The most popular horse race in the world, The Grand National, takes place on April 11th this year, when a maximum of 40 horses will have to jump 30 fences and stay the 4 mile 3½ furlong trip that has been the doing of many.
The last 10 renewals have seen a shift in the emphasis of weight-carried, and 5 of the last 10 winners have carried 11-0 or more – though none have carried more than the 11-6 that Neptune Collonges carried to victory in 2012. However, the last two winners have only carried only 10-3 and 10-6. Owner Trevor Hemmings is the only person to have won the race more than once in the last 10 years.
Four 10-year-olds, three 9-year-olds and three 11-year-olds have won in the last decade with the last 3 winners all being aged 11.
A good starting point is to try and ascertain what horse will top the weights come the day of the race. With the top-5 runners all having doubts about their participation, this honour may fall to Unioniste. If it does, the weights will go up 4lb putting likely favourite Shutthefrontdoor on 11-6 and leaving him a difficult task considering he only carried 10-13 when winning the Irish National off an 11lb lower handicap market.
With that in mind we’ve narrowed the field down to our four most fancied runners, and you can read all our analysis and horse racing tips below.
*All weights stated below are if Unioniste runs off top-weight.
Godsmejudge 1.5 points each-way @ 25/1
Set to carry 10-12, and has impressed each time he’s been asked to run at a distance in excess of 3-miles. Won the Scottish National off a mark of 139 and races here off 145, the same mark as when 2nd in last year’s Scottish National and 3rd in the Bet365 Chase. A 9-year-old.
Teaforthree 1.5 points each-way 33/1
The 11-year-old unseated last year, but finished 3rd off a mark of 151 in 2013. Can race off just 144 this time around and should carry 10-11. Been hunter chasing but could be primed for this.
Al Co 1 point each-way @ 40/1
Last year’s Scottish National winner, off a mark of 138, and carrying just 10-0, runs off a mark of 145 here. His trainer Peter Bowen has proved his Aintree prowess by training Always Waining to win 3 consecutive Topham Chases. A 10-year-old.
Alvarado 1 point each-way @ 40/1
His owners have had a horse placed in the last 6 Grand Nationals and he’s certainly weighted to at least get placed again. The 10-year-old has been allotted just a 1lb higher mark than last year, and is set to carry just 5lb more in weight. He was notably unlucky in running last year, too.
The staking plan is designed to make us a small profit if one of our four selections gets placed – though all appear to have strong chances of winning.