Grand National: 21st Century Trends

The Grand National is the one contest a year which will attract many people who wouldn't usually watch horse racing,

grand national horse racing

The Cheltenham Festival may be the meeting on the immediate agenda for racing fans, with punters flocking to the best Betting sites to seek out the latest offers and promotions. However, events at the Prestbury Park venue aren’t the only springtime racing show in town.

Around one month after the magical March meeting, the focus will shift to the Merseyside venue of Aintree for the most famous jumps race of them all – the staying and jumping behemoth that is the Aintree Grand National.

No race on the calendar generates as much discussion amongst fans and the general public or generates such traffic for the top Betting tips sites, as everyone attempts to unearth the winner. With that in mind, and with the weights having now been released, the time seems ripe to take a look at the race from a trends perspective, in an effort to whittle down the current list of 73 entries.

Runners Who May Not Make the Cut

The most obvious place to begin when attempting to trim the field is with those runners who may not make the final cut. 73 are entered, but only 40 may run on the day, with the minimum weight for the race set at 10st2lb. The first for the scrapheap are therefore those horses currently allocated less than this burden.

Applying this criterion clips the field from 73 down to 51, with the most prominent runner ruled out being the Sam Thomas trained, Our Power.

Eight to Eleven Years of Age the Golden Window

Noble Yeats won this as a seven-year-old in 2022, but that result represented a major outlier to the overall trend. When looking at the 22 editions of the race since 2000, no fewer than 20 have been landed by a runner falling into the 8-11 years of age bracket – representing a strike rate of 90.90%. Applying the age filter doesn’t help too much this year, but does cut the field from 51 down to 43.

A Light Weight A Bonus

Logic dictates that runners lower down in the weights are more likely to have something up their sleeve from the handicapper, and that opinion largely holds true in the biggest handicap of the year. Again, looking at the past 22 editions of the race, 17 of the winners (77.27%) have been saddled with no more than 11st on the day.

Ruling out the runners set to carry 11st1lb or more, brings us down to 29, and suggests 2022 first and second, Noble Yeats and Any Second Now, and the well-fancied Mr Incredible may be up against it.

Proven Stamina A Major Plus

There aren’t too many – if any – events which replicate the demands of the Grand National. A proven ability to win over a staying trip has nevertheless proven to be a big plus in this race, with 19 of the past 22 winners (86.36%) having previously won over at least 3m. Seven more runners bite the dust on this criteria, bringing our list down to 22.

Look To The Irish Bred Runners

The past 22 editions have seen a 50-50 split between British and Irish-trained horses. However, the trend is much stronger when it comes to the breeding of the winners, with 16 of 22 (72.73%) being Irish-bred.

Putting the remaining contenders through this filter whittles the list down to just six. For those interested in taking a trends-based approach to the Aintree showpiece, our final shortlist is as follows:
  • Longhouse Poet, Trainer: Martin Brassil
  • Quick Wave, Trainer: Venetia Williams
  • Cloudy Glen, Trainer: Venetia Williams
  • Battleoverdoyen, Trainer: Gordon Elliott
  • Hill Sixteen, Trainer: Sandy Thompson
  • Gabby’s Cross, Trainer: Henry De Bromhead

Quick to Wave Rivals Goodbye?

Longhouse Poet is the shortest price of our sextet at a general 25/1 and runs off the same mark as when sixth in the race in 2022. He did however look to be running on empty by the end of the race that day and needs to prove that he stays this far. It is by no means impossible that he will see it out better this time around though, and he looks solid each-way value.

That said, our best bet in the race is the Venetia Williams-trained mare, Quick Wave at a general 33/1. Williams knows what it takes to land this prize, having won with 100/1 shot Mon Mome in 2009, and looks to have another likely sort on her hands here. Only 4lbs higher than when getting on top late to win the Haydock Grand National Trial over 3m4½f, the additional distance here may see her in an even better light.

At an even bigger price, don’t rule out a bold show from 66/1 shot Hill Sixteen who has twice shown he handles these unique obstacles in the Becher Chase

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