Updated: Apr 8, 2022
It's the Grand National and we have you covered for all the best of the action here on The Cheeky Punts. It is the biggest race of the year when even none racing fans join in the fun so whether you are a racing regular or just the once a year punter, we are here to help you hopefully find the winner with all our tips and pointers for you
When it comes to trying to pick a winner there are lots of tried and tested methods that have been used over the years. What colour are the silks, which horse has a name/link to you, your favourite number or maybe even just one picked totally at random. And all of these are actually great ways to enjoy the fun but here we look at a more statistical view with our racing experts hat on.
Let’s check out all the runners, riders and current prices
How the market looks
So what should you be looking for?
There are 6 key factors we've highlighted for you based on previous runnings and winners of this famous race. Let's take a look at them each in a bit more detail
1. Age - You are generally looking for a horse aged 8 or older as it’s been over 80 years since a 7YO won this. However that said, horses aged 13 or older also have poor record so its actually the 9-11 year old that has been a bit of sweet spot looking at the last 25 years or so.
2. Weight - Every horse entered in the National is allocated a specific weight, this is what is known as a handicap so the higher rated a horse is, the more weight they generally need to carry. This is to give all the horses an equal chance (in theory!)
11st is generally the cut off looking at recent history with 21 of the last 28 winners carrying 10St 12 or less. Anything carrying more than 11St 5 tends to struggle with only 2 winners since the late 70s managing to win carrying that weight so its generally best off siding with the ones with less to carry round
3. Experience - A really key one here is the level of experience a horse has. Those who have won or at least placed in a major National (the English one but also the Irish, Scottish & Welsh versions) have a better record but 11 of the last 13 winners were having their first run in this race.
Runners who have fallen or unseated on at least 3 occasions here rarely run well however those who where unplaced (so not in the top 4), but competed in previous years usually run better so it can pay to look out for one that was maybe around last year.
Returning winners and placed horses don’t usually have a good record though. Tiger Roll bucked this trend back in 2019, winning back to back nationals for the first time since arguably one of the most famous horses in history, Red Rum, did this back in the 70s.
4. Stamina - One for more of the racing buffs is that you want to have a horse here that has previously won over 3m+ before and is likely to race up with the pace (this means they run near the front not the back), horses who are held up generally have a poor record and are far more likely to hit trouble in running, it is not uncommon for a horse to be 'taken out' by another.
The National is a gruelling 4m+ slog so horses bred or proven to stay that trip are key, for the none racing fans most horses would never run over such a long distance so there can often be a few clues in the breeding for horses that have been targeted for this stamina sapping test. If we get a lot of rain too this makes it all the more difficult and stamina becomes even more important
5. Fitness - This may seem an odd one at first but the stats suggest to avoid horses who haven’t had a fairly recent run out, however they also suggest to avoid those who were seen at Cheltenham just a few weeks ago. That is usually quite a tough race so to come on to the National only a few weeks later is usually very difficult.
A recent prep run is generally a positive but those coming on the back of the festival generally don’t run well here. The leading fancies generally target this race so you want a horse who is ‘match ready’ and up for this huge test
And finally number 6, the most important factor here that every trainer, owner, jockey, commentator and expert alike will tell you is you need LUCK. So much can go wrong when 40 horses are charging down to these famous fences so you always need a bit of luck and for things to go your way. Over the years I have seen plenty of bad luck stories too!
If you still aren't sure then you can check out what our Twitter Racing experts fancy for the day here on The Cheeky Punts. May be on of our experts can combine all the 6 above and find that winner for you
So however you are choosing your pick this weekend, lets hope they can go well and that all the horses and riders come home safe and sound. For me, THAT is the main thing I love to see from this great sporting tradition of ours, finding the winner is always a bonus too :)