The Grand National has almost always baffled bookies, trainers and punters; if you want to make some money even a £1 bet could earn you £100. Consequently, we at The Gaitpost decided to help you decipher which could be your winning bet by providing you with the 10 horses to look out for. Plus have a read of some of the incredible wins over the history of the Grand National.
At 7-1 (Betfair) everyone appears to be supporting AP McCoy on his last few laps of the Aintree course. Number 7, Shutthefrontdoor is trained by Jonjo O’Neill and would cost bookies over £50million. The eight year old runs with a weight of 11st2Ib and has three wins over three to four miles under his belt. Could this be a fairy-tale ending for McCoy?
Trained by Wiltshire based up-and-coming trainer Neil Mulholland, The Druids Nephew could be a prize contender. The eight year old ridden by Aidan Coleman has a weight of 10st9Ib with £70,000 of prize money from this season. Number 17, this horse has currently has odds of 12-1 (Betfair). After winning the USB Handicap Chase at Cheltenham Festival this year, the horse has two wins over three to four miles. This might be too much for the horse.
An outside bet at 25-1 (Betfair), Many Clouds (number 2) could well come through for this prestigious race. Trained by Oliver Sherwood, the horse has three wins out of four runs this year and likes a long run. After disappointing at The Cheltenham Festival coming sixth, twenty five lengths behind Gold Cup winner Coneygree, keep your fingers crossed that the ground will come up soft after a heavy dousing of rain. Carrying an 11st9Ib weight, the horse may have too much to take.
Cause of Causes, trained by Gordon Elliot, could become the first seven year old to win The Grand National. After winning a four mile national hunt race at Cheltenham Festival this year, this horse is a prize contender. Number 18, the gelding will be ridden by Paul Carberry and currently stands with odds of 18-1 (Betvictor). However, the horse has only won one of his three runs and runs at a sedate pace which is an unlikely occurrence when at Aintree. Carrying 10st9Ib, this horse could provide his trainer with his second national win since 2007 with Silver Birch.
Last year’s winner Pinaeu De Re trained by Dr Richard Newland may well be running this year but after no wins from four runs, the attention turns to Royale Knight ridden by Brendan Powell. A weight of 10st2Ib, the horse currently stands at 25-1 (Betfair) compared to 22-1 (Skybet) for his stable mate. Number 40, Royale Knight won the Durham National over three miles six furlong and claimed the four-mile Borders National at Kelso last year showing the stamina is certainly this horse’s forte. The horse runs best on good to soft and quicker ground so the Newland team will be hoping that the rain stays far away from Aintree over the next few hours. This boy is serious contender.
After finishing five length runner-up to last years winner Pinaeu De Re, Balthazar King, ridden by Richard Johnson and trained by Phillip Hobbs, faces his third attempt at the testing course. 9-1 (Skybet) says it all putting the horse second in the bookies’ ranks behind Shutthefrontdoor. The eleven year-old carries a weight of 11st2Ib and has twelve wins over three to four miles under his belt. At eleven years old the horse has earned £45,000 in prize money this year and looks to be a competitive example of an entry for this year’s race. Keep an eye out for number six.
Hampshire based Emma Lavelle could be the fourth female trainer to win The Grand National with her contender Court By Surprise. This horse will be at long odds after a one hundred and fifty four day break since his last win at Wincanton – he will most certainly be fresh! The horse has three wins over three to four miles so far and boasts £40,000 in prize money this year. At ten years old the horse will be under Richie McLernon with a 10st3Ib weight. Although most don’t run well at Aintree after a long break and the yard has had a quiet season so far, if you want an outsider, this could be the one for you at 40-1 (Skybet).
At 11st3Ib, Rocky Creek is set to be the most backed from the Nicholls yard. Since having a wind operation last year, Ruby Walsh sees the horse as an “ideal National horse” and a 56k win in the Betbright Chase at Kempton after the weights were released shows the promising nature of this animal. The handicap now makes the horse’s weight 9Ib well in after the win. Ridden by Sam Twiston-Davies, the nine year old has five wins over three to four miles under his belt but only has one win out of three runs this season. We certainly tip Rocky Creek more than his stable mate, Unioniste. 9-1 (Betfair) shows a sure backing.
The Mouse Morris trained contender First Lieutenant could provide legendary female jockey Nina Carberry with a historic title of the first winning female jockey. Number 5 is currently standing at 25-1 (Betfair) and has a weight of 11st3Ib. Although the horse has provided a noticeable dip in performance after a tongue tie and blinkers, this animal could be a dangerous outsider. The horse still has over half a million pounds in prize money to his name and recently ran well over hurdles suggesting an improvement of late. But could this be too little too late?
The Alan King trained God’s Me Judge has a clear talent for stamina. After being pulled out of last year’s race due to injury this horse certainly shouldn’t be forgotten about. Number 19 at 20-1 (Betfair) with a weight of 10st8Ib, the mainly American-bred nine year old gelding has a win in the Scottish National and a placing in both the National Hunt Chase and the Bet365 Cheltenham Gold Cup under his belt. The horse has won three times over three to four miles and once over four. With £208,000 in prize money spanning his career, the Wayne Hutchinson ridden boy provides a good chance of a win. Keep your eyes peeled.
Good luck to all horses and riders and we hope everyone comes home safe. For more information, have a look at www.aintree.thejockeyclub.co.uk
A History of The Grand National
With all eyes on the World’s Greatest Steeplechase today we thought we should look into the history of this classic British event.
The course is nearly two and a quarter miles long and has 16 individual fences. Unlike most venues, Aintree provides each of its fences with a name, the most famous being Beechers Brook, named after Captain Beecher who won the race in 1836, before its official beginning. Two of these fences are only jumped once: The Chair and The Water Jump.
Officially started in 1839, the race has been running for over 170 years but has not always been run. Originally called The Grand Liverpool Steeplechase, due to the Second World War, the race was not run between 1941 and 1945 while the course was used for military purpose. Not soon after the war was over, in 1946 Lovely Cottage won on 5th April.
Dual winners have been a rare event throughout the near 200 years, the first of which being Abd-El-Kader in 1850/1851. In 1869, the first grey winner, The Lamb, took the title, despite suffering from a wasting disease, the horse won again in 1872.
Later that century, Manifesto, by Man of War, claimed another duel win, also claiming the now jointly held record for the highest weight carried by a winning horse (12st 7Ibs). The horse also claimed the highest weight for a placed horse (12st 13Ibs) and the most times run in the race participating 8 times.
1893 saw a remarkable 40 length win from the horse, Cloister, and after the turn in the century, a ship bringing the winner Moifaa to the race from New Zealand was lost leaving the horse to swim ashore. After what is said to be a 50 mile swim to an island, the horse was recovered and later won in 1904.
Kirkland is to date the only Welsh trained winner and claimed his title in 1905.
During the Great War the event was held at Gatwick and in 1927 the BBC broadcasted the race over radio to the biggest audience ever to date. Sprig won that year. Later in 1960, the race was also transmitted live on television by the BBC.
Foinavon won in 1967 after a pile up at a fence (later named after the horse). John Buckingham rode the animal to victory with odds of 100/1.
During the late sixties and early seventies, impressive horses such as Red Alligator ridden by Brain Fletcher, Gay Trip ridden by Pat Taffe and Well To Do ridden by G. Thorner took the title but in 1973, three time winner and most famous horse of all Red Rum beat Crisp, an important horse in his own right. Crisp, carrying a 12st weight, was caught close to home by the champion, carrying nearly 2 stone less. The winner went on to win in 1974 carrying top weight. After coming second in 1975 to L’escargot and then in 1976 to Rag Trade, he won the race again in 1977. Red Rum is the only three time winner to this date.
1977 saw an important year for female jockeys as Charlotte Brew became the first woman to ride in the race. Not soon after, in 1983 Jenny Pitman became the first female to train a winning horse; Corbiere. 1995 led to a second win from the trainer with Royal Athlete.
Rubstic, trained by John Leadbetter in Roxburghshire, became the first Scottish-trained winner, with victory in 1979.
During the 80’s, winners included Ben Nevis, Grittar, Hallo Dandy and West Tip. But one of the most prolific stories of all Grand National winners was that of Aldaniti ridden by Bob Champion in 1981. Aldaniti had been crocked previously and his rider had recently recovered from cancer leading to tears of joy from race lovers for both parties.
1990 lead to the fastest time on record. Ridden by amateur jockey, Mr. M Armitage, Mr Frisk won the race and stole the show on fast ground.
In 1992, a coincidental winner, Party Politics won just weeks before the general election.
The race was declared void in 1993 after a second false start. Half the jockeys did not hear the call and so ran the full race without knowing. Esha Ness was the winning horse in what is now called The National That Never Was.
At the 150th running of The National in 1997, a bomb scare led to the evacuation of the course and postponement of the event. After a search of the facility, the race ran just two days later with Lord Gyllene declared the winner.
In 1998, Scottish and Welsh National winner, Earth Summit won for the Aintree Press Manager’s syndicate on very soft ground putting him in the racing history books.
1999 and 2000 were both incredible father-son results. Tommy Carrbury, a previous winner as a jockey, was the trainer who saw his son Paul partner Bobby Jo to victory in ’99. Trainer Ted Walsh saw his son Ruby win on Papillon in 2000.
In 2001, all but two horses fell leading Red Marauder to victory with Smarty second.
The owner of 2003 winner, Monty’s Pass, led to a win of over £800,000 proving any amount of money could lead to incredible results.
In 2004 Amberleigh House took the title for the legendary late trainer Ginger McCain. Ginger trained three Grand National Winners including Red Rum and Ballabriggs, 2011, before passing away that September.
Willie Mullins trained Hedgehunter triumphed in 2005, providing Ruby Walsh with his second winner. The horse came a 6-length-close second in 2006 to another Irish contender, Numbersixvalverde trained by Martin Brassil.
Silver Birch was trainer Gordon Elliot and owner Brian Walsh’s first ever entry in the race. In 2007, the horse won for his 29 year old trainer.
Comply or Die won for David Pipe’s team in 2008. Martin Pipe won in 1994 with Miinnehoma and so a win for his son David certainly makes this event a family affair.
The year after lead to the second ever female trainer to win The Grand National; Venetia Williams conquered the male-orientated pack with winner, Mon Mome in 2009. Mrs S Smith was to follow in her Williams’ footsteps in 2013 with Auroras Encore to become the third ever female trainer to win.
In 2010, AP McCoy’s first and so far only win from this prolific race occurred. The Jonjo O’Neill trained Don’t Push It obtained his win.
South West based trainer Paul Nichols scored success in 2011 with the grey, Neptune Collonges, a French bred horse. After contracting an injury during the Cheltenham Gold cup in 2009, the horse made an incredible come back for the big race having been taken out for the rest of 2008-09 season and having not run at all during the 2009-10 season.
And finally our most recent winner, Pineau De Re, trained by Dr Richard Newland (who only has 12 horses in his yard) took victory for the GP in 2014. After transferring from P Fenton’s yard in 2013, the horse’s biggest result is the National Title. Newland has entered both the 2014 winner and Royale Knight in this year’s race but it sadly appears that the magic may have transferred to Pineau’s stable mate.
Who will be entering the history books in 2015?
I’m hoping Nina Carberry and First Lieutenant can do it – that’s who I’ve got in the TGP sweep stake and we love a bit of girl power!