5.15 – Aintree – 14th April 2018:
4m2½f (4m2f74y) (Grand National) Randox Health Grand National Handicap Chase (Grade 3) (Class 1) (7yo+):
The Grand National has historically been a good race from a statistical point of view but, in the last five years, changes to fences, landing areas and race distance threatens some established trends. Bizarrely the reduction in race distance has been offset by the ‘easier’ fences and the emphasis on jumping at speed has probably put more of an emphasis on stamina. The use of statistics has been further muddied by the testing conditions that have been prevalent this week and look to continue into this race. If there is a renewal that tends to a stats buster then this could be it but it would be folly to completely ignore the type of horse that lends itself to this unique race.
Key Trends (10 year):
Of the last ten winners, one was British bred, six Irish bred and three French bred.
The last ten winners have been aged 8-11.
The last ten winners have been Officially Rated 137-160.
The last ten winners carried between 10-3 and 11-9.
The last ten winners had won over three miles plus.
Nine of the last ten winners had run within 21 – 60 days of the race.
Key Trends (5 year):
The last five winners had achieved a top three finish in a Class One chase at 27 furlongs plus.
The last five winners had run at least three times that season.
The last five winners had run between 10 and 24 times over fences.
The last five runners had run at least seven times over three miles plus over fences/hurdles.
The last five winners had an RPR of 171+
Four of the last five winners carried less than eleven stone.
Needless to say it’s possible to make a case for any horse one wishes to select but we have narrowed our preference to a short list of three:
Seeyouatmidnight: Third in the Scottish National two years ago and runs from the same handicap mark here. Slammed Bristol De Mai after a near 200 day break on his next start at Carlisle and, although not in the same form since, he ran a promising race last time out on his first start for a year. A winner of four of his nine starts over fences he is still feasibly weighted on the balance of his Chase form. Has a win over none other than Blaklion in his younger days and, although yet to win over three miles plus over fences, he has a win over an extended three miles over hurdles. Obviously had his problems having raced just twice since Nov. 2016 but competitively weighted on his best form and the presence of Brian Hughes, who has been on board for his last four victories can only be viewed as a positive.
I Just Know: Represents the yard who sent out Aurores Encore to win this at 66/1 in 2013 and their representative this year arguably holds more solid claims. A winner of four of his ten Chases, he warmed up for this by producing a career best over hurdles at Uttoxeter last time out. That followed on from a facile victory in the Yorkshire Grand National at Catterick in soft ground and a steep rise in the weights may not stop his progression here. Marathon trips could see him a better light and his prominent racing style will hopefully keep him out of trouble.
The Dutchman: Progressive second season Chaser and readily forgiven his effort in the Grand National Trial at Haydock last time out where he reportedly bkled from the nose. Previously a facile winner of the Peter Marsh at the same track and that form looks solid.Thirteen pounds higher in the weights here but conditions will hold no fears and has bags of potential for further improvement. Steps into the unknown stamina wise but the same could be said of the many of those in opposition.
Seeyouatmidnight – 1 pt e/w,. Available at 16/1. (888sport – 1/5 odds first 6)
I Just Know – 1 pt e/w. Available at 20/1 (Paddy Power – 1/5 odds first 6)
The Dutchman – 1 pt e/w. Available at 22/1. (Paddy Power – 1/5 odds first 6)