Nick Pullen analyses the Grand National stats
In 2012 I was on Sunnyhillboy at prices as big as 25s. He got touched off into second by Neptune Collonges right on the line. It was tough to take but the each-way part of my bets offered more than sufficient consolation.
The 2013 renewal delivered one of my best-ever betting moments when Auroras Encore went in for me and my subscribers having been advised the evening before racing at 80s.
Last year we hit the winner again when Pineau De Re went in at 25s.
Of course I’d like to put these picks down to inspired deduction on my part. And there was a little subjectivity involved – there always is.But the bottom line is that the stats I use to split the Grand National field pretty much led me by the nose to the horses I backed. Notwithstanding the big prices, all these horses met a large proportion of the criterion that historic renewals of the race say is necessary to win. From that point forward it is simply a case of having sufficient faith in the stats to back them.
I don’t expect to find another strong Grand National bet at such a big price this year. But I do expect the winner and the horses that finish in the frame behind it to measure up equally well to the key stats.
If you’re looking for a route into this season’s Grand National field you can do a lot worse than apply the stats below (based on the last 12 renewals of the race) to all 40 runners set to go to post. The horses that meet the widest range of stats are the ones that should make your betting shortlist...
Your horse should be aged 9 or older – that’s the age range that does best here. All of the last 12 winners of the race were aged 9- to 11-years-old – a stat that strongly suggests that younger chasers haven’t got the stamina to get the job done in the Aintree showpiece. The last 132 horses aged 8 or younger to go to post have produced just 1 win and 10 placed finishes between them.
Your horse should have scored a Racing Post rating of 150+ over fences – 10 of the last 12 winners had hit that yardstick.Eight had produced their career-best rating in one of last two races. All of the last 12 winners had scored their best chasing Racing Post rating at 24f+.
Your horse should have chasing experience at 28f+ – 10 of the last 12 winners of the race had already shown they could operate at that kind of trip.What is more all of those 10 horses had registered a Racing Post rating within 8lbs of the career top when racing over fences at 28f+.
Your horse should have Grade race experience at 24f+ over fences – 10 of the last 12 winners ticked that particular box.
Look for Grade race experience that season – 6 of the last 7 winners had appeared in a Grade level chase at some point during the current season.
Your horse should have won a chase worth £30k+ to winning connections – just two of the last 12 winners had failed to win a chase of that value at some point in their careers.
Your horse should have won at least 3 chases – all of the last 12 winners had produced that number of wins. But you don’t want too much winning experience. Ten of the last 12 winners had won no more than 5 chases. None of the last 12 winners had won more than a third of chases contested. Eleven of the last 12 winners had won no more than once during the current season – 7 hadn’t won a single chase that term.
A hurdle run during the current season is not a bad sign – a hurdle run helps a trainer freshen his horse up and keep it ticking over without revealing its hand over fences. Nine of the last 12 winners ticked this particular box.
Your horse should have been on a racetrack at some point during the last 8 weeks – all of the last 12 winners conformed to that stat.
Show preference for an Irish-bred horse – they have won 9 of the last 12 renewals of the race.
Applying those stats won’t necessarily point you at a single horse – but it will split the field and give you a manageable shortlist of prime contenders on which you can focus more closely.
And if there’s a big-priced horse lurking on that list then don’t be afraid to back it each-way if conditions look set to suit. Don’t forget that bagging a big-priced winner is pretty much dependent on your willingness to back a horse at a big price...
Nick Pullen is the statistical analyst behind Winning Race Profiles – a subscription service that seeks to find winners via the stats. For details go to: www.winningraceprofiles.co.uk