Here we go, the 2018 Randox Health Grand National is nearly upon us in what is sure to be another huge occasion at Aintree. With bookmakers celebrating Patrick Reed’s victory at Augusta last weekend, they’re bracing themselves for one of the biggest days in the calendar, expecting an estimated £200m to be staked on the race, across an estimated 35 million punts.
With Milo Mackean and Tom Shaw hanging their heads in shame after their previous Champions League and Premier League forecast, we’re now in a slightly tricky situation when faced with making Grand National predictions. Never fear, after proving myself at Cheltenham Festival, I’ll be on-hand to navigate you through the 40 runners and riders.
Ultimately the names of the horses, jockey’s colours and lucky numbers are likely to play a crucial role in some people’s selections on the day. However, with such a big field, statistics are an easy way to narrow down potential selections and a great way to sound like a seasoned gambler.
Odds - Starting prices of 7/1 right out to 100/1 have delivered success over the past 10 years, but stripping away those two extreme examples leaves a range of just 10/1 to 33/1, with half of the 10 priced either 25/1 or 33/1.
Stamina - It goes without saying that to jump 30 fences over a distance of four and a quarter miles you’ve got to have a bit of stamina. Therefore, you’d be looking to back horses that have won a handicap chase over 3m+ and as a result you can discount Seeyouatmidnight, Ucello Conti, Alpha des Obeaux and Captain Redbeard.
Chase starts - At least 10 chase starts has been the minimum requirement for Grand National winners over the past decade. Ante-post favourite Total Recall together with well-fancied trio Seeyouatmidnight, Pleasant Company and The Dutchman all just fall short with nine outings in chases.
Age - With such a huge prize pot of £1 million, the Grand National now attracts much classier and therefore younger horses. Two eight-year olds and one nine-year-old have won in the past three years. 27 of the 35 finishers over the last two Grand Nationals were aged under 10.
There is no perfect formula, but the likelihood is that Seeyouatmidnight will win. That said, the general trend sees younger, less exposed horses taking Grand National glory, and a low weight, improving horse is always preferable in just about every handicap race in all forms of the game.
From looking at the statistics I’m keen to throw some shrapnel at I Just Know each-way at 25/1, he comes into the race having won the North Yorkshire Grand National in Catterick in January. He had the run of the race that day, but he has since fared well over hurdles and looks suited to an extreme test of stamina.
I’m also siding with Tiger Roll after he dominated in the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase on the second day of the Cheltenham Festival. With Tiger Roll’s trainer Gordon Elliot on absolute fire after picking up the accolade as top trainer of the Cheltenham Festival, 12/1 isn’t putting me off some each-way money!
With the chance to write myself in Mongoose folklore it would be rude not to give my forecast:
1st I Just Know
2nd Tiger Roll
3rd The Last Samuri
4th Shantou Flyer
Tweet in your winning betting slips to @mongooseagency… Best of luck to all runners and riders!
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