Grand National: 5 trends to note when picking your horse for Aintree 2021

Let's take a deep dive into the Grand National archives.

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The greatest steeplechase in the world is finally here – and we’re buzzing at the prospect of 40 runners and riders tackling the iconic Aintree fences. If that wasn’t exciting enough, generous Paddy is paying SIX places. Woof!

Grand National fever is growing after last year’s race was cancelled because of the pesky coronavirus pandemic. A Virtual Grand National was held instead – with Potters Corner emerging as the digital winner – but its back to the real thing in 2021. Tiger Roll won’t be running after connections expressed concern over the dual Grand National winner’s handicap. He was given a mark of 166 – 11st 9lb – so the hat-trick attempt was called off.

The Tiger’s withdrawal opened up the betting market and Cloth Cap is the favourite. Ted Walsh’s Any Second Now, dual Becher Handicap Chase runner-up Kimberlite Candy and Henry de Bromhead’s Minella Times are also prominent in the betting.

If you’re planning to have a punt it can be a minefield working out which of the 40 runners to back, but there are some interesting trends to note.

WEIGH IT UP

Of the last 20 winners of the Grand National, 12 have carried weight in the sweet spot between 10st 7lb and 11st 1lb.

Among the horses to defy this trend – either on the upper or lower limit – include Tiger Roll (11st 5lb) returning to win for the second year in a row in 2019, the supremely talented Many Clouds (11st 9lb) in 2015 and shock 66/1 winner Auroras Encore (10st 3lb) in 2013.

STAYING POWER

A horse must have been placed in the top four of a race with an official distance description of at least 2m 7½f at any time during their career to even enter the race – but winning over a distance of at least 3m seems to be crucial.

The nine winners of the last 10 Grand Nationals – Tiger Roll, One For Arthur, Rule The World, Many Clouds, Pineau De Re, Auroras Encore, Neptune Collonges, Ballabriggs and Don’t Push It – all managed to achieve the feat before claiming the big one.

AGE IS (NOT) JUST A NUMBER

The last horse aged seven to win the Grand National came in 1940 while the last time a 12-year-old prevailed was Amberleigh House in 2004.

The last five winners of the Grand National were either eight or nine while every winner between 2010 and 2014 was either 10 or 11.

LUCK OF THE IRISH

The Irish completely dominated Great Britain at the 2021 Cheltenham Festival – and they’ve been pretty handy in the Grand National in recent years.

Irish-trained horses claimed three of the last five renewals – Rule The World and Tiger Roll – while the other two winners in that time – Many Clouds and One For Arthur – were Irish-bred.

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NO BREAKS ALLOWED

All bar one of the last 10 renewals threw up a winner that headed to Aintree having run within the previous 56 days. The horse that bucks the trend was One For Arthur, who became the second Scottish-trained horse to win the race coming off an 84-day break in 2017.

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