It is Grand National time again.

I always dread the thought of
my other half picking the winner
with her one bet of the year
to bag the "Who's the best tipster
in the house" bragging rights for the
year to come.

I'd gladly take her on over 100 bets
but on a single event especially like
the National luck plays a much greater role.

The race this year is interesting
as it has thrown up a bit of debate
about how entrants are decided upon
for future years.

This year we have the winners of
the Haydock Grand National Trial
( Bishops Road ) and The Beecher Chase
(Highland Lodge) looking likely not to
make the 40 runner cut.

Can I mention Highland Lodge without reminding
you that Guy official tipped him to full members
here for the Beechers at 33/1.
Nope it seems not :)

Next year the winners of these races
may get automatic right to enter the National.

Another possible muted idea was that of past
winners getting automatic entry too.

This seems less likely after the boss at Aintree John Baker said.

"You could win a National at eight and still be
racing five years later when rated down in the 120s.
Would you really want one like that in?"

A reasonable fair point but I'd say the past winner idea
could work better if restricted to say just the last two
or three years or so.
I think connections could be trusted not to risk entering
a horse incapable.

The upside for racing would be a slightly more populous event
with names of horses the great unwashed will be more prone
to recognise.

Racing as a sport suffers a little from that compared to the likes of soccer.
Soccer team brands have decades to build tribal loyalties.
Horses have an obvious short lifespan.

The Grand National is for many their first toe dip into the world of racing.
Increase the number of people with an interest in the National
and out the other end will churn out more people with a longer term
interest in horse racing.

I guess life in general will always be a bit of debate
between tradition and modernisation.

One thing I'd change myself is SP.
Last year it was a whopping 65% over round on the Grand National.
How on earth can treatment like that to punters be of benefit
in encouraging a longer term interest in racing?

What Are We Doing For The Grand National?

Guy will have a write up in his Saturday message no doubt.
Book in at
if you want it.

During the week he has been doing a bit of research
on the race for full members here sending out different
bits over different days.

He has concocted a pretty complicated ratings system
awarding points for certain elements of form.

Similar last year did semi ok.
It did not pick up the winner Many Clouds
but his nine horse short list did highlight
2nd and 3rd horses Saint Are and Monbeg Dude
who returned 13.48 and 16.02 in the BETFAIR
exchange place markets.

I guess there will always be a degree of personal
choice with such things.

Some may be prone to go full hog to find the one winner from forty horses.
Others may see logic in aiming for a more achievable place.

Anyhow I have copied below for you some of Guy's
early thoughts info on the National provided to full
members this week.

He say's that tomorrow Friday he will give full members
all the ratings scores to see which horses score well or not.
So I don't have those in time for this free newsletter.
But I will pop them on the blog by 5pm Friday.

In Saturday's message I presume will come his final sum up
of what he feels might offer a bit of value in the race.

Give me a quid to bet with and I'd guess if he does have an
official tip on Saturday that it may be on a different race.

His official tips are all about finding good value and not about
a sole focus on maximum media hype races.

[just ask for finer detail results if ever desired ]

Best wishes and good luck for the National
I hope the info below is a bit of extra help if
you like to pick your own.

If you prefer to read to Guy's personal final opinion
on the day just book in at

Site Admin

#1 - Race Statistics

Horses aged 6 and 7 are far too young
They haven't won since 1940 and few finish the race

Horses aged 8 need looking at
Only 4 of the last 38 winners were 8 year olds
If you bet an 8 year old make sure it is actually 8
Be aware some horses are younger than their age
If Foaled after the day of the race they are really under 8
Most 8yo winners were foaled early before the race
Those foaled in May or later look opposable
They are just 7 and a few months old
Horses aged 13 can also be opposed with some confidence

Older horses dominated recently.

2010 The 1st 2nd 3rd 5th 6th 7th 8th were aged 10 or more
2011 The 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th were aged 10 or more
2012 The 1st 4th 5th 6th 7th were aged 10 or more
2013 The 1st 2nd 4th 5th 6th were aged 10 or more
2014 The 1st 2nd 6th were aged 10 or more
2015 The 3rd 4th were aged 10 or more

The last 27 winners had the following runs that season
4 7 4 3 4 6 4 5 6 6 5 9 6 6 6 6 5 4 5 6 7 3 5 4 6 7 6
Horses with 1-2-3 runs that season underperform
None have won with just 1 run
Only Miinnehoma 1994 won with 2 runs that year
He had 9 Chase starts and 17 career runs
I can live with 3 runs if the horse is unexposed
If under 25 National Hunt runs and 9-20 chase runs

Runs Since January 1st that year
Past winners had the following runs
2 2 3 2 3 2 3 1 3 3 2 2 2 2 2 4 3 2 3 3 4
20 of the last 21 winners had at least 2 runs since Jan 1
Horses with under 2 runs in this period perform badly

It is very important to have a recent race
The last 25 winners were absent this many days
29 23 35 56 35 23 21 41 32 27 48 28 20
25 42 20 24 35 23 16 35 23 35 23 25

The last 25 winners all ran within 56 days
Look at the absences of the Runner Ups
56 24 49 30 45 49 25 27 21 22 22 100 35
23 63 345 28 16 44 18 42 21 23 23 102
20 of the past 25 Runners Ups also ran within 7 weeks

Class is important in a National Winner
13 of the last 15 winners won in Listed Grade or higher
Ballabriggs (2011) did not do that
He had won in Class 2 race but hadn't been tested in higher
I'd argue he should be seen as a Graded winner
He won the 2010 Kim Muir at the Cheltenham Festival
It was a Class 2 handicap but he did that with Topweight
That was more than worthy or a Graded win
Pineau De Re (2014) did not do that either
He was 2nd in a Grade race though
24 of the last 25 had raced in Graded Class before
The exception was Ballabriggs (2011)
Again I make the point he could be seen differently
The vast majority of the runner ups also did this
The ones that did not were mainly lightly raced
Horses with 25 + runs must have past Graded Form
Having No Graded form is a serious worry

Do not rule out highweights who scored well recently
Many have won before and the fences are easier now

Chasing Experience is of obvious importance
The previous 24 winners had the following Chase runs
10 11 23 27 12 12 24 14 13 10 11 37 41 14 12 24 17 25 10 23 16 9 14 28 14
Least Experienced Chaser was Miinnehoma in 1994
He had 9 Chase runs and 3 other winners had 10 Chase starts
Horses with Under 9 Chase runs are unlike any past winners

I looked at the Chase runs of the last 20 Runner Ups
21 22 9 11 10 24 18 11 13 15 23 14 20 10 11 9 19 14 9 8 24 32 22 8
I would be wary of any horses with under 10 Chase starts
10 of the last 15 winners had just 10-15 previous Chase start

We have to bear in mind the race is changing
The 2012 4th (Cappa Blue) had just 6 chase runs
Mely Moss was 2nd in 2000 with 5 Chase starts
Lord Atterbury was 3rd in 2004 with 4 Chase starts
The race has been maid easier too

21 of the last 22 winners had 3-4-5-6-7 Chase wins before
They had 5 3 5 11 4 4 3 5 4 3 3 5 7 3 5 6 5 7 3 5 6 4 5 Chase wins

You want a decent Jumper
15 of the last 16 winners had not fallen more than twice before
This was the only statistic the 66/1 winner in 2013 failed
I wouldn't rule a horse out on this statistic
Every winner since 1970 had won over at least 3m
The record of horses from 2m 4f or shorter is poor
This is worse when its a Chase over 2m 4f or shorter

I Looked at horses from handicap chases over 2m 6f or less
No horse won doing that with 21 or more runs
Recent winners had ran in the following Handicap Chases
1 9 16 9 7 5 21 8 8 6 6 24 33 7 12 14 12 15 7 16 7 4 7
Every winner bar 1 ran in at least 4 Handicap Chases
Horses running in 5-12 Handicap Chases did well
They won 15 of the last 23 renewals
Number of Handicap Chases won
Recent winners had won the following Handicap Chases
1 2 3 3 3 1 2 1 3 3 2 3 6 0 4 4 5 4 3 3 1 1 2
No past winner had won more than 6 Handicap Chases
Seasonal Debutants should be avoided
Not having headgear is preferable to having it
Past Winners had the following number of wins that year
3 1 0 0 2 0 1 1 0 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 0 1 3 1 1 1 0
There were 7 winners coming from Cheltenham
The 1994 1996 2015 winners came from the Gold Cup
Bindaree 2002 came from the Trophy Handicap (6th)
The 2010 2014 winners came from the Pertemps H'Cap Hurdle
Silver Birch 2007 came from the Cross Country race
Ideally I'd like good chase form in a big field
Ideally I'd avoid horses that were Novices last year


#2 - Grand National Ratings Rules

Each horse starts with 50 Points

Horses aged 7 - Subtract 5 Points
Horses aged 8 - Subtract 2 Points
Horses aged 8 Foaled after May 1st- Subtract 1 more point
Horses aged 10 - Add Half a Point
Horses aged 11 - Add Half a Point
Horses aged 12 - Subtract 2 Points
Horses aged 13 + Subtract 5 Points
Horses aged 8 have a 2pts deduction
Add an extra Point if they have won a Graded Chase before

Previous runs since August 1st 2014
Horses with 0-1 runs in this period - Subtract 5 points
Horses with 2 runs in this period - Subtract 3 Points
Horses with 3 runs - Subtract 0.5 points
Horses with 2 runs and 21 + Chase starts - Subtract another 2pts
Horses with 3 runs and 21 + Chase starts - Subtract another 1pts

Runs Since January 1st 2015
Horses with under 2 runs since Jan 1st - Subtract 2 points
If having 21 + Chase starts - Subtract another 1 point

Horses absent 56-65 Days- Subtract 1 point
Horses absent 66-85 Days - Subtract 2 points
Horses absent 86-96 Days - Subtract 3 points
Horses absent 97-119 Days - Subtract 3.5 points
Horses absent 120 + days - Subtract 4 points

Horses winning Listed/Graded races - Add 1 point
Horses without any Graded form - Subtract 3 points
No point deductions for high weights this year

Horses with Under 9 Chase starts - Subtract 3 points
Horses with under 3 Chase wins - Subtract 1.5 points
Horses with 3 or more Chase Falls - Subtract 2 points

Horses who did not win over 3m or more - Subtract 3 points
Horses that have won over 3m 3f or more - Add 1 point
Horses coming from 2m 4f or shorter - Subtract 1.5 points
If that 2m 4f race is a Chase - Subtract 0.5 extra point
Horses coming from 2m 6f or shorter - Subtract 1 point
If that horse has 21 or more career runs - Subtract 0.5 more points

Horses with Under 3 Handicap Chase runs - Subtract 2pts
Only deduct 1 point if they have won a Grade 1-2 Chase
Only deduct 1 point if they have placed in a Grade 1 Chase
Horses running in 5-12 Handicap - Add a Point
Never won a Handicap Chases - Subtract 1 point
Won 7 or more Handicap Chases - Subtract 1 point
2 or more wins since August 1st 2014 - Subtract 1 point

Horses coming from Cheltenham Handicaps
Winning last time in that race - Subtract 1.5 points
Horses coming from any Cheltenham race
Beaten over 15 lengths in that race - Subtract 1pt
Horses that raced over hurdles since Aug 1st - Add 1 point
Horses starting 25/1 + last time if it was a Chase - Subtract 1.5pts

Horses that fail my Breeding Statistics will also face deductions


#3 - Breeding Statistics

Looking at Sires record
The records under these circumstances

3m 6f and longer
Graded Races
Fields of 13 or more
Good or Softer Ground
Not Cross Country or Hunter Chases

Safe Sires


Unproven Sires


Negative Sires



#4 - Rating Scores For Individual Horses

To appear on the free blog before Friday 5pm
If you follow on twitter you get a tweet on each new blog post.

#5 - Final Conclusions About What May Offer A Bit of Value

Final decissions made Saturday morning.
Full Members or Saturday Daypass Only.

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