Some say picking a winner at the Grand National is a little bit like playing the National Lottery – you choose a random horse and hope for the best.
However, this needn’t be the way. Over 100 horses were entered into this year’s race and around 40 will take to the field on April 8, so there is certainly is plenty of choice. However, there is also plenty of ways to narrow down that choice aside from the usual picking on form, or choosing based on the one that has the coolest name.
Beware of the heavies
Only four rides carrying over 11st have won the race since Corbiere came in first in 1983, so a good rule is “if you can’t lift it, don’t pick it!”
The three horses who achieved that feat were Many Clouds, Neptune Collonges, Hedgehunter and Don’t Push It. These were the exceptions, rather than the rules, so aim for rides carrying less.
Age before beauty
Pick a horse that is eight or older – trust us, this is an essential rule. Why? Asides from Many Clouds’ epic win in 2015 (that gelding was an exception to every rule), no horse that was younger than eight has won since 1940 when Bogskar achieved the honour.
In fact, one would be wise to search for a horse that is even slightly older than eight-years-old. Horses that age do occasionally come first at the National, but historically speaking, it is not common.
No country for old horses
Horses that are over the age of 12 are generally past their peak and don’t perform overly well at the race either. Sergeant Murphy was the last 13-year-old winner, all the way back in 1923.
A few 12-year-olds have taken the honour, but once again, it is the exception rather than the rule.
The National is ran over 4 miles and 3½ furlongs – that is an incredibly long ride, so horses that win have to have epic stamina – generally speaking, they will have won at least one 3 mile race before. If you are checking out the form card, that is the place to be looking.
Many of the last few winners have also won a chase worth at least £29,000.
Avoid the French
French bred horses don’t do well at the national. Of course, there are exceptions, with Mon Mome romping home in 2009 and Neptune Collonges getting the job done in 2012.
Nonetheless, both of those horses were actually trained in the UK, so if you must pick a French horse, look to see if it is trained abroad.
So there you have it – a fool proof way of picking a winner at this year’s Grand National on April 8. Just don’t blame us if they fall at the first – believe it, or not, “sure things” do not exist!