The Spring Double is a bet placed on two of the biggest handicaps in the horse racing calendar, the Lincoln Handicap (Saturday 30 March) and the Grand National (Saturday 6 April).
Due to the competitive nature of these races, it gives punters an opportunity to combine two big-priced horses in a double to give them a chance of a big win. Some punters risk it all on a win double, but it’s easier to make a case for placing an each-way double instead as even landing the place part of such a bet can lead to a decent win.
If you think this sounds like too good an opportunity to miss, check out our analysis and free tips for the Spring Double.
The Lincoln Handicap
Nine of the last 10 winners of the Lincoln Handicap have been rated between 95 and 104, with seven of those rated in an even narrower ratings-band of 97 to 102. Those seven winners have also carried weights of between 8-12 and 9-4.
The last 10 winners of the race have also been aged either four, five, or six. Last year’s winner was also the first winner in the last eight years to be returned at single-figure odds, with the seven previous winners returned at 16/1, 25/1, 20/1, 20/1, 12/1, 12/1, and 20/1.
There has also been one trainer that has caught the eye over the last five years and that is David O’Meara. The Yorkshire-based trainer seems to have made a point of targeting the Lincoln Handicap and he’s trained at least one horse to finish in the each-way places in each of those five years.
In 2014, he trained the 95-rated Robert The Painter to finish third at 25/1, whilst his 98-rated Sweet Lightning also finished fourth at 11/1. In 2015, O’Meara saddled the 95-rated Mondialiste to finish second on his first start for the stable, whilst the 104-rated Birdman ran fourth in 2016.
O’Meara then won the 2017 Lincoln Handicap with the 100-rated Bravery, another first-time runner for the stable, which had been transferred from the legendary stable of Aidan O’Brien. O’Meara then nearly pulled off the same feat the year after when the 107-rated Lord Glitters finished second for him, chasing home the 99-rated Addeyb who was a handicap snip considering he went on to win a Group 2.
O’Meara’s recent track record in the race highlights the chances of Humbert, a recent recruit from another Classic-winning trainer in Hugo Palmer. However, whilst the likes of Birdman, Lord Glitters, and Mondialiste were a little higher than ideal in the handicap, Humbert looks a serious proposition off a mark of 98.
A slight worry is that all his four wins have come on the all-weather, but he has gone close on a couple of occasions on turf. Those include finishing second in the Spring Mile Handicap on Lincoln Handicap Day last year, after which he also finished second in the Greatwood Spring Cup Handicap last season.
Interestingly, those two runs were on straight miles, as was his best performance on the all-weather which came at Newcastle. What’s even more interesting is that O’Meara’s stable jockey Danny Tudhope was in the saddle when Humbert won at Newcastle and he may well have recommended him to O’Meara as an ideal Lincoln Handicap candidate.
The Grand National
There are lots of horses in the Grand National that could potentially be handicap snips if they turn up and jump round but, for the purpose of placing our Spring Double bet, it could be prudent to find a horse that looks to have a solid profile.
The last three editions of the Grand National have thrown up some very similar results, with most of the winners and horses in the first four places all carrying 11-1 or less. The three winners Tiger Roll, One For Arthur, and Rule The World all carried between 10-7 and 10-13, whilst the placed horses Pleasant Company, Cause Of Causes, Saint Are, Blaklion, The Last Samuri, Vics Canvas, Bless The Wings, and Gilgamboa all carried between 10-6 and 11-1. Last year’s fourth Anibale Fly is the only exception having carried 11-8.
It’s also interesting that eight of the last 12 horses to finish in the first four home in the Grand National were all Irish-trained horses.
It could be a similar scenario this year, as the presence of top-weight Bristol De Mai would allow lots of classy horses to run carrying less than 11-1. Even if he defects, it is likely that the Anibale Fly would run, and the weights would only go up 4lb.
One horse that would still carry less than 11-1 in either scenario is Rathvinden and he has a solid look about him after his recent seasonal debut win in the BobbyJo Chase. He beat Alpha Des Obeaux that day off level-weights yet will get 8lb off that rival if they re-oppose each other in the Grand National.
The form of Rathvinden’s win in the 2018 National Hunt Chase over four-miles also looks rock-solid. The runner-up Miss Parfois has since finished second in the Midlands Grand National off a big-weight, whilst the third Sizing Tennesse won this season’s Ladbrokes Trophy, and the fourth Impulsive Star won this season’s Classic Chase at Warwick.
That means he looks well-weighted, well-handicapped, and looks sure to stay the trip. That was also the case for two other former National Hunt Chase winners Tiger Roll and Cause Of Causes who, respectively, finished first and second in the 2018 and 2017 Grand Nationals.
At the age of 11, Rathvinden is older than the last four winners, but 11-year-olds won the 2012, 2013, and 2014 Grand Nationals. He also doesn’t have too many miles on the clock as he’s had just 19 runs despite his age.