So you want to find the 2018 Grand National winner but don’t know where to start? Well, you could do what my race lucky, once-a-year punting wife does and nail the winner (to my despair, but ultimate benefit as she gets a tremendous takeaway in) just by picking the names you like the most. Or, if you prefer the long way around to trying to unearth the Holy Grail of horse betting, there are a whole host of ways to do so…
How about the Age of the horse? In recent decades, the golden window for a Grand National winner is between 8-12 years old. Amberleigh House was the last 12yo to win all the way back in 2004 though and since then, 10 of the last 13 winners were aged between 8-10, with a three year cluster of 11yos winning between 2012 and 2014. No 7yo has won the National since 1940, which doesn’t bode well for the gamble on Baie Des Iles. Raz De Maree, Maggio and Bless The Wings are too old on the stats at 13 years old, with no such aged winner since 1923. Since 1990, only two 12yos have managed to win, which is a negative for backers of Carlingford Lough, Gas Line Boy, Saint Are, Lord Windermere and Double Ross.
Overall, you’d like your horse aged between 8 and 11. Though it is worth noting of course, that horses of all shapes and trends profile can hit the frame in the National, so you can forgive a horse for not ticking a box or two if the each way terms and price is right.
What about Weight and Class? The two go hand in hand in handicap races, but history shows us how important weight is in the Grand National. Since and including 1988, only seven horses have carried 11st or more to victory. 4 of the last 5 winners carried 10st 11lb or less, the outstanding Many Clouds the only exception. With that in mind, you can actually discount a large portion of the field on this basis alone.
In terms of “Class”, the quality of the Grand National is undoubtedly getting better, but the fact remains that horses above the 150+ mark on official ratings do struggle to get into the famous Aintree winners’ enclosure. Only two winners since the late 1980s have managed to win from higher than 153, which is a concern for the top 9 horses on the 40-strong list of declarations for the £1,000,000 Aintree showpiece event. The Grand National Trends also lend themselves well to experienced chasers, who’ve won over 3m+, while all winners in the past 27 years had won a Class 1 or Class 2 chase at some stage; which is a big negative for Children’s List and Final Nudge, though the latter named was 3rd in the Welsh National.
All in all, you can get bogged down by stats and trends for this race in terms of finding the winner, but in truth, horses from all walks of life make it into the top 4-6 places, which gives punters a real chance at some handsome each way returns. It can pay to have a few horses on your side with that in mind. Here is my own shortlist for the 2018 Randox Health Grand National. As usual, I’ll be shocked to my very core (ish!!) if the winner isn’t amongst this lot…
I Just Know
Houblon Des Obeaux
Jokes aside, we have a very open and tough race to predict here. But I’m leaning toward solid staying handicap chasers and well-weighted soft ground lovers within the right age bracket, who will hopefully stay out of trouble and keeping finding for pressure. Hopefully, one or two of the above can negotiate a safe passage and put themselves in a position to show their best!
Odds are provided at time of writing, please check your betslip to confirm they have not changed before betting.
Also published on Medium.