Today is Saturday 8th April 2017 and it is the day of one of the world’s most watched and special event in sport, the Grand National race. It is the penultimate race in the Aintree Festival, which we have been covering since Thursday and is the most eagerly anticipated of all horse races because it is a special race. But we sat here at Severn Sport and thought about how do you pick a winner? Who are the horses to watch? Well here is the answer. Our man Ryan Butler has assessed this years runners and presents to you the guide on how to pick your horse in the national.
** This guide is brought to you in association with our newest sponsor, Fantini Pizza. Operating out of a converted horse box Fantini Pizza make homemade stonebaked pizzas within 2 minutes. Frighteningly quick and as frighteningly tasty! Please visit their Facebook page and their website www.littlefantini.co.uk **
Morning everybody. The guide I have made here is to give you an insight into which horses I think will see money thrown in their direction and to also explain the thought processes into picking a winner. Having working in a high street bookmakers for the best part of 2 years I have seen different techniques and workings out into a) who to back and b) how to justify your selection. The latter lends itself to those who think they know what they are doing and try to blag it…we all know that one guy.
Anyway, the most common reason for betting on a horse in the Grand National is the name. Here I will talk you through how important the name is in picking your fancy. Firstly, we have the horses who name consist of people’s names so therefore obviously someone with that name has to back them….you know, cause it’s the law! I have had a look at this years entrants and if you are going by name you want to look at:
Benbens, Doctor Harper, Drop Out Joe, One For Arthur, Potters Cross, Sambremont, Viva Steve
These 7 horses have direct names within the name so expect to see these selections on betting slips across the country especially in the hands of Arthur’s, Steve’s and Joe’s. One thing that always attracts interests in the name is colours. If colours appear in the name you know it attracts attention. There are two horses in this year’s field containing colours (and they both are much fancied) and they are:
Blaklion, Definitely Red
Now, I am not being sexist in anyway but this is an observation over the multiple Grand Nationals I worked but a lot of women don’t know what they are doing when it comes to betting and will pick names based on phrases or sayings. Some men do too but it is mostly women who pick by the name so the next list is horses who’s names are phrases or sayings:
Cause for Causes, Cocktails at Dawn, Goodtoknow, Measureofmydreams, More of That, Perfect Candidate, Pleasant Company, The Last Samuri, The Young Master, Wonderful Charm
In this country there are horse racing fans and non horse racing fans a like who love a foreign sounding name. It’s exotic. It gives the impression that this foreign horse is going to be amazing based on their name. Like how in football foreign players are better than English players. But most of the “foreign” sounding horses are usually sent over from the Irish trainers but they sound fancy. Us Brits love fancy sounding horses. Anyway, here are some of the more exotic names:
Houblon des Obeaux, La Vaticane, Le Mercurey, Raz de Maree, Roi des Francs, Saphir du Rheu, Tenor Nivernais, Ucello Conti, Vicente, Vieux Lion Rouge
That is the name’s comprehensively covered. Some people pick by colours of the silks too which is fair enough, you do what you do and good luck to you. There are a mixture of fair-weather horse racing fans and hardcore horse racing fans who follow jockeys. When it doubt you can’t go wrong with a good jockey, right? Well here is a selection of some of the horses with jockeys on that will attract a lot of attention:
More of That (Barry Geraghty)
Saphir du Rheu (Sam Twiston-Davies)
Roi des Francs (Jack Kennedy)
Wonderful Charm (Katie Walsh)
Blaklion (Noel Fehily)
Le Mercurey (Sean Bowen)
Regal Encore (Robbie Power)
Vieux Lion Rouge (Tom Scudamore)
Pleasant Company (Ruby Walsh)
Lord Windermere (Leighton Aspell)
Saint Are (Davy Russell)
Rogue Angel (Bryan Cooper)
Cocktails at Dawn (Nico de Boinville)
Obviously the list is a long one for you but let me try and explain to you some of the pedigree these jockeys have.
Barry Geraghty is one of the best grade 1 jockeys going meaning he rides some of the best horses in the best race (he is on a really good horse in More of That).
Jack Kennedy is an interesting one for me, he has had an unbelievable year. He has ridden winners all over, including Cheltenham and he is only 17 years of age. Definitely one to watch.
Katie Walsh is the best female jockey and the best chance this year of a female winner in the national so she will be doing it for the girls! A very good jockey.
Robbie Power has a knack of riding winners at the big meetings, and he chalked up another couple of big wins yesterday at the same festival on Pingshou & Fox Norton. He is flying right now.
Ruby Walsh will be the new AP McCoy. As in people knew the jockey so backed the horse, often leading to McCoy’s horses going off shorter than they should do. Walsh will fall into the same rhythm. He is a world class jockey and probably the best on the circuit. He chose Pleasant Company over other horses. That speaksvolumes.
Leighton Aspell has won the Grand National twice in the last three years (on Pineau De Re in 2014 & Many Clouds in 2015) so he has pedigree and a proven track record in this race. He is also on a seasoned veteran and former Gold Cup winner in Lord Windermere. A perfect partnership of proven winners?
Right, names (tick) and jockeys (tick). That is the two main things that attract attention when selecting a winner of the national, but if that hasn’t done it for you here are some facts about the race to help you fine that winner:
- Only 5 favourites have won in last 25 years, 0 favourites in last 7 races
- Since turn of decade two winners have been 33/1 and two have been 25/1
- Only one winner of bigger price since 2010 (Auroras Encore at 66/1 in 2013)
- Mouse Morris the reigning champion trainer, David Mullins the champion jockey. Mullins is on Stellar Notion and Morris has Rogue Angel and Thunder and Roses in this year’s race.
- Three of last 5 winners have been 11 years old, Many Clouds in 2015 was 8, Rule The World in 2016 was 9.
- The Grand National leading owner is Trevor Hemmings who has won the race on three occasions, Hedgehunter (2005), Ballabriggs (2011) & Many Clouds (2015). He has Vicente running this year.
Let the games begin! Good luck to everyone.