Saturday 30 March 2019

Have we fell out of love with the Grand National?

Love it or hate it, it’s that time of year when the whole world tunes into the biggest race of the year, an estimated 600 million people watch the Grand National on TV while 150.000 people attend Aintree racecourse. 

Bookmakers predict 250 million will be spent on betting in this year's race (about a fiver off me) from the young to the old we all love a bet. I actually had a bit of a vote on Twitter this week because a few of my National Hunt follows couldn’t say a good word about the Grand National but the public spoke and it seems the race is as still loved as ever. 

Being from Liverpool and only a 20-minute drive away from the course you would have thought I would have attended more than once but as much as I love racing, sitting at home watching it with my family wins any day, being packed like sardines into the course is not my idea of fun. 

The Grand National has a maximum of 40 runners in the field so you have to pick 3 or 4 horses at least (or is that just my family). 

This year could be a different story in our house as my daughter is at that age where horse racing is cruel, and she’s boycotting it completely. I can imagine in years to come she will be protesting outside Aintree. Picking our donkeys is normally the same routine, the day before we get the local paper and while I study form the rest of the family pick colours or names they like, maybe I'm doing it wrong because I never seem to win, and they do. 

This year, I have actually looked at a few trends and found some interesting pointers. Over the past 4 years the winner was 8 or 9 years old so am definitely sticking to a horse under 10, two winners over the past 4 races were owned by Gigginstown House Stud, Tiger Roll (pictured) last year and 2016 winner Rule the World, Gordon Elliott has sent out a first, second and a third in the last 3 races, the last 3 races the winner has weighed under 11 stone the only one not to was favourite Many clouds back in 2015 who shouldered a huge 11 stone 9 to win. 

The last 3 races, the winner’s official rating has been between 148 and 150. 

What do we take from all that? 

Can Tiger Roll become the first horse to win back-to-back Grand Nationals since Red Rum in 1974? Well, he will have to do it carrying 11 stone 5 lb since Bristol De Mai has been taken out. 

No doubt Tiger Roll is a class act. If getting past the first circuit without any trouble could well do it again but the extra weight is playing on my mind and the short price is too. 

Conclusion: So my three horses this year are Mall Dini, the second who just makes the list is Jury Duty (official rating 151 but I will let that slide), and my wild card is Lake View Lad, who is off my wise old next door neighbour Dave. 

Let’s hope it’s a great race and all the horses come home safe.