I’m not normally one for following trends (just ask the wife) but it’s a policy that can pay dividends in the National, although it has to be admitted that last year’s winner Auroras Encore knocked most of them into a cocked hat.
However, it’s widely accepted that this is one of the best quality fields ever to line up for a Grand National with loads of horses with a touch of class in with a genuine chance, and we have to find some way of whittling the 40 runners down to a manageable number. Let’s take a few of the trends over the last decade in isolation.
Ten out of the last ten winners had won a chase over at last three miles – which gets rid of a few including Hunt Ball. Nine out of the last ten had at least one top three finish in the last three runs (Auroras Encore being the exception). That puts a line through Prince de Beauchene (who I otherwise fancied), plus Colbert Station among others.
Ten out of ten had started at least ten races over fences, ruling out the well backed Rocky Creek, plus Mountainous. We still have loads left so I’m going to make it really difficult for a horse to qualify – I’m going to add in that my selections need to have won at least once over three miles or more; have won a race worth at least £30,000; have run at least 10 times over chase fences; and need to have won at least once this season. And just to make it really difficult, I’m not going to back anything that’s fallen more than twice in its whole career. Surely nothing ticks all the boxes?
Actually three do – Paul Nicholls’ Tidal Bay (14-1), who needs to defy not only top weight, but history on age grounds as well; and two of Philip Hobbs’ mounts in Balthazar King (25-1) and Chance Du Roy (33-1). If I take out the need to have run before over the National fences, Monbeg Dude (14-1) and Lion Na Bernai (33-1) also come into it. My best advice though it this: don’t bet your mortgage on them! Last year the blindfold and pin approach would have done you much better. Good luck and enjoy the biggest betting event in the calendar...
Gareth’s Three Against The Field:
Tidal Bay (16-1), Chance Du Roy (40-1), Monbeg Dude (14-1)
Money Comes For Double Seven
There’s always one late springer in the market at the National (remember Sea Bass last year?) and this year it’s the Irish trained Double Seven, who has been backed from 66/1 on January 1st to as short as 12-1 in the last 48 hours, after it was announced that Tony McCoy will ride.
This has in turn led to Boylesports cutting the price about there being an Irish trained winner into 7/2. Another one for money has been The Rainbow Hunter. Kim Bailey’s charge was a 100/1 shot on January 1st but the best price you will get now is 33/1.