Tips for Aintree Saturday 6th April 2019

The Grand National

Well it’s the big one today.  The Grand National goes off at 5.15 this afternoon and you can find our full preview of the National here.

It’s not all about the Grand National though.  There is a good quality card at Aintree today and we have some high quality racing to look forward to.

Great Each-Way Chance

We have a big fancy at a nice price in the first race of the day the Gaskells Handicap Hurdle at 1.45.  Poker Play is currently available at 8-1 with Hills and we think is the one to be on.  Sire Du Berlais for Gordon Elliott will be a popular favourite and will have plenty of backers.  Poker Play was a very impressive winner at Wincanton last month, and horses that run well in the run up to this meeting do well here. Up in weight, but still plenty of scope for progression and should go very well.

Betway Mersey Novices Hurdle

In the 2.35 we are sweet on the chances of One for Rosie 11/2.  A progressive novice that just got edged out in a Grade 3 at Sandown.  Beat Glen Forsa back in November by 5 lengths and looks the one to beat in this.

Doom Bar Maghull Novices Chase

Lalor 7/2 is a horse that likes it round Aintree. Pulled up at Cheltenham last time out, but the gelding is better than that performance and has previously won a Grade 2 bumper and a Grade 1 novice hurdle at this track. 

Ryanair Sayers Hurdle

The 3.40 sees a strong field featuring Gordon Elliot’s superstar Apples Jade.  Apples Jade disappointed at Cheltenham, along with a number of other fancied rivals.  This is not as tough and whilst a relatively short price at 6/4, should oblige.  If you are looking for an each-way price then winner of the Grade 3 Coral Cup, William Henry could be the one to side with at 9/1.

Betway Handicap Chase

Kildisart is our pick for this one at 11/2. Fourth in the JLT at Cheltenham and a winner on previous two chase starts.  First time at 3 miles over fences, but has shaped like the trip will suit.  

Saturday Selections

1.45 Aintree – Poker Play 8-1 E/W (NAP)

2.35 Aintree – One For Rosie 11-2

3.00 Aintree – Lalor 7-2

3.40 Aintree – Apples Jade 6/4

4.20 Aintree – Kildisart 6-1 

Grand National Preview and Tips

Grand National Runners and Riders

Tiger Roll: 9/2

Jockey: Davy Russell, Trainer: Gordon Elliott

Last year’s winner and without doubt a high class performer. Won the Country Chase at Cheltenham impressively by 22 lengths.  If Tiger Roll avoids trouble then you would expect a big run, but at odds of around are very short for Tiger Roll to become the first horse to win two Grand National’s in a row since 1974 and Red Rum.

Rathvinden: 8/1

Jockey: Ruby Walsh, Trainer: Willie Mullins

A proven stayer and many shrewd punters fancy for this year’s race. Had a nice warm up at Fairyhouse, beating Alpha Des Obaux and for many, represents in form Willie Mullins best hope in the race.

Vintage Clouds: 12/1

Jockey: Danny Cook, Trainer: Sue Smith

Finished second in the Ultima behind Beware the Bear at Cheltenham following a wind op and was third in the Scottish National last year.  Has chances.

Anibale Fly: 14/1

Jockey: Barry Geraghty, Trainer: A J Martin

Place 4th in last years National and came close to landing the Gold Cup at Cheltenham, being edged out by Al Boum Photo.  Carrying a lot of weight and 5lb heavier than last time, but likes it round these fences.  Possible place, but an unlikely winner with the weight to carry.

Lake View Lad: 14/1

Jockey: Henry Brooke, Trainer: Nick Alexander

A very consistent sort, who is rarely out of the placings.  The grey finished a length and a half behind Vintage Clouds in the Ultima and is taking on the Grand National fences for the first time.  Owner Trevor Hemmings has already won the National three times, and he has three saddling up this time, including the previously mentioned Vintage Clouds.

Rock The Kasbah: 16/1

Jockey: Richard Johnson, Trainer: Philip Hobbs

Meets the criteria of being a solid jumper and is the mount of the champion jockey Richard Johnson, who is looking for his first winner in the race.

Jury Duty: 16/1

Jockey: Robbie Power, Trainer: Gordon Elliott

A really likeable contender for Gordon Elliott at a nice price.  Robbie Power on board and Jury Duty has been lightly campaigned in the run up to this, albeit winning the last twice.  Last time out beat another of the runners here Mala Beach by 6 1/2 lengths and prior to that won over hurdles in the states.  Been nibbled at in the market in the run up to this race and could run a really big race.

Pleasant Company: 18/1

Jockey: Paul Townend, Trainer: Willie Mullins

Second behind Tiger Roll in the 2018 Grand National in a very tight finish.  We’ve not seen Pleasant Company in the same form this season, but will have been very well prepared by the Mullins yard for this.

Joe Farrell: 20/1

Jockey: Adam Wedge, Trainer: Rebecca Curtis

Winner of last year’s Scottish National narrowly edging out Ballyoptic and has to be respected here.  Only just made it in to the race and trainer Rebecca Curtis thinks the ten year old has a real chance.

“He ran really well at Newbury. He takes two runs to get fit and he was carrying a lot of weight that day, so I was really pleased with him.

“Obviously as a Scottish National winner, he’s proven over nearly the trip – one of his assets is he stays very well, and now all we need is a bit of luck.

“He’s pretty versatile with ground, but I suppose his best form has tended to be on nicer ground.

One For Arthur: 22/1

Jockey: Derek Fox, Trainer: Lucinda Russell

Another former winner of the race in 2017.  One for Arthur hasn’t been impressive since that win, but trainer Lucinda Russell is reportedly delighted with his progress at home.

Ramses De Teillee: 25/1

Jockey: David Noonan, Trainer: David Pipe

This is a horse that stays all day long and if they ground got a lot softer, this is one you would want to be on.  Runner up in last year’s Welsh Grand National and a solid performer.

Tea For Two: 25/1

Jockey: Lizzie Kelly, Trainer: Jane Williams

Won the Kauto Star Novices Chase in 2015.  Has solid Aintree form including a win over Cue Card back in 2017, but recnet form is not up to the same quality.  Unseated jockey Lizzie Kelly at Cheltenham in the Cross Country and hasn’t won a race since the afore-mentioned Aintree success.  Would need a return to the form of a couple of years ago to figure her, but not impossible.

Step Back: 25/1

Jockey: Nico de Boinville, Trainer: Mark Bradstock

An interesting contender who blew Rock the Kasbah away in the Bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown last term.  Not without chances and could run a big race for connections.

Dounikos: 28/1

Jockey: Jack Kennedy, Trainer: Gordon Elliott

Another Gigginstown Elliot combo. Impressive winner at Punchestown last time out and should certainly stay the trip. Jack Kennedy on board.

Walk In The Mill: 28/1

Jockey: James Best, Trainer: Robert Walford

The Becher Chase is a key pointer to the National and Walk in the Mill won that race back in December. Not as impressive over shorter distance since, but certainly not one to rule out easily.

Go Conquer: 40/1

Jockey: Sam Twiston-Davies, Trainer: Nigel Twiston-Davies

Six length win at Doncaster in January caught the eye, but unproven over this trip.  Nigel Twiston-Davies has won the National twice before and knows how to ready one for this.

Minella Rocco: 40/1

Jockey: Richie McLernon, Trainer: Jonjo O’Neill

None other than all-time legend Tony McCoy has been tipping this one.  A class horse and former Gold Cup runner up, but hasn’t been in that sort of form for a while.

General Principle: 40/1

Jockey: J J Slevin, Trainer: Gordon Elliott

One from the Mullins Gigginstown Stud combination and therefore respected.  Won the Irish National last year.

Noble Endeavour: 40/1

Jockey: Mark Enright, Trainer: Gordon Elliott

Noble Endeavour is also trained by Elliott and looks progressive.  Sixth in the Irish National last year.  Finished tenth in the Ultima at Cheltenham and would need to turn the tables on a few  rivals here, who finished in front of Noble Endeavour that day.

Up For Review:40/1

Jockey: Danny Mullins, Trainer: Willie Mullins

Eighth in the Ultima but was travelling well before making a mistake. Another of Mullins entries. Has been relatively lightly raced and has tended to do well over 3 miles plus, but unproven over a slog like this.

Livelovelaugh: 40/1

Jockey: David Mullins, Trainer: Willie Mullins

The nine year old hasn’t inspired confidence over longer distances and this must be one of Mullins’ weakest entries.

Ballyoptic: 40-1

Jockey: Tom Bellamy, Trainer: Nigel Twiston-Davies

Second in the Scottish National last year finishing a nose behind Joe Farrell. Not kicked on from that defeat and form since has been disappointing.

Vieux Lion Rouge: 50-1

Jockey: Tom Scudamore, Trainer: David Pipe

Former winner of the Becher Chase in 2016 and was ninth in last year’s National. Has plenty of experience at Aintree finshing 6th, 7th and 9th in earlier running’s of the National and could go well at a big price.

Bless The Wings: 50/1

Jockey: Robert Dunne, Trainer: Gordon Elliott

A seasoned campaigner who finished 3rd in the 2018 Grand National and has plenty of stamina.  However, no 14 year old has won the national in the last 150 years, so can be safely ruled out for win purposes.

Monbeg Notorious: 50/1

Jockey: Sean Bowen, Trainer: Gordon Elliott

Eight in the Irish National and sixth in the Leinster National and could be open to further improvement.   

Folsom Blue: 66/1

Jockey: L P Dempsey, Trainer: Gordon Elliott

Only wins have come on soft and heavy ground and it would be a real surprise if Folsom Blue has enough to trouble the rest.

Valtor: 66/1

Jockey: Daryl Jacob, Trainer: Nicky Henderson

Only seen twice on a British racetrack since coming over from France.  Won very well at Ascot in December but pulled up since at Cheltenham and is carrying a lot of weight here at 11 stone 6lbs, and it would take a mammoth effort to figure here.

Captain Redbeard: 66/1

Jockey: Sam Coltherd, Trainer: Stuart Coltherd

Will be very popular with fans of kid’s TV show Ben and Holly, but failed to get round last year, falling at the seventh.  Trainer Stuart Coltherd says the horse is not there to make up the numbers and fancies a good run.

“We’ve just schooled him at home and I’m quite confident he’s fit enough and, touch wood, his jumping’s good enough to get him round.

“He’s in good order and if you think back to Haydock in November he should have beaten Vintage Clouds, but two horses fell in front of him on two separate occasions. Other than that we’d have probably finished in front of Vintage Clouds, so his form’s good enough.

Regal Encore: 66/1

Jockey: Mark Walsh, Trainer: Anthony Honeyball

Quirky horse who has some big handicap wins, but can also be flaky. Finished 8th in the 2017 Grand National.

Ultragold: 66/1

Jockey: Tom O’Brien, Trainer: Colin Tizzard

Winner of the Topham Chase at Aintree last year, which can be a good pointer to the National.  Has strong course form with a 1st, 2nd and third in the last 3 outings here, but was pulled up in the Cross Country at Cheltenham, and is unproven over this far.

Singlefarmpayment: 66-1

Jockey: Paddy Brennan, Trainer: Tom George

Well held on form by a number of these and would be a major surprise if Singlefarmpayment figured here. 

Warriors Tale: 66/1

Jockey: Harry Cobden, Trainer: Paul Nicholls

Has recent experience of the National fences at Aintree, winning the Grand Sefton Chase in December. Didn’t get a clear run in last year’s race and was forced to pull-up, but that was on heavy ground.

Mala Beach: 80/1

Jockey: Jamie Codd, Trainer: Gordon Elliott

Finished 6 1/2 lengths behind Jury Duty at Down Royal in March, and nothing to suggest there will be a reversal in fortunes this time. Benefits from having top amateur jockey Jamie Codd on board.

Valseur Lido: 80/1

Jockey: Rachael Blackmore, Trainer: Henry De Bromhead

Out of sorts this season, but took part in last years renewal, finishing 8th after travelling well early on. Best recent effort a 16 1/2 length third to Rathvinden at Fairyhouse and would need to really turn things round to make an impression here.  Popular jockey on board.

Magic Of Light: 80/1

Jockey: Paddy Kennedy, Trainer: Jessica Harrington

Not the most trusted jumper in the field and that would be a concern for potential backers along with the fact that the horse is untried over anything approaching this trip.

A Toi Phil: 80-1

Jockey: Denis O’Regan, Trainer: Gordon Elliott

Unproven over the trip but has been pitched in to some quality fields and is clearly well thought of.  Last two runs have been over hurdles and finished well down the field in previous outing over fences.

Outlander: 100/1

Jockey: Keith Donoghue, Trainer: Richard Spencer

Finished 41 lengths behind Rathvinden at Fairyhouse in February, and no obvious reason why Outlander would be much closer here.

Just A Par: 100/1

Jockey: Aidan Coleman, Trainer: James Moffatt

Has run in three previous Grand National’s with finishes of 14th, 15th and Pulled Up.  Finished way down the field in the Becher Chase in December and may well get round, but you would literally have to have money to burn to back this one. 

Don Poli: 100/1

Jockey: Patrick Mullins, Trainer: Philip Kirby

Changed hands just a few days ago. No recent form to speak of finishing 35l behind Jury Duty last time out. Not won since 2015 and unlikely to reverse the trend here.

Blow By Blow: 100/1

Jockey: Andrew Ring, Trainer: Gordon Elliott

Not won over three miles or more and this looks very much like one of Gordon Elliott’s weaker entries in the race.  One to avoid.

Our Top Three to Back:

  1. Jury Duty
  2. Joe Farrell
  3. Vintage Clouds

If you fancy an outsider at a big price you could do worse than Monbeg Notorious, Captain Redbeard or Valseur Lido.

Good luck!

Tips for Aintree Friday 5th April

Thursday Tips

80-1 place

So Thursday’s racing brought us a very nicely priced 80/1 place, in the form of Coastal Tiep.  Returned at 50/1 SP.

Let’s see if we can pick out some other nicely priced runners for Friday.

Merseyrail Handicap Hurdle

The Merseyrail Handicap Hurdle at 1.45 brings the first opportunity of the day.  I’m expecting Brio Conti (6/1 Hills)to run a big race after finishing 4th in the Coral Cup at Cheltenham, and I wouldn’t put anyone off backing that one.  

Paul Nicholls has a strong hand in this one with Mont Des Avaloirs (10/1) another fancied runner.

The one I’m going to side with here is Strernubin, currently 16-1 with Hills.  Finished third in the same race at last years meeting, off the same mark, and finished a creditable 6th in the County Hurdle. Hills are also paying 7 places on this one.

Patiently Waiting

In the 3.25 I’m siding with Waiting Patiently (NAP) at 15/8.  A high quality affair, featuring Politilogue and Min amongst other, but I believe Waiting Patiently has the measure of both.  Has had a light campaign and the fresher legs may win out here.

Progressive Types

In the 4.05 I like the look of Peregrine Run. Peregrine Run can be backed at 11/1 at the time of writing with Hills and looks progressive.  Had a 5 month break before a recent pipe opener over hurdles and could run a big race.

Finally in the 4.40 we’ve got a number of progressive types and potential improvers including Downtown Getaway and Walk Away. 3 horses head the market Champ, Dallas Des Pictons and the unbeaten Emitom.  I’m going to swerve all three and side with Paul Nicholls unexposed Trevelyn’s Corn. Trevelyn’s Corn (14/1) was an impressive winner at Wincanton, and could upset some of the more fancied runners here.  

Friday Selections

3.25 Aintree – Waiting Patiently 15/8 (NAP)

1.45 Aintree – Sternrubin (E/W) 16-1

4.05 Aintree – Peregrine Run (E/W) 11/1

4.40 Aintree – Trevelyn’s Corn (E/W) 14/1

Aintree Tips for Grand National Meeting Thursday 4th April 2019

Thursday Tips

There is a cracking card for the first day of the 2019 Aintree Grand National meeting. We’ve got three grade 1 races to kick off the meeting, and a number of horses that under-performed at Cheltenham.  There are also some that didn’t make it to Cheltenham for one reason or another.

Thursday Nap

Le Bague Au Roi is one I had my eye on for Cheltenham, but ended up swerving the meeting.  Comes here fresh and will take all the beating in the Devonish Manifesto Novices Chase (1.45 Aintree).  Some other quality performers in this race, but I fancy the favourite strongly.  At the time of writing available at 13/8 with William Hill.

 

Each-Way Fancy

My other fancy for Thursday at a decent each-way price is The Inval.  Currently 10/1 with William Hill.  Theinval has some decent form over fences here, finishing 2nd in this race for the last two consecutive years. Hasn’t been seen since running at Wincanton in January, so comes here fresh.  A number of the other contenders here had tough runs at Cheltenham, and I anticipate a good run from Nicky Henderson’s charge here.

Outsiders Worth a Punt?

A couple of other interesting runners at a bigger prices are Greensalt and Coastal Tiep in the 4.05.  Greensalt was placed in the same race last year and appears to have been prepped for this.  At odds of 40/1 could be worth a small each-way dabble.  Coastal Tiep finished within 3 1/2 lengths of Ucello Conti at Navan in February, yet is ten times the price at 80-1 with Hills.  I wouldn’t take out a mortgage on either of these two, but you could get a decent run for a small outlay.

Selections:

1.45 Aintree – Bague Au Roi (Win)

4.05 Aintree – Greensalt & Coastal Tiep (E/W)

4.40 Aintree – Theinval (E/W) 

Previous Winners of the Grand National

There is a prestigious list of Grand National winners over the years. The list includes some household names like Red Rum and Aldaniti, and others who have faded into distant memory.  

Here is a list of all the winners since 1900, including trainers, jockeys and age:

YearHorseAgeJockeyTrainer
1900Ambush II6Algy AnthonyAlgy Anthony
1901Grudon11Arthur NightingallBernard Bletsoe
1902Shannon Lass7David ReadJames Hackett
1903Drumcree9Percy WoodlandSir Charles Nugent
1904Moifaa8Arthur BirchW. Hickey
1905Kirkland9Frank MasonE. Thomas
1906Ascetic's Silver9Mr Aubrey HastingsAubrey Hastings
1907Eremon7Alf NeweyTom Coulthwaite
1908Rubio10Henry BletsoeFred Withington
1909Lutteur III5Georges ParfrementHarry Escott
1910Jenkinstown9Robert ChadwickTom Coulthwaite
1911Glenside9Mr Jack AnthonyR. H. Collis
1912Jerry M9Ernie PiggottRobert Gore
1913Covertcoat7Percy WoodlandRobert Gore
1914Sunloch8Bill SmithTom Tyler
1915Ally Sloper6Mr Jack AnthonyAubrey Hastings
1916–18RACE NOT RUN
1919Poethlyn9Ernie PiggottHarry Escott
1920Troytown7Mr Jack AnthonyAlgy Anthony
1921Shaun Spadah10Fred ReesGeorge Poole
1922Music Hall9Lewis ReesOwen Anthony
1923Sergeant Murphy13Capt. Tuppy BennettGeorge Blackwell
1924Master Robert11Bob TrudgillAubrey Hastings
1925Double Chance9Maj. John WilsonFred Archer, Jr.
1926Jack Horner9William WatkinsonHarvey Leader
1927Sprig10Ted LeaderTom Leader
1928Tipperary Tim10Mr Bill DuttonJoseph Dodd
1929Gregalach7Robert W H EverettTom Leader
1930Shaun Goilin10Tommy CullinanFrank Hartigan
1931Grakle9Bob LyallTom Coulthwaite
1932Forbra7Tim HameyTom Rimell
1933Kellsboro' Jack7Dudley WilliamsIvor Anthony
1934Golden Miller7Gerry WilsonBasil Briscoe
1935Reynoldstown8Mr Frank FurlongNoel Furlong
1936Reynoldstown9Mr Fulke WalwynNoel Furlong
1937Royal Mail8Evan WilliamsIvor Anthony
1938Battleship11Bruce HobbsReg Hobbs
1939Workman9Tim HydeJack Ruttle
1940Bogskar7Mervyn JonesLord Stalbridge
1941–45RACE NOT RUN
1946Lovely Cottage9Capt. Bobby PetreTommy Rayson
1947Caughoo8Eddie DempseyHerbert McDowell
1948Sheila's Cottage9Arthur ThompsonNeville Crump
1949Russian Hero9Leo McMorrowGeorge Owen
1950Freebooter9Jimmy PowerBobby Renton
1951Nickel Coin9John BullockJack O'Donoghue
1952Teal10Arthur ThompsonNeville Crump
1953Early Mist8Bryan MarshallVincent O'Brien
1954Royal Tan10Bryan MarshallVincent O'Brien
1955Quare Times9Pat TaaffeVincent O'Brien
1956E.S.B.10David DickFred Rimell
1957Sundew11Fred WinterFrank Hudson
1958Mr. What8Arthur FreemanTom Taaffe, Sr.
1959Oxo8Michael ScudamoreWillie Stephenson
1960Merryman II9Gerry ScottNeville Crump
1961Nicolaus Silver9Bobby BeasleyFred Rimell
1962Kilmore12Fred WinterRyan Price
1963Ayala9Pat BuckleyKeith Piggott
1964Team Spirit12Willie RobinsonFulke Walwyn
1965Jay Trump8Tommy SmithFred Winter
1966Anglo8Tim NormanFred Winter
1967Foinavon9John BuckinghamJohn Kempton
1968Red Alligator9Brian FletcherDenys Smith
1969Highland Wedding12Eddie Harty, Sr.Toby Balding
1970Gay Trip8Pat TaaffeFred Rimell
1971Specify9John CookJohn Sutcliffe
1972Well to Do9Graham ThornerTim Forster
1973Red Rum8Brian FletcherGinger McCain
1974Red Rum9Brian FletcherGinger McCain
1975L'Escargot12Tommy CarberryDan Moore
1976Rag Trade10John BurkeFred Rimell
1977Red Rum12Tommy StackGinger McCain
1978Lucius9Bob DaviesGordon W. Richards
1979Rubstic10Maurice BarnesJohn Leadbetter
1980Ben Nevis12Mr Charlie FenwickTim Forster
1981Aldaniti11Bob ChampionJosh Gifford
1982Grittar9Mr Dick SaundersFrank Gilman
1983Corbiere8Ben de HaanJenny Pitman
1984Hallo Dandy10Neale DoughtyGordon W. Richards
1985Last Suspect11Hywel DaviesTim Forster
1986West Tip9Richard DunwoodyMichael Oliver
1987Maori Venture11Steve KnightAndrew Turnell
1988Rhyme 'n' Reason9Brendan PowellDavid Elsworth
1989Little Polveir12Jimmy FrostToby Balding
1990Mr Frisk11Mr Marcus ArmytageKim Bailey
1991Seagram11Nigel HawkeDavid Barons
1992Party Politics8Carl LlewellynNick Gaselee
1993RACE VOID
1994Miinnehoma11Richard DunwoodyMartin Pipe
1995Royal Athlete12Jason TitleyJenny Pitman
1996Rough Quest10Mick FitzgeraldTerry Casey
1997Lord Gyllene9Tony DobbinSteve Brookshaw
1998Earth Summit10Carl LlewellynNigel Twiston-Davies
1999Bobbyjo9Paul CarberryTommy Carberry
2000Papillon9Ruby WalshTed Walsh
2001Red Marauder11Richard GuestNorman Mason
2002Bindaree8Jim CullotyNigel Twiston-Davies
2003Monty's Pass10Barry GeraghtyJimmy Mangan
2004Amberleigh House12Graham LeeGinger McCain
2005Hedgehunter9Ruby WalshWillie Mullins
2006Numbersixvalverde10Niall MaddenMartin Brassil
2007Silver Birch10Robbie PowerGordon Elliott
2008Comply or Die9Timmy MurphyDavid Pipe
2009Mon Mome9Liam TreadwellVenetia Williams
2010Don't Push It10Tony McCoyJonjo O'Neill
2011Ballabriggs10Jason MaguireDonald McCain, Jr.
2012Neptune Collonges11Daryl JacobPaul Nicholls
2013Auroras Encore11Ryan ManiaSue Smith
2014Pineau De Re11Leighton AspellRichard Newland
2015Many Clouds8Leighton AspellOliver Sherwood
2016Rule The World9David MullinsMouse Morris
2017One For Arthur8Derek FoxLucinda Russell
2018Tiger Roll8Davy RussellGordon Elliott

History of the Grand National

The First Grand National

The history of the Grand National is long and varied. The Grand National was founded by William Lynn, the owner of the Waterloo Hotel, on land he leased in Aintree from William Molyneux, 2nd Earl of Sefton.

There is a great deal of debate over what is considered the first official Grand National.  The ‘Grand Liverpool Steeplechase’ took place on Tuesday the 26th February 1839 at Aintree.  This is considered to be the first running of what became later known as the Grand National.  The winner of the first race was the aptly named ‘Lottery’ and the race was run over a 4 mile course with partly ploughed fields, fences, banks, two brooks and a stone wall!

Also taking part in the inaugral race was a horse named ‘Conrad’.  The horse’s jockey was non other than Captain Martin Becher. Becher fell during the race, giving his name to possibly the most famous obstacle in Horse Racing, Becher’s Brook.

Some historians, including John Pinfold, now believe that the first running was actually in 1836 and was won by a horse called The Duke.

Controversy

The races between 1836 and 1836 inclusive had previously not been classified of running’s of the famous race, because historians previously believed they took place at Maghull and not Aintree.

In recent years further evidence has been found to suggest those races were run at Aintree.

Newspaper reports from the time place all the 1836-38 races at Aintree although the 1839 race is the first described as “national”. To date, calls for the ‘Nationals’ of 1836–1838 to be restored to the record books have not succeeded. 

In the 1840’s William Lynn fell into ill health and Edward Topham, beacme more involved in the running of the National. He turned the chase into a handicap in 1843 and took over the land lease in 1848. In 1949, the Topham family bought the course outright.

First World War

During the First World War, for a period of 3 years while Aintree Racecourse was taken over by the British Government, an alternative race was run at Gatwick Racecourse.  In 1916 race was held called the ‘Racecourse Association Steeplechase‘, and in 1917 and 1918 the race was known as the ‘War National Steeplechase‘. The races at Gatwick are rarely recognised as official ‘Grand Nationals’.

The 1928 Grand National

The 1928 Grand National remains one of the most famous renewals of the race. The winner Tipperary Tim was one of only two runners to complete the race.

Before the race had begun, Tipperary Tim’s jockey William Dutton heard a friend call out to him: “Billy boy, you’ll only win if all the others fall down!” 

The race was run in foggy conditions and the going that day was very heavy.  As the field approached the Canal Turn on the first circuit, Easter Hero fell, causing a multi-horse pile-up.  At this stage, only seven horses remained with jockeys in the saddle.  As the race unfolded, approaching the penultimate fence only 3 runners remained in contention. 

Great Span’s saddle slipped, leaving Billy Barton in the lead until he also  fell leaving Tipperary Tim to win the race at odds of 100-1. Billy Braton’s jockey managed to remount, leaving only two finishers. 

 

 

The 1940’s and 50’s

The Grand National was run as normal in 1940, but again the commandeering of Aintree for defence use in 1941, meant there was no  Grand National between 1941 and 1945.

The 1956 Grand National is another that went down in history. Devon Loch, owned by Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, jumped the final fence five lengths clear from E.S.B.  Just forty yards from the finish line with no obstacles remaining, Devon Loch suddenly, half-jumped into the air and belly-flopped on to the ground. Despite efforts by jockey (and author) Dick Francis, to get Devon Loch going again, the horse was unable to complete the race, leaving E.S.B. to cross the finishing line first.

Foinavon and the 1960’s

The unlikely hero of the 1967 Grand National was a horse named Foinavon.  The unfancied 100-1 outsider Foinavon started the race slowly.

At fence number 23 a loose horse named Popham Down veered violently to his right and slammed into Rutherfords. This started a huge pile-up, with fallers and unseated horses blocking the track.

Jockey John Buckingham skillfully guided Foinavon around the carnage. With 6 fences remaining Foinavon had a 30 length lead.  Buckingham managed to keep Foinavon’s nose in front despite some jockey’s remounting, including the jockey of 15-2  favourite Honey End. Only 18 of the original 44 starters finished the race.

The sixties were also notable for Fred Winter who won the race once as a jockey and twice as a trainer over the decade.

There is a great short film from 1969 showing footage of the run up to the Grand National that year.  

The Most Famous Grand National Winner of All

The 1970’s was a decade dominated by Red Rum.  Originally bought for the equivalent of just £420, Red Rum later changed hands for 6000 guineas (or £6300) when trainer Ginger McCain bought him on behalf of Noel Le Mare.  Just two days after buying the horse, McCain noticed that the horse was lame. McCain treated by galloping him in sea water.

In the 1973 Grand National 1973, Red Rum started as 9-1 favourite. With 4 fences to go Australian horse Crisp led by 33 lengths. But, conceding 23lb to the favourite, Crisp began to falter. Red Run finally prevailed by 3/4 of a length in what was a record time of 9 min 1.9 seconds, nearly 20 seconds faster than the previous record. 

Red Rum went on to win the National a record three times in the history of the Grand National and in the process, along with trainer Ginger McCain became a national treasure.

The 1993 National Debacle

The 1993 Grand National did not get off to a clear start. Earlier in the day a group of protestors had invaded the course, and when the time came for the race to start it was a nervy affair. 

When under starter’s orders, one jockey got tangled in the starting tape which had not risen correctly. A false start was declared, but this was not clear to the jockey’s taking part.  30 of the 39 jockeys failed to realise and started the race.

Officials tried to stop them after they set off by waving red flags, but many jockeys continued to race, in the mistaken belief that they were more protesters.

Just seven horses completed the race and the result was declared void. 

Up to Date

In 1981 jockey Bob Champion won the race on Aldaniti.  

Two years earlier Bob Champion had been diagnosed with testicular cancer, and his doctors only gave him a matter of months to live. Aldaniti had recently recovered from leg issues.  The pair went attained legendary status after coming back to win the race. Their story was immortalised in the film Champions, starring John Hurt.

In a another great story Red Rum’s trainer Ginger McCain returned to the Grand National in 2004. McCain’s Amberleigh House was ridden home by jockey by Graham Lee. Lee overtook Clan Royal on the final straight after Hedgehunter, winner the following year, fell at the last fence while leading. 

2009 saw Mon Mome become the longest priced winner of the National for over 40 years, at odds of 100-1.

In 2018, the race was won by Tiger Roll, under Davy Russell, ahead of Pleasant Company and Bless the Wings.

Who will be the next horse to go down in the history of the Grand National?

 

Grand National Winning Trends

In a race where there are 40 runners and 30 fences for the runners to scale, it pays to narrow the field down, by looking at previous trends.  There are a number of different factors to consider when you look for the winner.

Weight

Last year’s winner Tiger Roll carried 10 stone 13 pounds to victory.  In the last 6 running’s of the race, only one winner Many Clouds, has carried more than 11 stone.  Since Red Rum won the National in 1977, only five winners have carried in excess of 11 stone, so you may want to rule out horses carrying more than that. 22 of the last 28 winners carried 10 stone 13 lbs or less.

Age

Age is an interesting statistic to look at in the Grand National.  Traditionally, it has paid to back older horses aged 9 and over, with only 6 winners of the race aged under 9 since Red Rum won for the first time at the age of eight, 46 years ago in 1973.  

However, three of the last four winners have been aged 8, so this is a trend to be wary of.  It is highly unlikely you will find a winner younger than 8, with the last seven year old to win the race being Bogskar in 1940!

9 of the last 16 winners were aged ten, eleven or twelve. All the last 14 winners were aged between 8 and 11.

Match Fitness

One statistic to definitely watch out for is the number of days since the horse’s last run. It take a fit horse to win a race of this magnitude and 27 of the last 28 winners ran within the last 55 days. 22 of the last 28 had run in the last 34 days.

Distance

Look at the horse’s previous races.  Stamina is a must.  14 of the last 15 winner had previously won over a distance of 3 miles or more. 24 of the last 26 winners had previously won a 3 mile chase. Nine of the last ten winners had previously finished in the top three in a race over at least 3 miles 2 furlongs. 

Odds

There is a reason why odds are as they are.  Nine of the last 16 winners have come from the top eight in the market.  That doesn’t mean you should exclude higher priced horses from your thinking.  Its only ten years since Mon Mome won at odds of 100-1.  There have been subsequent winners at 66-1, 33-1 and two at 25-1.

Jumping Ability

With thirty fences to jump, the Grand National is a race for seasoned steeplechasers.  Look for runners who have run 10-14 times over fences before winning the National. 18 of the past 20 winners had fallen or unseated their rider no more than two times in their entire career.  Look out for previous experience over the Aintree fences in races like the Becher Chase and the Topham Chase.

Grand National Trends at a glance (Last 28 Running’s)

27/28 – Ran  55 days ago or less
27/28 – Officially rating of 137 or higher
26/28 – Had won over at least 3 mile chase before
25/28 – Had won no more than 6 times over fences 
23/28 – Aged nine or older
22/28 – Ran  34 days ago or less
22/28 – Carried no more than 10 stone 13 lbs 
19/28 – Had won between 4-6 times over fences 
17/28 – Finished in the top 4 last time out
17/28 – Aged 10 years-old or less
16/28 – Carried 10 stone 8 lbs or less
15/28 – Placed favourites
15/28 – Irish-bred winners

How to place a bet on the Grand National

Bet to win

There are two main ways to place a bet on the Grand National.  The first is known as a win bet.  This is pretty self explanatory, in that you are placing a bet on the horse you have selected to win the race.  For example, with a £5 win bet, you are placing £5 on a specific horse to win the Grand National.  If the odds on there horse were 10-1 and the horse won, you would receive £50 back (£5 x 10), plus your original stake of £5.  So you would get back £55 in total.

Each-Way Bets

The other main type of bet is known as an each-way bet.  With an each-way bet. you are placing half your total stake on the horse to win the the race. The other half of your stake goes on it achieving a place.  The number of places that qualify, depends on the type of race and the number of horses taking part.  For the Grand National, bookmakers will normally pay out the place element of an each way bet on at least 4 places.  These days it is not uncommon to see bookmakers pay out on the first 6 or 7 places, so it can pay to shop around.  

With an each-way bet, the second half of your stake is placed on the horse to win the race.  The place element of the bet is paid out at a fraction of the odds offered.  Typically for the Grand National, this is 1/4 or 1/5 of the odds.

So, if you place a £5 each-way bet you are staking £10 in total.  If you place that bet at odds of 20-1 with a place paying 1/5 of the odds, and your horse finishes 3rd, you would expect to receive £20 (£5 x 20 x 1/5), plus the place part of your original stake i.e. £5.  This would mean a return of £25 in total.

How to Bet Online

It is very simple to place a bet through an online bookmaker.  First, you need to open an account, by making a deposit via a debit or credit card, and then you can start placing bets. Simply select the race you want to bet on, select the horse you want to back and the type of bet and your stake.  Most online bookmaker sites will default to a win bet, with a box to tick if you want to back the horse each-way.  Take care to place the bet correctly.  If you make a mistake, the bookmaker is not going to refund your stake.

REMEMBER – if you back a horse each-way you are effectively doubling your stake.

On a race like the Grand National with up to 40 runners taking part, an each-way bet is a very popular type of bet.

Other Bets

There are of course many other types of bet you can place, for example you can have a ‘Place Only‘ bet, where you bet on a horse to get a place, and the entire stake goes on that horse to place at the odds offered.  The odds offered will be less generous than for the horse to win the race, but of course the chances of the horse achieving a place are higher than the chances of the horse winning the race.

Whatever type of bet you decide to place, good luck!  Check out our betting offers below.