Can the 10-year trends help unravel the National?
Can the 10-year trends help unravel the National?

Randox Grand National 2021: Trends Guide for the Aintree feature on Saturday April 10

Ben Linfoot looks through the last 10 Grand National winners to see who the recent trends point to ahead of the 2021 renewal at Aintree on Saturday.

As a punter I’ve always approached trends with a certain degree of scepticism. On the one hand if something keeps happening in the same race every year I’m intrigued – is there a reason for that? – while on the other I’ve always been loathe to rule out a horse on the basis of something that has nothing to do with them and their particular profile – e.g age. So what if no 12-year-old has won this race for 17 years? All those 12-year-olds that failed weren’t as lightly-raced as this one, were they?!

But some races lend themselves to trends and the Grand National is certainly one of those. If nothing else they can be useful to help in your own selection process – after all, we’ve all got 40 horses to go through.

It's a second successive Randox Health Grand National win for Tiger Roll
Tiger Roll won successive Grand Nationals in 2018-19

With the recent modifications to the start, the distance and the fences, the modern Grand National looks a very different test now to the Nationals of only 15 years ago. So, I’ve kept things simple and gone through the last 10 renewals, making a note of some key criteria that you can see laid out below.

From left to right we have the year, winner, age, sex, weight carried, official rating, starting price, record over the National fences, record at Aintree as a whole, days since last run and finishing position/race, number of career starts over fences, where they were bred, the furthest distance they had won over (and placed over, if different), and number of career falls over fences.

Last 10 Winners

2019 – TIGER ROLL (9yo gelding, 11st 5lb, OR 159, 4/1f) – National fences 1/1, Aintree 1 from two (won National at previous year’s meeting), previous run 24 days won X-Country CF, 19 chase starts, Irish-bred (Authorized), furthest won over: 4m2.5f, furthest placed over: no further, career falls over fences: 0.

2018 – TIGER ROLL (8yo g, 10st 13lb, OR 150, 10/1) – National fences 0/0, Aintree 0/1 (ran at 2016 meeting), previous run 31 days won X-Country CF, 16 chase starts, Irish-bred (Authorized), furthest won over: 4m, furthest placed over: no further, career falls over fences: 0.

2017 – ONE FOR ARTHUR (8yo g, 10st 11lb, OR 148, 14/1) – National fences 0/1 (5th Becher), Aintree 0/1 (ran at 2015 meeting), previous run 84 days won Warwick Classic Chase, 10 chase starts, Irish-bred (Milan), furthest won over: 3m5f, furthest placed over: no further, career falls over fences: 0.

2016 – RULE THE WORLD (9yo g, 10st 7lb, OR 148, 33/1) – National fences 0/0, Aintree 0/0, previous run 34 days 4th Naas chase, 13 chase starts, GB-bred (Sulamani), furthest won over: 3m (p2p), furthest placed over: 3m5f, career falls over fences: 0.

2015 – MANY CLOUDS (8yo g, 11st 9lb, OR 160, 25/1) – National fences 0/0, Aintree 0 from 4 (ran at the meeting 3 times), previous run 29 days 6th Gold Cup, 10 chase starts, Irish-bred (Cloudings), furthest won over: 3m2f, furthest placed over: no further, career falls over fences: 0.

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2014 – PINEAU DE RE (11yo g, 10st 6lb, OR 143, 25/1) – National fences 0/1 (fell in Becher), Aintree 0/0, previous run 23 days 3rd Pertemps, 14 chase starts, French-bred (Maresca Sorrento), furthest won over: 3m4f, furthest placed over: no further, career falls over fences: 1.

2013 – AURORAS ENCORE (11yo g, 10st 3lb, OR 137, 66/1) – National fences 0/0, Aintree 1 from 4 (won at 2008 meeting, ran at 2009 meeting), previous run 35 days 5th Premier Chase Kelso, 23 chase starts, Irish-bred (Second Empire), furthest won over 3m0.5f, furthest placed over: 4m, career falls over fences: 3.

2012 – NEPTUNE COLLONGES (11yo g, 11st 6lb, OR 157, 33/1) – National fences 0/0, Aintree 0/1 (placed at 2006 meeting), previous run 56 days 2nd GN Trial Haydock, 27 chase starts, French-bred (Dom Alco), furthest won over: 3m1.5f, furthest placed over: 3m3.5f, career falls over fences: 2.

2011 – BALLABRIGGS (10yo g, 11st 0lb, OR 150, 14/1) – National fences 0/0, Aintree 0/1, previous run 35 days 2nd Premier Chase Kelso, 12 chase starts, Irish-bred (Presenting), furthest won over 3m1.5f, furthest placed over: no further, career falls over fences: 1.

2010 – DON’T PUSH IT (10yo g, 11st 5lb, OR 153, 10/1jf) – National fences 0/0, Aintree 1 from 4 (won at the 2009 meeting), previous run 23 days PU handicap hurdle, 13 chase starts, Irish-bred (Old Vic), furthest won over: 3m1f, furthest placed over: 3m3.5f, career falls over fences: 2.

The wait is over for Tony McCoy on Don't Push It
The wait is over for Tony McCoy on Don't Push It in 2010

Strongest Trends

  • Age – 10/10 between 8yo and 11yo inclusive
  • Sex – 10/10 geldings
  • Stamina – 10/10 had won over at least 3m (8/10 had at least placed over 3m3.5f or further)
  • National fences – 9/10 had not won over National fences before. 7/10 had not run over National fences before
  • Official rating – 8/10 rated between 148 and 160
  • DSLR – 8/10 23-35 days since last run
  • Aintree experience – 7/10 had run at the meeting before
  • Experience – 7/10 had 10-16 chase starts
  • Breeding – 7/10 were Irish bred
  • Price – 7/10 SP was 14/1 or higher

10/10 Trends

For the purposes of this piece - and coming up with a trends pick as well as a 1-2-3-4 - I’m not going to ignore any 10/10 trends so out go all the horses not aged between 8yo and 11yo inclusive and out go all the mares, as well.

We lose:

Definitly Red
Vieux Lion Rouge
The Long Mile
Sub Lieutenant
Magic Of Light
Shattered Love
Cabaret Queen

Don't miss Ben Linfoot's exhaustive preview
Don't miss Ben Linfoot's exhaustive preview

Stamina – won over at least three miles

Despite the distance of the Grand National shortening to four miles two and a half furlongs the evidence suggests the race is more of a staying test than ever and I’m keen to lean heavily on the strong stamina trends. 10/10 had won over three miles or more…

We lose:

Balko Des Flos
Class Conti
Minella Times
Kauto Riko

Stamina – placed over at least 3m3.5f

I’m very keen to weed out the suspect stayers and the trend where eight of the last 10 winners had won or been placed over three miles, three and a half furlongs or further looks relevant. Only Ballabriggs and Many Clouds failed on this trend and applying it this year results in a mighty cull.

We lose:

Bristol De Mai
The Storyteller
Chris’s Dream
Lake View Lad
Tout Est Permis
Mister Malarky
Any Second Now
Alpha Des Obeaux
Ok Corral
Milan Native
Give Me A Copper
Hogan’s Height
Double Shuffle
Ami Desbois

JOCKEY CAM: On board with Bristol de Mai and Daryl Jacob as they prepare for the Grand National

Official Rating – Between 148 and 160 inclusive

There’s another 8/10 trend I’m happy to apply and that’s the rating band of 148-160. Only Pineau De Re and Auroras Encore didn’t qualify from the last 10 winners here and most of those outside of that perimeter in this year’s renewal have already fallen short on other criteria. There is one, though…

We lose:

Some Neck

Trends Shortlist

We are left with:

Yala Enki
Burrows Saint
Acapella Bourgeois
Anibale Fly
Kimberlite Candy
Lord Du Mesnil
Potters Corner
Cloth Cap

Grand National | Aintree Course Walk with Daryl Jacob

Applying the final trends

I’m not keen on using the Days Since Last Run trend, even though 23-35 days resulted in an 8/10 score. It’s a very small timeframe of less than two weeks and a lot of horses missed out only by a week or two, so I’ll let it slide. If you were to apply it at this stage you are left with one horse – Cloth Cap (35 days off) – so feel free to back the favourite and walk away now!

Cloth Cap makes the 1-2-3-4 verdict, though, as he’s a nine-year-old gelding, has been placed over four miles in a Scottish National, is rated 148 (in this race), has never seen the Aintree fences (like 7/10 winners), is in the 10-16 chase starts bracket (with 11) and is Irish bred. He hasn’t run at the meeting before, however – 7/10 winners have.

Kimberlite Candy also makes the final four. He too hasn’t run at the meeting, but he’s a nine-year-old gelding, he's won over 3m5f in the Warwick Classic Chase, he's rated 153, he's Irish-bred, he has had 16 chase starts and has never won over the National fences, even if he has been second in two Becher Chases. We won’t hold that against him.

Ballyoptic comes out of the trends guide well even though he’s tackled the Aintree fences twice with little success due to a fall and an 11th. He is an 11-year-old gelding, has been placed in a Scottish National over four miles, has run at the meeting before, is only two chases out of the 10-16 bracket with 18 fencing starts and he’s Irish-bred.

But the trends pick is POTTERS CORNER. He’s an 11-year-old gelding, has won the Welsh National over the extended 3m6f and is rated 149. He’s never run over the Aintree fences, is Irish-bred, has had 11 chase starts and he’s run at the meeting before when he was third in the Grade 2 bumper behind Barters Hill in 2015. At the current 25/1, it also looks unlikely that his SP will fall below 14s.

Trends Verdict

(Best prices at 1530 BST 06/04/2021)

  1. POTTERS CORNER (25/1)
  2. Cloth Cap (4/1)
  3. Kimberlite Candy (12/1)
  4. Ballyoptic (100/1)

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