Grand National stats guide: Statistical trends and tips for who to back at Aintree

Auroras Encore's trainer Sue Smith knows what a National winner looks like
Auroras Encore's trainer Sue Smith knows what a National winner looks like

Matt Brocklebank highlights the key stats from the last 10 renewals of the Randox Health Grand National at Aintree, unveiling the importance of age, odds, proven stamina and more.

Age

Two eight-year-olds have won in the past three years, with nine-year-old Rule The World scoring in between that pair. Before that no eight-year-old had prevailed since Party Politics in 1992.

Horses aged 11 and nine have the slight edge in this look at the past decade, with three such winners falling into each bracket, plus a couple of 10-year-olds.

With such a huge prize pot, the Grand National now attracts much classier - and therefore younger - horses than in years gone by, and fancied runners Anibale Fly and Tiger Roll are among those bidding to make it three in four years for eight-year-olds.

Weight/Rating

A wide range of weights and ratings are represented on the recent roll of honour, with class act Many Clouds able to defy 11-9 (from an official BHA rating of 160) and Auroras Encore sneaking in under a feather weight (10-3/BHA mark 137) two years before him.

Seemingly gone are the days of a 'golden ratings band', with two horses rated in the 130s, four in the 140s, three in the 150s, plus the aforementioned 160-rated winner.

Carrying over 11-00 is also no barrier to success, as was considered the case for many years, and it's hard to lend much weight to the fact that those rated in the 140s have just come out best over the past 10 seasons.

Such is the quality in the 2018 renewal, even the five horses rated 150, namely Tiger Roll, Regal Encore and Vieux Lion Rouge are set to carry under 11-0 if top weight Minella Rocco stands his ground at the final declaration stage.

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Odds

Starting Prices of 7/1 right out to 100/1 have returned successful 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.

There have been three 25/1 winners and they all come in the five most recent editions and at the time of writing there are half a dozen horses in that area of the market, including Seeyouatmidnight, Ucello Conti, Vicente and I Just Know.

National course experience

Perhaps a little surprising is that only three have come into the race with experience over the unique National fences to their name, and one of those fell at the first attempt.

Mon Mome was 10th in Comply Or Die's National the year before he won it and last year's hero One For Arthur had finished fifth in the Becher Chase earlier in the campaign.

Pineau De Re was the horse who tipped up in the Becher the season before he entered Aintree folklore and aside from this trio the winners have been having their first look at the Grand National course.

Stamina (won chase at 3m+)

It almost goes without saying when referring to a handicap chase over a distance just beyond four and a quarter miles, but stamina is essential.

This is highlighted by the fact that only one (Rule The World) of the past 10 National winners came into the race having not already won a chase over 3m, or further - the horse in question was a bit of a 'freak' as he'd not won a chase of any kind.

Among those who do not strictly 'qualify' on account of unproven stamina on the racecourse are Seeyouatmidnight, Ucello Conti, Alpha Des Obeaux and Captain Redbeard.

Chase starts

At least 10 chase starts has been the minimum requirement for National winners over the past decade.

There have been two winners with 10 outings over fences to their name, both coming in the past three years, and another couple with 12, plus one with 13 and two more with 14.

Neptune Collognes and Auroras Encore came along in back-to-back years with 27 and 23 chase starts to their name respectively prior to winning the big one, but generally the trend is for 10-14.

Antepost favourite Total Recall together with well-fancied trio Seeyouatmidnight, Pleasant Company and The Dutchman, all fall just short with nine outings in chases.

If the trend is leaning towards fewer chase starts, then the two this year to have had exactly 10 runs over fences are Virgilio and I Just Know.

CONCLUSION:

There is no perfect formula, unsurprisingly, but the general trend sees younger, less exposed horses taking Grand National glory and while it's a 5-5 split in the last 10 when it comes to carrying under/over 11-00 in weight, a low weight and an improving horse is always preferable in just about every handicap race in all forms of the game.

With eight-year-olds doing so well in recent years it's tempting to stick to that age group, and the one eight-year-old with exactly 10 chase starts to his name also 'qualifies' on account of being a proven stayer and set for a first spin in the National.

I JUST KNOW is also rated in the 140s (145) and is around the ideal price at 25/1. He comes into the race having won the North Yorkshire Grand National at Catterick in January and tuned up for Aintree with a pleasing run in a novice hurdle at Uttoxeter in March.

He represents Auroras Encore's trainer Sue Smith, who is adept at preparing staying chasers for the days that matter most, and the gelding's credentials appear solid.

Click on the image below to watch I Just Know's impressive Catterick success for FREE...

Sue Smith trained the National winner in 2013
Sue Smith trained the National winner in 2013

Past 10 Grand National winners and key stats

2017: One For Arthur

Age: 8

Weight: 10-11

Rating: 148

Odds: 14/1

National course experience: 5th in Becher

Stamina (won chase at 3m+): Yes

Chase starts: 10

One For Arthur

2016: Rule The World

Age: 9

Weight: 10-7

Rating: 148

Odds: 33/1

National course experience: None

Stamina (won chase at 3m+): No

Chase starts: 13

Rule The World

2015: Many Clouds

Age: 8

Weight: 11-9

Rating: 160

Odds: 25/1

National course experience: None

Stamina (won chase at 3m+): Yes

Chase starts: 10

Many Clouds
Many Clouds

2014: Pineau De Re

Age: 11

Weight: 10-6

Rating: 143

Odds: 25/1

National course experience: Fell in Becher

Stamina (won chase at 3m+): Yes

Chase starts: 14

Pineau De Re
Pineau De Re

2013: Auroras Encore

Age: 11

Weight: 10-3

Rating: 137

Odds: 25/1

National course experience: None

Stamina (won chase at 3m+): Yes

Chase starts: 23

Auroras Encore
Auroras Encore

2012: Neptune Collonges

Age: 11

Weight: 11-6

Rating: 157

Odds: 33/1

National course experience: None

Stamina (won chase at 3m+): Yes

Chase starts: 27

Neptune Collonges
Neptune Collonges

2011: Ballabriggs

Age: 10

Weight: 11-0

Rating: 150

Odds: 14/1

National course experience: None

Stamina (won chase at 3m+): Yes

Chase starts: 12

Ballabriggs
Ballabriggs

2010: Don’t Push It

Age: 10

Weight: 11-5

Rating: 153

Odds: 10/1 jt-fav

National course experience: None

Stamina (won chase at 3m+): Yes

Chase starts: 12

Don't Push It
Don't Push It

2009: Mon Mome

Age: 9

Weight: 11-0

Rating: 148

Odds: 100/1

National course experience: 10th in National

Stamina (won chase at 3m+): Yes

Chase starts: 24

Mon Mome
Mon Mome

2008: Comply Or Die

Age: 9

Weight: 10-9

Rating: 139

Odds: 7/1 jt-fav

National course experience: None

Stamina (won chase at 3m+): Yes

Chase starts: 14

Comply Or Die
Comply Or Die

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