2015 Crabbie’s Grand National stats guide
With a maximum field of 40 set to go to post for the Crabbie’s Grand National at Aintree on Saturday, April 11th, studying the trends for the big race can be a useful tool to narrow down the runners when making your selection.
Here’s my guide to the leading stats for the stamina sapping test at the Merseyside venue:
Age: Thirteen of the last 20 winners have been aged nine or 10 and the last three runnings have been won by 11-year-olds. In 2011, horses aged between nine and 11 filled the first 10 places.
Class: The National is no longer the lottery it was once considered, with the new framing of the weights meaning that the handicap is more compacted allowing the class horses to perform better. Most recent winners ran off an official rating of between 136 and 157, with only Bobby Jo and Little Polvier winning from “out of the handicap”.
Days since last run: In the past 30 years, all winners had run within the previous 50 days, so it’s wise to oppose runners going into the race on the back of a break. The last to buck the trend was Aldaniti in 1981, who returned from a life-threatening injury to win off the back of just one prep-race two months before the big race.
Favourites: The market leader doesn’t have a good record in the Grand National, with just five winning in the last 33 runnings. The last horse to go off at less than 5/1 was Red Rum. He was 7/2 when beaten by L’Escargot in 1975. Shutthefrontdoor is likely to go off a heavily-backed favourite this year given that he will by AP McCoy’s last ride in the race.
Jockeys: Only Ruby Walsh has won the race more than once in the last 40 years, and he will be aboard Ballycasey this time around. Soon-to-be retiring 20-time champion AP McCoy won the race at the fifteenth attempt on Don’t Push It in 2010. He is expected to partner Shutthefrontdoor. However, don’t let an inexperienced jockey over the National fences put you off. Liam Treadwell gave 100/1 outsider Mon Mome a peach of ride to win at the first attempt in 2009.
Stamina: The last horse to win the Grand National, which had not previously won over a distance of 3m or further, was Gay Trip in 1970. The Topham Chase, which is also run at the Grand National meeting, can be seen as a pointer to future National winners due to the experience over the fences. However, that race is run over a distance of almost 2m shorter and having a horse that has raced over 3m is an absolute must for the National.
Trainers: Nigel Twiston-Davies has been the most successful trainer in recent times, winning the race in 1998 and 2002 with Earth Summit and Bindaree. His sole runner this year is Double Ross. The McCain family also have a terrific record in the race, with the late Ginger winning it four times – three with the legendary Red Rum and once with Amberleigh House in 2004 – and his son Donald saddling Ballabriggs to victory in 2011. The Cheshire-based handler has Across The Bay, Corrin Wood and Syndey Paget entered in this year’s renewal.
Weight: Since the second World War only six horses carrying more than 11st 5lbs have won the race. Ten of the last 15 winners carried less than 11st. However, the quality of the race is getting higher every year and the BHA’s head handicapper Phil Smith has changed the way that weight is allocated so the “under 11st rule” may not be as important as in the past. This is backed up by the wins of Don’t Push It of 11st 5lb in 2010 and Neptune Collonges off 11st 6lb in 2012.