Action from the 2023 Grand National Festival
Action from the 2023 Grand National Festival

Grand National tips: Trends and stats guide to Saturday's Aintree marathon

We highlight the key stats from the last 10 editions of the Randox Grand National at Aintree, unveiling the importance of age, odds, stamina and more.

What is the perfect age for a Grand National horse?

Four eight-year-olds have won in the past 10 renewals of the Randox Grand National, with nine-year-olds Rule The World and Tiger Roll also scoring in the same period.

Before that no eight-year-old had prevailed since Party Politics in 1992, but the swing towards younger runners took another turn 12 months ago when Noble Yeats became the first seven-year-old winner since Bogskar right back in 1940.

Three horses aged 11 hit the target at the beginning of this admittedly small 10-year sample, namely Neptune Collonges, Auroras Encore and Pineau De Re.

With such a huge prize pot, the Grand National now attracts classier and therefore slightly younger and progressive horses than in years gone by, and fancied runners Mr Incredible, Gaillard Du Mesnil and Capodanno - all trained by Willie Mullins of course - are among those bidding to make it two in a row for the seven-year-old brigade.

How important is weight carried in a modern-day Grand National?

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 and Minella Times sneaking in under a feather weight (10-3 and respective BHA marks 137 and 146).

Seemingly gone are the days of a 'golden ratings band', and horses need to be rated 140-plus just to be making the final field these days. Indeed, the top three in the weights, Any Second Now, 2022 winner Noble Yeats and Galvin are all relatively well fancied towards the head of the betting market this year.

Carrying over 11-00 is certainly no barrier to success, as was considered the case for many years.

Such is the quality in the 2023 renewal, even the three horses rated 155, namely Coko Beach, Longhouse Poet and Gaillard Du Mesnil are set to carry just 11-0.

Do favourites have a good record at Aintree?

Starting Prices of 4/1 (Tiger Roll, the only favourite or joint-favourite to win recently) right out to 66/1 (Auroras Encore) have returned successful over the past 10 years, but the average SP of the winner is 27/1, with six of the 10 shorter than 33/1.

A run of four relatively short-priced winners (14/1, 10/1, 4/1 fav and 11/1) was blown out of the water by 50/1 hero Noble Yeats 12 months ago, although - expanding the brief slightly - there have only been five 100/1 winners of the National all told and Mon Mome (2009) is the only one of those since Foinavon in 1967.


Is previous experience over the Grand National fences a positive?

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

Tiger Roll had obviously won on his first go over fences prior to following up for a famous double in 2019, and the 2017 hero One For Arthur had finished fifth in the Becher Chase earlier in the same season he won.

Pineau De Re was the horse who tipped up in the Becher the year before he entered Aintree folklore in 2014, and aside from this trio the winners have been having their first look at the Grand National course, which must bode well for Corach Rambler, Mr Incredible, Gaillard Du Mesnil, Le Milos and Rachael Blackmore's mount Aint That A Shame, among others.

How crucial a factor is proven stamina?

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

However, it’s well worth pointing out that three of the most recent 10 National winners had yet to win a chase over 3m or beyond, Rule The World something of an anomaly as he'd actually not won a chase of any description.

Minella Times had only won a couple of times over fences, those races run over 2m4f and 2m6f, while Noble Yeats’ sole success as a chaser was achieved over the extended 2m2f at Galway the previous October.

So while the proven staying chase form of Gaillard Du Mesnil, Delta Work and Galvin will be highlighted as a significant positive, perhaps a horse like Vanillier fits the mould of a more recent National winner as his stamina is hardly in question from his hurdling days, and he could prove to be well handicapped now upped significantly in trip as a chaser, his only success over fences so far coming at 2m6f.


There is no perfect formula (hold the front page!) but the general trend - since the considerable adaptations were made to the fences and overall distance reduced by a couple of furlongs - sees younger, less exposed horses taking Grand National glory and while it's a 7-3 split in the last 10 when it comes to carrying under-over 11-00 in weight, a relatively low rating and an improving horse is always preferable in just about every handicap race in all forms of the game.

With eight-year-olds (and the odd seven-year-old) doing so well in recent years, it's tempting to stick to that age bracket, and the eyecatching eight-year-old with a good number of chase starts (9) to his name also 'qualifies' on account of being a proven stayer, having won the 2021 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle.

VANILLIER, set for a first spin in the National, is also rated in the 140s (147, just 2lb higher than his Irish mark) and is around the ideal price too at 20/1 generally.

He comes into the race on the back of an encouraging, half-length second to solid Graded-race yardstick Kemboy in the Bobbyjo Chase at Fairyhouse, which has been a decent prep for Irish horses over the years, and on top of this his trainer Gavin Cromwell has had nine horses finish inside the first three from just 14 runners at Aintree over the years.

Published at 1115 BST on 14/04/23

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