The Grand National is simply the world’s greatest horse race – so let’s take a look at the trends from the last 10-years, and all the runners in the 2017 Grand National.
– English Trainers have trained 8 of the last 10 Grand Nationals
– Winners have carried between 10-6 and 11-9, though 7 have carried 11-0 or less
– SPs of the winners have ranged from 7/1 to 100/1
– 9 of the last 10 winners hadn’t won last time out
– Winners ran 21 to 56 days prior to winning
– Winners have been aged 8 to 11, with three 9-year-olds, three 10-year-olds, and three 11-year-olds successful
– Leighton Aspell has ridden 2 of the last 3 winners
2017 Grand National Runner-By-Runner Guide
The Last Samuri
Would probably have won on better ground last year, and has been trained specifically for the race once again. Only carried 10-8 last year though, and 11-10 may prove too much for him to burden this year.
More Of That
Resembles Jonjo O’Neill’s 2010 winner Don’t Push It, in that he has never quite achieved the heights over fences he was expected to before winning this, and therefore gets in here off a potentially nice mark after staying-on in both the Irish and Cheltenham Gold Cups.
Ran well all 3 starts over 21-furlongs this season but, though he’s won over 3-miles, this sort of trip is unknown territory.
Admirable sort who has runs some decent races in class-2 events. However, looked a non-stayer when running over 4-miles in the 2015 National Hunt Chase.
Saphir Du Rheu
An enigma who won one of the big novice chases at a previous Grand National Meeting, but who has also been beaten 44-lengths by Cue Card here. Fifth in the Cheltenham Gold Cup this year though, and handicapper has raised him 6lb for that for future races.
Roi Des Francs
Balance of form makes him look poorly handicapped, and has run two stinkers at this meeting the last two years.
This stamina-test could be exactly what he wants, and once beat last year’s winner Rule The World over 9-lengths off level-weights. Big field a worry for one who looks one-paced, but interesting all the same.
Stayed on powerfully to be second in the Cheltenham Foxhunter, but doesn’t really deserve his 153 rating on that form. Ran poorly in last year’s renewal.
Likes to go flat-out on soft ground over 3-miles, and not sure the rhythm or distance of a Grand National will suit him.
Last year’s RSA Winner has always looked like he’ll appreciate a thorough stamina test, and he ran very well off top-weight in a major trial at Haydock. Dual Grand-National winning trainer teamed-up with this jockey for Aintree success on Thursday, and connections bypassed a possible tilt at the Cheltenham Gold Cup to wait for this.
Drop Out Joe
Doesn’t look particularly well-handicapped, and failed to stay in both the Scottish Grand Nationals and Bet365 Gold Cup previously.
Hard to know what to make of his form in small-field this year but, he ran well to be second to Many Clouds here over regulation-fences earlier in the season. However, it’s a big worry that he’s been unplaced in all 3 runs in double-figure fields.
The Young Master
Last year’s Bet365 Cup winner is only 2lb higher here, and he could go well if handling the fences, which he failed to do when falling in this season’s Becher Chase. Jockey Sam Waley-Cohen has enjoyed much success over the National Fences though, and a definite each-way chance.
Cause Of Causes
Seems to love the Cheltenham Festival, and joined an elite band of horses who have won at there of them this year. Finished no better than eighth though in his attempts to win the Irish, Scottish and English Grand Nationals.
Has a high incompletion record and, though capable on his day, you’re guessing as to whether you think he’ll take to this unique test.
Vieux Lion Rouge
Didn’t seem to stay when 7th last year off a 3lb lower mark, but his last two runs have been excellent. Won both the Becher Chase and the Betfred Grand National Trial and, as an 8-year-old, it may be that he has simply strengthened-up this year. Big chance if he stays.
Beat the Last Sumuri 14-lengths over 26-furlongs last time, and runs off identical-terms here. Trip an unknown, but handicapper has raised him 10lb since the weights were framed, and his name could make him very popular with the Liverpudlian crowd.
Identical mark to last year when he was sixth, and he looks to have been skilfully brought to his peak to try and go 5-places better than last year. Gut-feeling is he’ll find at least a couple too goo, but could easily hit the frame, especially with bookmakers going 5 or 6 places.
Ran two tremendous races on his first two runs at 3-miles, but this new trip is a complete step into the unknown.
Houblon Des Obeaux
Trainer Venetia Williams won with a similar type in 100/1 shot Mon Mome in 2009, and he’s always looked like he’ll stay this kind of trip, especially after staying-on in the Midlands National last time. Not had many opportunities to carry weights as low as 10-12, and an each-way chance if he can stay in touch on the first circuit.
Pulled-up when tried in the National Hunt Chase, but that may have been due to a mistake rather than insufficient stamina. Overall form leaves him with a bit to find with a few of these, but enjoyed the same prep-race as the stable’s previous winner Hedgehunter.
One For Arthur
Confirmed the promise of his staying-on fifth in the Becher Chase by winning the Classic Chase at Warwick. Looks one of the few horses in the field that’s crying-out for this step-up in trip, and it will be interesting to see whether his relatively inexperienced jockey is up to the job.
Potentially very well-handicapped on his second to Silviniaco Conti here three years ago, but most of his runs suggest this will be a trip too far for him.
The 2014 RSA Chase Winner is thrown-in if connections have nursed him back to form. Often needs a run or two to put him right, and has had a breathing-operation – so could be one of the more interesting outsiders.
First and second in the last two renewals of the Becher Chase, and connections have keep him fresh since November. Would be a massive winner for his small Lake-District based trainer, but he did train Chief Dan George to win at this meeting a few years ago.
Was a big-fancy for last year’s National before being balloted-out, but got no further than the first when tries in the Topham. Not been in as good a form as last year, but may have been kept under the radar by his shrewd trainer, who has already shown how good she is at training winners of marathon contests.
Former Cheltenham Gold Cup winner, and now a stone lower in the weights than when flopping last in the 2016 renewal. Tongue-tie fitted, and the booking of Leighton Aspell makes him of interest back on better ground.
The 2015 runner-up hasn’t jumped particularly well of late, but he’s another who will enjoy the ground being quicker than last year’s renewal.
The form of his win in the last year’s Scottish National hasn’t received many boosts, but he proved that he stays four-miles on decent ground, and looks tailormade for this test. Probably vulnerable to a slightly classier rival, but likely to be a popular each-way pick.
Just A Par
Hasn’t taken to this fences in two attempts, and a third crack at the Bet365 Cup awaits if he fails here.
Backed into favouritism for last year’s Scottish National after finishing third in the National Hunt Chase, but fell. Poor in all starts since, but looks on a potentially handy mark with first-time cheek-pieces on.
Raz De Maree
Finished eighth off a 6lb lower mark in 2014, and often runs well in these big handicaps. Shouldn’t be good enough for win purposes, but could sneak a place if there aren’t many finishers.
Likes to bowl-along over 3-miles, and a doubtful stayer.
Won Irish Grand National off an 8lb lower-mark, and looks to have kept firmly under wraps by his shrewd connections. Carries just 1lb more than last year’s winner and looks sure to stay.
Cocktails AT Dawn
Could seal the Trainer’s Championship for Nicky Henderson, but hard to see him getting round on this year’s form, let alone winning.
Thunder And Roses
Not won since the 2015 Irish Grand National, but it’s worth remembering he beat last year’s winner 4-lengths off level-weights in that contest. Done nothing since, but could outrun his odds.
Gas Line Boy
Done little to suggest that he’s classy enough to win a Grand National.
Would probably stay 8-miles, but may find this happening all-to-quick on ground that is likely to be faster than he prefers.
Jumped these fences well in lesser races without winning, but surely not good enough.
Been a big talking horse on several occasions, and not a complete outsider having won over hurdles at Aintree.
Vieux Lion Rouge, Blaklion, Definitely Red and One For Arthur are all very closely linked on form, and have obvious chances, but none of them have been missed in the market. Meanwhile, the Gigginstown Stud owned trio of Measureofmydreams, Rogue Angel and Thunder And Roses all have potential from the foot of the weights.
However, in the search of value, I’m going to give two former high-class horses a chance, both of whom look seriously well-handicapped if they come back to form – O’Faolains Boy and Lord Windermere.
2017 Grand National Tips
O’Faolains Boy @ 80/1 (William Hill, Betfair Sportsbook) ¼ odds 5 Places
Lord Windermere @ 50/1 (Various Bookies) ¼ odds 5 Places
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