The Grand National has for many years been the greatest Steeple Chasing spectacle in the world. However, due to recent changes to the handicap structure, it is now the greatest Handicap Steeple Chase world wide. These changes, coupled with fence alterations (mainly on the landing sides) mean that this great race is now contested by some of the best staying chasers in training. This was not the case a few years back.
Many punters believe that the National is run over 4 miles. In fact it is 4 miles, 2 furlongs & 74 yards. It really is about stamina as much as jumping, now the fences have been modified.
The field is restricted to a maximum of 40 runners which means it’s not looking good for Kerry Lee’s Bishops Road who currently needs 9 to drop to get a run or 2014 National winner, Pineau De Re, who needs 10 to withdraw.
Rain is forecast at Aintree from Monday right through to Thursday. Current going is on good side of soft, but if the forecast is right, it looks like the meeting could open up on Soft going. It is forecast to be drier on Friday and Saturday. Check out the latest Aintree Going and Weather here on JPFestival.com.
Last Years winner, Many Clouds was the first 8 year old to win since Bindaree in 2002 and Party Politics in 1992. So only two 8 year old winners in last 23 years. The following are 8 year olds plus 3 seven year olds so do we draw a line through them ? The trends would suggest so. Wonderful Charm, Gilgamboa , Ucello Conti , Unioniste , Le Reve , Onenightinvienna , The Last Samuri , View Lion Rouge , Pendre , Knock House & Bishops Road can go.
Amberleigh House was the last 12 year old to win in 2004. Before that we go back to Royal Athlete in 1995. So following this trend we should draw a line through these 12 year olds. On his Own, Aachen, Vics Canvas & Pineau De Re.
It is important to note that in recent years, as the quality of horses has improved, weights carried by recent winners are several pounds higher than average winners. Many Clouds carried 11st 9lbs last year. Neptune Collonges 11st 6lbs in 2012, Ballabriggs 11st in 2011 & Don’t Push It 11st 5 lbs in 2010.
Many Clouds has to carry just a pound more than last year. As a nine year old he is well up to the task. I am concerned that he is again ridden by Leighton Aspell, but purely from a luck point of view. Leighton is seeking a hat trick of wins in the National. Top man for the job for sure and good luck to him. Although he is riding probably the best horse in the race, you need an element of luck to win a National. Fallers in front of you, loose horses, danger of being brought down. Will his luck hold up a third time ? His horsemanship is certainly up for it.
If the ground is no worse than soft, I will be surprised if the winner does come from the top dozen in the handicap.
My subscribers cashed in when I tipped the winner of this years Irish Grand National, Rogue Angle at 33/1 (backed into 16/1 at the off).
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