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2020 Grand National: the trends and stats you need to know

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by , 17 March 2020 at 2:19 pm (131 Views)
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While it’s still three weeks away and the second scratching is yet to take place, following the excitement of Cheltenham Festival, the next big meeting is on the horizon and anticipation is building. We are of course talking about the Grand National. If you’re looking for a favourite, early Grand National 2020 odds are in the favour of two-time winner and history maker, Tiger Roll. But as history has dictated, it’s not always the favourite that wins the gruelling battle that is the National – and if you’re looking at having a little flutter, here are some of the trends and statistics you may wish to consider.

Age

They say that age is just a number, but that’s not entirely true when it comes to the Grand National. In the last 80 editions of the race, there has not been a winning horse under the age of eight years old, and at the other end of the spectrum, for the last 90+ years, there’s not been a winner older than 12 years old.

Bogskar was the last youngest winner of the National, winning the 1940 edition as a seven-year-old. While you have to go back as far as 1923 to when a horse older than 12 was successful – Sergeant Murphy was 13 years old. Between eight and 10 years old is the most common age for a winning horse and most recently, two-time winner Tiger Roll won his first National as an eight-year-old before winning again the following year – one of the many reasons why the odds are in his favour again this year.

Using this trend, you can rule out the following horses this year, who aren’t within this age bracket: Burrows Saint, Tout Est Permis, Dallas des Pictons, Lord du Mesnil, Dalko Moriviere, Dragon d'Estruval, The Hollow Ginge, Roaring Bull, Moonshine Bay.

Weight

Weight is a huge factor, as the Grand National is one of the most gruelling challenges a horse can face. The fences at Aintree are larger than ones found at other National Hunt courses, and that, combined with the distance of four miles and 514 yards make it a tough prospect for both horses and their jockeys. The weight handicap is capped at a maximum of 11st 10lb, but generally speaking, if a horse carries more weight than 11st 5lb, they will struggle.

Many Clouds bucked this trend in 2015, when he won the race with Leighton Aspell in the saddle at a weight of 11st 9lb. Last year, Tiger Roll won at 11st 5lb, and has been given the top weight this year.

12 of the last 20 winners have carried a weight of 10st 12lb or less and using this trend, the following horses have been allocated a higher weight and could well be discounted: Total Recall, Peregrine Run, Jett, Alpha des Obeaux, Beware The Bear, Top Ville Ben, Elegant Escape, Aso, Anibale Fly, Bristol de Mai, Tiger Roll.

Irish breeding success

Luck of the Irish is prevalent in the Grand National, with Irish-bred horses having the most success in recent years. 15 of the last 20 winners have been Irish-bred and the Emerald Isle is representing en masse again this year.

Looking at other nationalities, two of the last 20 winners have been British-bred and three have been French. In the history of the race, there have been only five French-bred winners, with the most recent coming in 2012 (Neptune Collonges). If you’re wanting to back a French horse this year, your best bet is Burrows Saint at 12/1, or Le Breuil at 16/1.

Aintree love an underdog

Whether you love betting or not, the Grand National is the one major sporting event each year that generates the most interest. With the weights issued well in advance and the field list cut several times before the main event, the market can keep changing at a rate of knots in the lead-up to the big race itself.

The fearsome fences of Aintree often throw up somewhat a curveball when it comes to picking a favourite. Naturally, those who have raced at Aintree before, whether it’s in the National, or one of the other races like the Topham Chase or Becher Chase, have fared better with that experience of the demanding course.

Interestingly, only four of the last 20 winners have won the race as either the outright favourite or joint-favourite – the most recent being Tiger Roll last year. The longest odds for a winner in that time were 100/1 for Mon Mome, while the shortest for a non-favourite were 10/1 ( Papillon, 2000; Tiger Roll, 2018 ).

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