeding and that’s also a doubt. In conclusion a brilliant profile – doubts about jumping – big fields and his stamina but those concerns are factored into the price and I think if he stays upright he will win.



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Posted under Major Horse Races

Grand National

Below is my Grand National Analysis from last year.

Hedgehunter did not do the business unfortunately however the 25/1 advised was great value compared to the 10 /1 starting price on the day.

Many of my clients traded back on betfair for a risk free bet to nothing.


5/1 Cloudy Lane – 9/1 Slim Pickings – 10/1 Comply Or Die – 12/1 Bewleys Berry – 12/1 Simon – 14/1 Chelsea Harbour – 16/1 Butlers Cabin  20/1 King Johns Castle – 20/1 Mckelvey – 22/1 Mr Pointment – 22/1 Point Barrow – 25/1 D’argent  – 25/1 Dun Doire – 25/1 Hedgehunter  25/1 Mon Mome – 25/1 Philson Run – 25/1 Snowy Morning -33/1 Lami – 33/1 Turko – 40/1 Black Apalachi – 40/1 Joaaci – 40/1 Kelami  50/1 Backbeat – 50/1 Baily Breeze – 50/1 Idle Talk – 50/1 Knowhere – 50/1 Vodka Bleu – 66/1 Fundamentalist – 66/1 Madison Du Berlais 66/1 Naunton Brook – 66/1 Opera Mundi – 100/1 Bob Hall  -100/1 Cornish Sett – 100/1 Hi Cloy- 100/1 Iron Man – 100/1 Milan Deux Mille   100/1 No Full – 100/1Tumbling Dice -150/1 Nadover – 500/1 Contraband

Statistics are no substitute for Judgement. They can help a great deal but it’s the Judgement that counts and the ability to define and interpret any statistics that is important and that’s what I hope to do with this year’s Grand National. As ever there is an overdose of trends and statistics that can be found anywhere and everywhere. Not many of them make any real sense or work as they should do. I have my own Unique set of trends this year that I feel will Unlock the winner. I intend to support and follow the statistics that make sense and that are undeniable. I intend to ignore the statistics that are simply wrong – misleading or misunderstood but I also want to highlight the real issues in the Grand National that are not in the Public Domain.

The Main point of trends and statistics is to Narrow the Field down as much as possible without missing the winner. There are some trends that are well known that do make sense and that cannot be ignored and I will start with these. It is an inescapabable conclusion that you do not want a 6 or 7 year old. There has not been one for 68 years and it’s pretty clear that it’s highly unlikely to be different this year.  In the last 16 years of the National only one horse aged 6 or 7 has even managed to finish the course. I have to ignore the slim claims of the 6 year olds TURKO , OPERA MUNDI and MILAN DEUX MILLE and the 7 year olds MADISON DU BERLAIS – IRON MAN – NO FULL ,  BOB HALL – NADOVER and IN THE HIGH GRASS. The field is now down to 31 runners.


I take the view that before you apply trends in this race you have to separate the English Horses from the Irish horses. That’s something nobody else does but it makes perfect sense to do that if you think about it. The English horses have completely different seasons on different tracks and the Racing Calendar is geared to so types of races that you do not see in Ireland and many big races in England and Ireland are at different times of year and suit different types of horses. Training methods are different. The weather and ground is often different and whilst some Irish horses often race in England and vice versa you cannot escape the conclusion that the Irish horses get to Aintree having had a very different season and a separate type of preparation. As to which country holds the upper hand it’s been Ireland recently as they have won the last 3 runnings of the race and 4 of the last 5 runnings. I want to fully test all the English runners in this race and when I am satisfied that I have the very best English runners I will then consider them against their Irish opponents. I am looking at

* The English trained horses that ran in the Grand National since 1994

* The English trained horses that ran in 46 similar races run between January and June since 1998

* There has been 46 handicaps between 3m 7f and 4m 4f in Class 2 and higher during that time


Having complied detailed statistics on horse racing every day for years much has been learnt along the way. What I have learnt is that when statistics Fail – or at least when the interpretation of them fails it is far more likely to have been done by a lighter raced and unexposed horse than an exposed one. Horses grow in strength and maturity but there comes a peak in their development when the improvement usually stops or declines and the handicapper catches up with them.  Horses that have yet to reach that point can do things that exposed horses cannot do. If a horse does something that’s never been done before it’s far more likely that the horse will have been unexposed and lighter raced than over exposed and lacking any great improvement. You have to put a Numerical value on how exposed is exposed before you can apply statistics about these types. It doesn’t matter what that number is. The higher the number of races a horse has had the less capable it will be of doing things other horses cannot do and that’s a really important point. Whether a horse has 5-10-15-20-25-30 runs before is all irrelevant until you compare that horse with others that have the similar level of exposure. For purposes of this piece of Analysis I am looking hard at the runners that are trained in England that have had over 20 career National Hunt Starts. Any horse that has over 20 National Hunt Career starts I intend to refer to as “Exposed”. Those horses with fewer National Hunt starts I will refer to as “Unexposed”.


What strikes me as significant is how some English horses that look underraced and that have light seasons have appalling records in both this race and all similar races at this time of year. I don’t have a problem with an unexposed horse being lightly raced. It’s the exposed types that have over 20 national hunt races that are the problem and that fail.  MIINNEHOMA won in 1994 with just 2 runs that season but he was not exposed. There has not been an English exposed horse with a National with under  5 races that season and there has been well over a Hundred that tried and failed. That’s a Damming trend that shows that the only horses that can overcome a light season and lack of warm up runs are the lightly raced and progressive types. The exposed horses that have no progression and that have shown all their hand to the handicapper have failed miserably to win this race. Several were beaten favourites. Only last year we had 2 horses that started favourite that had under 4 runs that year. JOES EDGE and MONKERHOSTIN were both heavily backed into joint favouritism and both ran badly. Both were clearly over exposed and underraced.  Exposed horses win this race. Underraced horses can win this as well but combine an Exposed Horse with an Underraced one that had under 4 runs this season and you have miserable results. It is not just the National that these horses fail in. Look at the 46 other races I mentioned at the top of the piece.

* There has been 46 handicaps between 3m 7f and 4m 4f in Class 2 and higher between January and June since 1998
* Exposed English Horses (21 + National Hunt starts) that had Under 5 runs that season had a 1-259 record

I looked at all 46 similar races to this between January and June. These were all high class handicap chases over marathon distances. That tells me I have to avoid exposed horses that have had over 20 career starts when they have had very light preparations. In these 46 races English horses that can be said to be exposed with 21 or more previous races had a miserable 1-259 record when they had under 5 runs that season. The only horses that managed it was 2004 Scottish National winner Grey Abbey. In this race I would both confidently and automatically rule out Exposed English horses that have had a very light preparation as I consider them to be both underraced and ill-prepared. I List these Horses now and they include some fancied runners MADISON DU BERLAIS – CONTRABAND – CORNISH SETT all fail this statistic and are easy to oppose any way at huge prices but so to do some of the fancied horses.  D’ARGENT appeals to quite a few people around 40/1 but he fails my statistic with 26 career runs and just 4 runs this season where he only finished 3 of these races.  JOES EDGE started favourite last year but he has a horrible profile this year. Over exposed and with 2 runs this year he looks easy to discount. He has only completed in one run this season. I feel that MON MOME has been too lightly raced this year. Only finishing 2 of his 3 races he is not for me. Now we have two fancied horses that fail my main statistic in this race. Both MCKELVEY and SIMON also look the wrong types on this trend. MCKELVEY was second last year and ran really well but he was unexposed last year and had considerably more prep runs and 10lbs less weight and I don’t fancy him at all this year. SIMON also fails my statistic and he is harder to reject. I backed him ante post last year and selected him to win the race. SIMON fell when going really well 6 fences from home. He came into 2007 on a roll after two impressive wins. This year the main differences are that he carries 10lbs more weight this year. That’s quite a lot and you would have to satisfy yourself that he would have won last year to think he can carry 11st 7lbs this year especially for a horse that is not overbig. He had 5 runs last year in his preparation. He had ran 134 furlongs in his prep runs last year but this year he has had under 100 furlongs of racing in just 4 runs which included a race he did not complete. I thought long and hard about forgiving him and shortlisting him the combination of extra weight and an inferior preparation has left me thinking his chance came and went last year.


I said earlier how I am happy to consider horses with few runs this year as long as they are unexposed and that have under 20 career starts. What I don’t want to do is bet English horses aged 11 or more that have under 5 runs that season. I can’t have these horses regardless of how exposed they are. This is an age that really struggle to win long distance handicap chases at this time of year without several prep races. Since 1998 there has been 46 handicaps between 3m 7f and 4m 4f in Class 2 and higher between January and June. Horses aged 11 or more that had under 5 races that season had a 0-138 record.  It takes longer for older horses to get to a point where they have achieved full fitness and this is not a race for the Unfit. I don’t want to ignore that 0-138 record as it’s covering the 46 most similar races to this and 52 of those horses were in this race and none came second. This is why I feel the likes of 12 year old PHILSON RUN and 11 year old OSSMOSES are unlikely winners because of poor preparations. D’ARGENT also fails that with 4 runs this season as does BACKBEAT and JOES EDGE.


I very much doubt you will see an English horse defy an absence of 2 Months or more to win this race. Since 1993 there were 105 horses trained in England in this race that had been absent from the track 7 weeks or more and None of the 105 won. It goes deeper than that. I looked at 46 handicaps between 3m 7f and 4m 4f in Class 2 and higher between January and June. Only 1 managed to win. That was Gingembre who won the 2001 Scottish National with a 89 day absence and he went and won the following years Hennessy. The only winner with more than 2 months absence – I have to oppose these horses –  MADISON DU BERLAIS –  OPERA MUNDI –  JOAACI –  CORNISH SETT –  BACKBEAT


What you find in these Long Distance Handicap Chases is that it’s very tough for a horse to take a radical step up in distance. It is not so hard for lighter raced horses but the exposed horses that try it have really struggled. Horses that have got to take the radical step up in trip between 2m 6f or less and 4m 4f or more have real Problems. That’s a 14 furlong hike in trip. Its almost 2 Miles and exposed horses do not seem to cope with it. There has been 38 that tried to do this in the Grand National and all 38 horses lost and in the last few years this has included 2 beaten favourites. It is not just the Grand National. I looked at all 46 similar races I have mentioned before. None of the 46winners managed such a radical step up in trip when so exposed and I have to oppose these types.  I also want to oppose horses that were exposed that ran over 3m 7f and further. You want a horse that finds some improved form and there is less chance of that when exposed and already running at similar extreme trips. These types don’t seem to have the speed or pace to cope with the better class horses that are running at slightly shorter trips. Exposed horses that come from races of 3m 7f or longer haven’t won the National in its recent history. What you also find is that in the 46 similar races like this in the first half of the year well over 100 horses tried to win a race under these circumstances and only one managed it and he was a high class horse in devastating form at the time. I am more than happy to rule out exposed horses that either a) Step up from 22f or less or b) Ran at 3m 7f or more last time.


It isn’t that hard to run in Grade 1 races. You have chances in Bumpers – over hurdles – through the Novice Chase ranks and when progressing into Graded Chases. I think you are far better off with a horse that has ran in Grade 1 chases but when a horse is exposed and has not yet done that I would be quite worried.  Don’t forget these horses are generally past their prime and have had over 20 career starts. If they have not progressed by that time into a Grade 1 race then I suspect they will lack the class to win a Grand National. We are not asking these exposed horses to have won a Grade 1 race – merely to have run in one.  Exposed horses that have never ran in Grade 1 class before have a 0-93 record in this race. That’s 0-93 record is a hint that these runners will lack the class and I oppose them



Surely the rags IDLE TALK – KNOWWHERE and ARDAGHEY if running will lose for lack of class. These horses are in the 100/1 and over category and it would be a rare sight to see any win. I also want to oppose BUTLERS CABIN and MR POINTMENT. I am uncomfortable about the fact both have 3 runs this season when we know 4-6 runs scores significantly better.  BUTLERS CABIN is an 8 year old and there has been only 1 winning 8 year old that won a long distance Handicap Chase at this time of year with under 4 runs that season. That sole winner (Kendal Cavalier) back in 1998 at Cheltenham was coming through the Novice ranks. None like BUTLERS CABIN have been through the handicapping ranks when so underraced that season.  MR POINTMENT is a 9 year old and has a lot of weight with 11st 11lbs for a horse with only 6 chase runs and that’s his biggest flaw. He has also only had 3 runs that season. If you look at horses aged 8 or 9 since 1998 in all similar handicap chases none of the ones that had as few as 3 runs that season managed to win without coming 1st 2nd or 3rd on their latest start. All 74 lost. No horse aged 8 or 9 came into a long distance handicap chase and won it when lightly raced on the back of poor runs and both BUTLERS CABIN and MR POINTMENT have that against them. None also carried a high weight and it’s quite a very big weight he carries with 11st 11lbs. He really looks to have been harshly treated and any forgiveness I had in his handicap mark ended when seeing how badly he ran last time and how few runs he has had this season. Both MR POINTMENT and BUTLERS CABIN also come from handicaps with less than 8 runners in them and all 96 horses  that did that Lost.


This horse was leading in last year’s race when falling at Beechers on the second circuit. What I don’t like about him this year is that he had 7lbs less weight last year and a far better preparation. He has only run twice this year and that is a serious worry. MIINEHOMA won with just two runs but it should not be forgotten than he came from the Cheltenham Gold Cup and not through the handicapping system. I looked at every long distance handicap chase run in the first 6 months of the year and very few winners won with under 3 runs that season. None of these had a 7 week break that he also has to overcome. None of these ran as badly as he has on his latest start. BEWLEYS BERRY is technically an English horse that hasn’t ran in 7 weeks and very few English National winners defied that sort of absence and none with so few warm up races. I just do not see a case for a horse with only 2 runs this year and he is rejected



At this stage I feel the only ENGLISH Horses that have the profiles to win this race are the market leaders CLOUDY LANE and COMPLY OR DIE and I will discuss this pair shortly. I want to turn my attention to the IRISH and FRENCH horses in the attempt to produce a shortlist that we can work from to produce the winner.  I certainly don’t see the French Bred horses KELAMI or L’AMI staying well enough to win. The well known “French Breds have not won this race since 1909” is a fairly good statistic but of course it should be remembered that CLAN ROYAL placed in 2 recent Nationals and he was a French Bred horse. I still don’t see this pair winning and neither have had a happy time of things in this race before.  I can’t see Irish horses BAILEY BREEZE or IN THE HIGH GRASS should he run as being good enough. I don’t want BLACK APALACHI as I don’t see him as good enough.  He wouldn’t have been allowed anywhere near the race last year with his rating and he has not won since. SNOWY MORNING is very well treated in this race but you have to wonder about how badly he jumped last time.  He did not jump very well before that at Leopardstown either and he fell in the Hennessy before that. I worry about the big field for him.  I just feel they will be so cautious to get him into a Rhythm and jumping well that he may be over protected in the race and have lots of ground to make up and in that position one mistake could be fatal. He doesn’t look a good enough jumper yet to win.  DUN DOIRE is not a Grand National horse in my view and certainly not on this ground. He couldn’t cope with the race last year and he had more suitable ground last year and a better preparation. I don’t feel POINT BARROW is good enough at least not on the ground. He fell at the first last year but I can forgive him that but he was beaten off level weights by a 102 rated horse last time. I know that’s slightly misleading as the horse that beat him is now rated a lot higher and he probably was not there to win last time out but every time I look at him despite the fact that he passes almost all well known trends in the race I just don’t see him being good enough. KING JOHNS CASTLE does not look a proven stayer to me and when you consider he has yet to win at 3 miles or more as every past winner had the percentage call has to be to oppose him.

CHELSEA HARBOUR has two problems for me. One is that all his form is on soft and heavy ground and it looks like being a lot quicker than that.  The other thing I don’t like about him is that he is an exposed horse that steps up almost 2 miles in trip and that is not an easy thing to do. No English horses have done that but a couple of Irish horses have. BOBBY JO won the National stepping up in trip as an exposed horse but he was older and prepped over hurdles not fences and he had 16lbs less weight than CHELSEA HARBOUR and had won a Irish National. CHELSEA HARBOUR was a long way back when he ran in the Irish National and no Irish winner was an 8 year old in recent years and no 8 year old has won with his weight.  Back in 2003 MONTYS PASS also prepped at shorter and was also exposed but again he was older and had far less weight and he also prepped over hurdles. He also had Aintree form.  I just think a combination of several factors will leave him short.

CLOUDY LANE is rated 161 over fences but is allowed to run here from 141 and that makes him 20lbs well in and he has to be favourite. He is not without some cause for concern. The first has to be his price. He is Top price 6/1 and that’s asking a Lot of a horse with stamina doubts. I do not know what chance he has of staying 4m 4f. I think it’s a very tough one to call and better judges of such things than I remain undecided.  I don’t like the fact that he is not the biggest of horses. May not stop him but given the choice I would rather have a horse with more size about him. Whatever statistical bombs you throw at him you have to bear in mind the 20lbs in hand he has at the weights. CLOUDY LANE does fail some statistics but all horses will fail some statistics if you keep throwing stats at a horse. As an example there are a couple of trends doing the rounds that can be argued against. Some say the best record clearly comes from horses that won no more than 1 of their previous 6 races and having three consecutive wins as CLOUDY LANE offers hasn’t been the norm for National winners. That said LORD GYLLENE came here with a W W W 2 profile and that is not dissimilar and like CLOUDY LANE he ran in Novice races in his previous season which is another thing you really want to avoid. LORD GYLLENE’s win does allow you to look at CLOUDY LANE with more forgiving eyes but unlike LORD GYLLENE you can argue that CLOUDY LANE has no Grade 1 or 2 form – he also comes from a small field handicap (all 96 that did that lost) and perhaps more importantly he has flopped on both times he has ran in marathon trip handicap chases before. Throw in the fact all 42 English horses that won a handicap chase last time out lost in the last few years you can start to see some potential cracks in his armour. These Cracks and his low price and stamina doubts leave him wanting to respect him but not select him

SLIM PICKINGS was 3rd in last year’s race. Some say he is not a proven stayer but I watched the Video and saw him running on again at the death and I am in no doubt he stays. I think you can look at this horse from both a Positive and Negative Perspective. Starting with the Negative Perspective first. He has 9lbs more weight than he had last year which won’t be easy even if weight matters less this year which certainly looks to be the case.  I Also don’t like the fact that as he slipped up over hurdles in January he has only completed one full race since December 8th. That’s just 1 completed run in 119 days and that’s a big worry for a horse that is exposed.  I also worry about the fact he is exposed now and has to come from a 21f race (similar profile to Chelsea Harbour) and that’s something no English horse has done. However on the positive side he nearly won last year. Led until very late. That was a strong performance considering his trainer only had him for 2 runs before Aintree as he upgraded stables so he wasn’t able to be given the National Preparation that his current trainer may have given him. You can also argue that his 5th in the Racing Post Plate at Cheltenham was not the best preparation either. Overall I can see where the improvement can be made to help him win this year but the negatives against him Sap my confidence. He is exposed and is being asked to do something quite hard and that’s when he has had very little racing this year. That stops him being my selection.

COMPLY OR DIE has a sensible weight and is 11lbs well in. His win in the Eider Chase pushed his handicap mark up to 150 but he is allowed to race here from 139. Carrying Topweight in the Eider Chase and winning easily was an excellent run and if that has not left its mark then he has a serious chance. The Eider chase runners are 0-11 coming into this race but that can be ignored and Superior Finish was 3rd in this race (1996) coming from the same race and COMPLY OR DIE performed far better than he did in that race. I love the fact he isn’t over exposed and was a Grade 1 horse as a Novice. He has proved his stamina and if he doesn’t go backwards after Newcastle he has a serious chance. That said there are some question marks that do worry me. The fact he comes from a 4m + race doesn’t sit too comfortably.  There has been the possibility of a sea change since 2001 against horses that ran over 4m or more last time out. Between JANUARY and JUNE in the last 7 years there has been 29 handicaps between 3m7f and 4m 4f in Class 2 and higher.
Horses that came from 4 mile + races had a 0-84 record. There were winner’s pre 2001 but 0-84 since then is a concern considering 7 were beaten favourites. Yes COMPLY OR DIE was impressive last time but is it really a good preparation to carry 11st 12lbs and Topweight at Newcastle over 4m 1f on soft ground. Since 2001 no horse has overcome that and won a similar race. No horse has done that in this race either.  You also have the niggling doubt that all 42 English handicap chasers that came into the race on the back of a win lost. There is another trend that both COMPLY OR DIE and CLOUDY LANE both fail that troubles me as well. There are some Pretty Interesting Angles that illustrate just what kind of Grand National winner has come from England in the Past when running in Handicap Chases. If you take English horses in the Grand National that came from a handicap chase last time out – you find that when they were 1st 2nd 3rd 4th last time out as both COMPLY OR DIE and CLOUDY LANE were they had a very unimpressive 1-124 record. It was only done by Lord Gyllene in 1997. If you are English in this race and come from a Handicap you are clearly best if you are unplaced last time out. Incidentally SIMON – BUTLERS CABIN and D’ARGENT also have this stat against them. You can argue Lord Gyllene proves it can be done but those that have tried to win this race on the back of a 1-2-3-4 run in a handicap chase do have awful records. That worries me for COMPLY OR DIE and CLOUDY LANE much as both horses have significant ticks in several boxes.

Grand National Selection


This horse has Topweight and many will have read the statistic that says only the immortal Red Rum has successfully carried more than 11st 5lbs since the 1950’s. That’s true but it doesn’t worry me too much this year. The Bottom weight this year has 10st 7lbs and there are not horses on 10st as their usually are that are getting lumps of weight. This year just 19lbs separates the whole field. The weights this year are generally believed to favour high weights and that’s in HEDGEHUNTER’s favour. Don’t forget that in the last 10 years we have had 4 horses that came second with 11st 10lbs or more. In 2006 HEDGEHUNTER was second himself with 11st 12lbs. HEDGEHUNTER is one of the best Grand National Horses seen in recent years.  This horse now has his 5th experience of this race. He was not out of this back in 2004 as an 8 year old when he fell at the last when in 3rd place. He then came back to win the race in 2005 carrying a weight many said he could not carry that year.  As Champion he came to defend his crown the following year. He was runner up in 2006 and that was a brilliant run as he had 11st 12lbs and had just had a hard race 3 weeks earlier in the Cheltenham Gold Cup when second.  HEDGEHUNTER then had his first poor run in the race in 2007 when coming 9th. I forgive him that as it’s so clear he had a awful preparation. He was dogged by an injury problem that restricted him to 2 hurdle runs in a year. He was not at all prepared for the 2007 race. HEDGEHUNTER is back this year as a 12 year old. Age and Weight are a problem but don’t forget there has been very few horses in history with an Aintree pedigree as good as this horse.  This year he has had a far better preparation and ran an excellent warm up race last time at Fairyhouse.  I do not think this horse can be counted out. Would you rather bet the favourite CLOUDY LANE at the same price that HEDGEHUNTER is to be placed? Don’t forget with 4 places you can get beaten a long way in this race and still win. The age/weight may tell later on in the race but can you name a horse that’s more likely to get round and that knows every inch of the track.  You have a favourite that may not stay. Many horses underraced this year and with questionable preparations. Over half the field will be 100/1 chances anyway. The list of horses you can line up that look like they can beat HEDGEHUNTER is not all that long in my opinion. Around 28/1 and over on the exchanges and 11/2 for a place I think he is the bet here.

Consider the Market as well that concentrates Only on


Hedgehunter is 7/1 with W.Hill – Stan James – Bet Direct
Hedgehunter is 13/2 with Paddy Power
Hedgehunter is 6/1 with BoyleSports – Blue Sq

This is a race where ONLY the Irish horses count. If you finish 6th behind 5 English horses you win. English horses are eliminated for betting purposes and it’s all about the Irish. HEDGEHUNTER is a better price to win this race than the favourite of the Grand National is to win the overall race. Why can HEDGEHUNTER not win this at 7/1. He seems a big price to me. Don’t forget that you have 4 horses here in BAILEY BREEZE – HI CLOY – NO FULL – TUMBLING DICE that are 150/1 and over on Betfair and BLACK APPALACHI is also around the 80/1 price range and these horses are simply not strongly fancied.  The ground is against DUN DOIRE and I don’t see him having the class. POINT BARROW has achieved far less in this race and I think his chance has gone. He looks to be on the decline to me and he has never smelt fancied for this race. SNOWY MORNING has jumping problems that could easily stop him and Ruby Walsh could have ridden him but has chosen HEDGEHUNTER. Surely there is a serious worry that KING JOHNS CASTLE won’t stay.  SLIM PICKINGS and CHELSEA HARBOUR are our big dangers but I explained earlier that SLIM PICKINGS has not had the best of Preparations and CHELSEA HARBOUR has never tested the Aintree fences. You have 3 places available for each way bets. HEDGEHUNTER could finish a long way behind and still you may keep your stake money. HEDGEHUNTER at 7/1 in this exclusive field with many doubtful profiles looks the best bet I can see in this year’s Grand National.

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