I've been as mad busy as ever so apologies for the lack of posts in the last few weeks - don't worry you haven't missed much !
There's just over a week to go now until the Grand National at Aintree. I'll be there as I usually am - it's always a great day out and hopefully I'll be able to find one or two winners.
It's been a while since Comply Or Die provided me with my last winning bet in the big race so with a bit of time on my hands today, for once, I thought I'd try and narrow down the possibilities for next week.
There are currently 74 horses still entered according to the Racing Post website – a maximum of 40 horses can take part.
Home Farm, Double Ross, Teaforthree and Merry King seem to be out of the race for various reasons so that leaves 70.
Despite the changing nature of the race with the easing of the fences and the fact most of the horses now run from their allotted handicap mark, many of the long term trends seem to still hold good and I’ll use these to eliminate as many horses from consideration as I can.
No horse older than 12 has won the race since 1923 so I’m putting a line through Tranquil Sea (13) and Oscar Time (14).
No 7 year old has won since 1940 which isn’t good news for Unioniste, Cause of Causes and Broadway Buffalo.
The record of 8 year olds isn’t great either with only three winners since 1973 so I’ll take out Many Clouds, Sam Winner, Shutthefrontdoor, Hadrian’s Approach, Ballycasey, Spring Heeled, Dolatulo, The Druids Nephew, Benvolio, Corrin Wood, Bob Ford, Owega Star, Goonyella, Sydney Paget, Standing Ovation and Tales of Milan.
Every winner since 1991 has had an official handicap rating of between 136 and 157.
I will eliminate all horses rated below 136 which takes out Mountainous, Alpha Victor, Mart Lane, Ikorodu Road, Rigadin De Beauchene, Harry The Viking, Any Currency, Ballyoliver, Glenquest, Lackamon, Rose Of The Moon, American Spin and Neptune Equester - although in fairness most of these will be too far down the order to make the final cut of 40 anyway.
Former Gold Cup winner Lord Windermere is rated 161 and will carry top weight of 11st 10lbs. Although four of the last six winners have carried 11 stone or more, Red Rum is the only horse since 1950 to have shouldered as much weight to victory as Lord Windermere is set to carry so I’m crossing him out.
Every winner since 1970 has won over at least 3 miles. Rebel Rebellion, Rubi Light, Baileys Concerto, Renard and Maggio all fail that test.
20 of the last 21 winners had between 3 and 7 chase wins before they won the big one, the exception being Neptune Collonges (11 wins).
Those that fail this statistic are Balthazar King (13 wins – the 148 day absence is also a negative), Saint Are (2 wins), Super Duty (1), Ely Brown (2), Gallant Oscar (2) and Vintage Star (2).
23 of the last 25 winners had at least two runs between January 1st and the National, the two exceptions (Comply Or Die and Don’t Push It) both had one run in the same year and both ran in the previous December.
Rocky Creek, Carlito Brigante, The Rainbow Hunter, Alvarado, Court By Surprise, River Choice, Royale Knight and Guess Again don’t fit this profile.
Last year’s winner Pineau De Re has shown very little in 4 runs over hurdles this season and is passed over. Notwithstanding that no horse since Red Rum has won back to back nationals, no winner since Bindaree in 2002 has ever won another race !
So that has whittled the 74 entries down to a much more manageable list of 15, hopefully the winner is among this lot -
First Lieutenant, Mon Parrain, Night In Milan, Al Co, Godsmejudge, Monbeg Dude, Across The Bay, Chance Du Roy, Gas Line Boy, Wyck Hill, Portrait King, Duke Of Lucca, Soll, Raz De Maree, The Package.
Back later on with some further thoughts on my short list.
If anyone has any comments, if you’ve spotted any glaring errors in my analysis or you’ve got your own ideas about this year’s race – please let me know.