2016 Crabbie’s Grand National stats guide
David Metcalf | April 4, 2016
With a maximum field of 40 set to go to post for the Crabbie’s Grand National at Aintree on Saturday, April 9th, studying the trends for the big race can be a useful tool to narrow down the runners when making your selection.
Here’s the Coral horse racing experts’ guide to the leading stats for the stamina sapping test at the Merseyside venue:
A dozen of the last 20 winners have been aged nine or 10. Prior to Many Couds winning last year aged eight, the three previous runnings had been won by 11 year olds. In 2011, horses aged between nine and 11 filled the first 10 places.
The Grand 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 160 with only Bobby Jo (1999) and Little Polvier (1989) 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.
Aldaniti was the last horse to buck this trend 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.
Market leaders don’t have a good record in the Grand National, with just five winning in the last 34 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.
Many Clouds is set to go off favourite for this year’s renewal as he bids to become the first to land back-to-back successes in the cointest since Red Rum in 1973/74.
Only Ruby Walsh and Leighton Aspell have won the race more than once in the last 40 years. Walsh is likely to be be aboard Ballycasey this time around.
Aspell, meanwhile, is bidding for a hat-trick of successes having partnered Pineau De Re to victory in 2014 and Many Clouds 12 months ago.
He will once again be on board the latter. 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.
Gay Trip in 1970 was the last horse to win the Grand National that had not previously won over a distance of 3m or further.
The Topham Chase, which is also run at this Aintree meeting, can be seen as a pointer to future National winners due to the experience over the fences.
However, that race is 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.
Nigel Twiston-Davies has been the most successful trainer in recent times, winning the race in 1998 and 2002 with Earth Summit and Bindaree. He has numerous entries this year, but Double Ross is the only one guaranteed to get in the line-up.
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 Corrin Wood entered in this year’s renewal.
Since the second World War only seven horses carrying more than 11st 5lb have won the race. Nine 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 off 11st 5lb in 2010, Neptune Collonges off 11st 6lb in 2012 and Many Clouds off 11st 9lb in 2015.
You’ll find more Grand National Festival content, including profiles of all 40 runners on the big race, over on our Aintree page.