2021 Grand National Betting Trends and Tips - The Randox Health Grand National is simply the biggest and most famous horse race in the world. Run at Aintree racecourse each year in early April the gruelling contest is run over a trip of 4 1/2 miles with the first ever winner being the appropriately-named Lottery.
With 40 runners to go through one popular angle on whittling down the field is to use some key trends - apply these to the 2021 Grand National runners and you'll at least build up a profile of the type of horse it takes to win the Liverpool marathon.
Did you know that since 1978 only two horses have won carrying more than 11-5 in weight, while the last 7 year-old to win the race was in 1940?!
Here at TQ we look back at past winners and highlights the key betting trends ahead of the 2021 Aintree Grand National - this year run on Saturday 4th April - and sponsored by Randox Health.
Ok, at first glance with 40 runners contesting 30 fences for 4 1/4 miles the Aintree Grand National does have quite a scary look to it when it comes to trying to hunt down the winner – however, despite those daunting factors you can often find the Grand National winner by following a few simple tips and trends.
Weight Watchers: Some recent winners have carried 11st (or more) to victory, but looking back at recent trends make this weight your cut-off point. If you look back over the winners we’ve only seen the mighty Red Rum (1974 & 1977) and Many Clouds (2015) carry 11-8 or more – 22 of the last 29 winners carried 10-12 or less! Tiger Roll won with 10st 13lbs in 2019, but defied the weight stat to win with 11st 5lbs in 2019.
Staying Power: Stamina is an absolute must when scanning down the entries. Year-after-year there are always plenty of hype horses that are certainly talented, but the big question surrounding their chance is will they stay the grueling 4m 1/4f trip? You have to trawl back to 1970 and a horse called Gay Trip to find the last victor that won the Grand National having not previously won over at least 3 miles.
Age Concern: Experience is a vital attribute when looking back at past Grand National winners with horses aged 9 years-old or OLDER certainly the ones to focus on. You have to go back to 1940 (Bogskar) to find the last 7 year-old to grab the Merseyside marathon! So, don’t be too put off if your fancy is in their twilight years – but not a teenager - 24 of the last 29 winners were aged 9 or older, but it is worth pointing out three of the last five winners were 8 year-olds, suggesting there might be a bit of a turning point in this age stat.
Luck Of The Irish: Our friends from the across the Irish Sea have raided these shores to win the Aintree Grand National many times in recent years, so certainly take a second glance at any of their runners. 6 of the last 15 winners came from Irish-based stables, including 3 of the last four.
Fencing Master: With thirty of the most unique obstacles in horse racing to contend with then having previous form over the tricky Grand National fences can be a huge advantage. Many recent Grand National winners had previously been tried over these Grand National-style fences in the past. The Topham Chase and Becher Chase - or a previous run in the big race itself – are the main races that are staged at Aintree racecourse over the same Grand National-style fences to look back at. Backed-up again in 2019 with Tiger Roll, who also won in 2018 and experienced the fences, winning again.
Who’s Your Favourite: The betting on the Grand National always picks up pace in the weeks building up to the big day, but on the Saturday itself, when the once-a-year punters hit the high streets, this is when the betting market really kicks into gear. It’s also worth noting that the weights for the Grand National are issued well in advance (February each year), so with some horses often running well after they’ve been given their allocated weight and before the race then this can also impact the ante post Grand National betting. 6 of the last 28 runnings have been won by the favourite (21%), while 16 of the last 29 (55%) market leaders were placed (top 4 finish)!
Market Toppers: We’ve already talked about the actual favourite, but this Grand National trend can be taken a bit further when you actually drill down into recent runnings. In fact, most winners in recent years started in the first eight of the Grand National betting market – indicating that despite the Venetia Williams-trained, Mon Mome, popping-up at 100/1 in 2009, that punters generally tend to get this race right. 10 of the last 17 winners came from the top 8 in the betting market – backed up in 2018 with Tiger Roll winning at 10/1 (joint second favourite), plus again in 2019 with Tiger Roll winning as the 4/1 favourite.
Fitness First: Probably the biggest trend in recent years, and a really easy way to whittle the 40 strong field down in one easy swoop, is just check how many days ago your fancy last ran. The majority of the recent Grand National winners had their previous race no more than 48 days prior to the big day. While if you want to drill this trend down a bit further than you’ll notice that a large amount of recent winners of the Grand National actually raced less than 40 days prior to landing the greatest steeplechase in the world. 28 of the last 29 winners ran no more than 55 days ago, while 23 of the last 29 raced no more than 34 days ago!
2020 - Cancelled (Covid)
2019 - Tiger Roll (4/1 fav)
2018 - Tiger Roll (10/1)
2017 - One For Arthur (14/1)
2016 – Rule The World 33/1
2015 – Many Clouds 25/1
2014 – Pineau De Re 25/1
2013 – Auroras Encore 66/1
2012 - Neptune Collonges 33/1
2011 - Ballabriggs 14/1
2010 - Don't Push It 10/1jfav
2009 - Mon Mome 100/1
2008 - Comply or Die 7/1 jfav
2007 - Silver Birch 33/1
2006 - Numbersixvalverde 11/1
2005 - Hedgehunter 7/1 fav
2004 - Amberleigh House 16/1
2003 - Monty’s Pass 16/1
2002 - Bindaree 20/1
2001 - Red Marauder 33/1
2000 - Papillon 10/1
1999 - Bobbyjo 10/1
1998 - Earth Summit 7/1 fav
1997 - Lord Gyllene 14/1
1996 - Rough Quest 7/1 fav
1995 - Royal Athlete 40/1
1994 - Miinnehoma 16/1
1993 - VOID RACE
1992 - Party Politics 14/1
1991 - Seagram 12/1
1990 - Mr Frisk 16/1
28/29 – Ran no more than 55 days ago
· 28/29 – Officially rated 137 or higher
· 27/29 – Had won over at least 3m (chase) before
· 25/29 – Had won no more than 6 times over fences before
· 24/29 – Aged 9 or older
· 23/29 – Returned a double-figure price
· 23/29 – Ran no more than 34 days ago
· 22/29 – Carried 10-13 OR LESS
· 21/29 – Came from outside the top 3 in the betting
· 19/29 – Had won between 4-6 times over fences before
· 18/29 – Finished in the top 4 last time out
· 18/29 - Aged 10 years-old or younger
· 16/29 – Placed favourites
· 16/29 – Carried 10-8 OR LESS
· 16/29 – Won by an Irish-bred horse
· 15/29 – Aged 9 or 10 years-old
· 11/29 – Ran at Cheltenham last time out
· 10/29 – Trained in Ireland (inc 7 of the last 14 years)
· 6/29 – Won by the favourite or joint favourite
· 7/29 – Ran in a previous Grand National
· 7/29 – Won last time out
. 3/29 – Trained by Gordon Elliott
· 2/29 – Trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies
· 2/29 – Ridden by Davy Russell
· 2/29 – Ridden by Leighton Aspell
· 0/29 – Won by a horse aged 7 years-old OR LESS
16/17 – Had won over at least 3m previously
15/17 – Ran less than 50 days ago
15/17 – Officially rated 137 or higher
14/17 – Won by a horse aged 9 or older
10/17 – Winners from the top 8 in the betting
10/17 – Finished in the top 3 last time out
9/17 – Won by horses aged in double-figures
8/17 – Experienced the National fences before
7/17 – Carried 11-0 or more in weight
7/17 – Won by an Irish-trained horse
5/17 – Won by a horse aged 10 years-old
5/17 – Won their last race
4/17 – Winning favourites (2 joint)
3/17 – Won by the Gordon Elliott yard
2/17 – Won by the McCain yard
TQ VERDICT: With 40 runners, it’s a race the trends will hopefully help us whittle down the runners. Firstly, with the last 7 year-old to win the race being in 1940, then I’m happy to put a line through this season’s Welsh National winner - Secret Reprieve (reserve), the Denise Foster-trained Farclas and The Long Mile. Next up is ‘days’ last ran’ – as 28 of the last 29 winners ran no more than 55 days ago. Of course, it’s probably okay to give a few days grace on this stat, but there are several that fall way outside it – Bristol De Mai, Yala Enki, Kimberlite Candy, Takingrisks, Discorama, Vieux Lion Rouge, Minellacelebration, Give Me A Copper, Minella Times and Kauto Riko. You can also take this stat a bit further, by looking for horses that ran 34 days or less ago – 23 of the last 29 winners ticked this trend. In recent years, there has been the odd winner aged 11 (3 since 2012), but we’ve only had one winner aged 12 since 1996 – therefore, I’m happy to rule out Definitly Red, Takingrisks, Vieux Lion Rouge, Sub Lieutenant and Blaklion. Next up is weight. Tiger Roll won his last National in 2019 with 11st 5lbs, and Many Clouds defied his 11st 9lbs to win in 2015, while since 2009 6 of the 11 winners had 11st or more. So, a small word of caution here. But the fact is, 22 of the last 29 winners still had 10st 13lbs or less on their backs – is this is to be repeated, then the top seven on the card can be dismissed. However, with Bristol De Mai carrying 11st 10lbs and The Storyteller having 11st 8lbs these two are probably up against it. We’ve also got the 2019 runner-up – Magic Of Light – in the race, so we know the track and fences suit. But he’s rated 5lbs higher than a few years ago, while horses that have been placed in the previous race don’t have a great record of going onto then win it. Of course, there is a certain amount of luck involved in the race too, with 39 other runners to contend with as well as the tricky fences, but it’s a race I like to have a shortlist of five for – here they are.
CLOTH CAP – Okay, this is going to be sent off a short favourite, but he’s a horse that ticks a lot of the main trends and it’s hard to crab his chance – barring the fact he’s not great value in the betting, but the horse doesn’t know that. Of course, he’ll have to keep out of trouble and jump round, but this Jonjo O’Neill-trained 9 year-old has improved loads this season. He was third to the subsequent King George VI Chase winner – Frodon – back in October, and has since won his last two at Newbury and Kelso. If the handicapper could reassess him now, he’d be putting him up a fair bit, so the fact he gets in here off the same mark as his recent 7 ½ length Kelso win gives him and obvious chance. Then, with some 160+ rated horses - like Bristol Dai Mai – in the race, he gets in here with just 10st 5lbs to carry! Those against him, might look to the trip – this will be the furthest he’s gone to date, but let’s not forget he was a close third in the 2019 Scottish National over 4m! Ground is fine and jockey Tom Scudamore, who is yet to win the National, is now one of the more experienced riders in the weighing room and is currently 2-from-2 on the horse. The icing on the cake is that he’s owned by a certain Trevor Hemmings, who has three Grand Nationals under his belt already (Hedgehunter, Ballabriggs and Many Clouds). Those three previous Aintree wins were all for different trainers too – something he’ll be looking to do here with Jonjo O’Neill, but it’s worth remembers O’Neill is also no stranger to landing this prize – having taken it in 2010 with Don’t Push It.
BURROWS SAINT – This 8 year-old already has a National on his record – the Irish version, that he won in 2019. He took that as a 6 year-old, but is now 2 years older and ticking a lot of boxes for the Aintree National. From the powerful Willie Mullins yard, this Ricci-owned stayer won’t have any stamina issues and has good form on quicker ground too. He’s fit and well after a decent second to his stablemate Acapella Bourgeois at Fairyhouse last time out, so should be spot on for this. With 10st 13lbs he’s on the cusp of the weight trend, but has age on his side and could certainly have more to offer.
POTTERS CORNER – Stamina won’t be an issue for this former Midlands and Welsh National winner, while having run well over the Cross Country course at Cheltenham in December, then there’s every chance he’ll love the Aintree fences. Yes, pulled up the last day at Exeter, but that was over hurdles – back over fences and up in trip will be more to his liking. The ground will be fine, but also handles soft should there be any rain, while the first-time blinkers are in interesting addition. Jack Tudor, who knows the horse well, remains in the saddle. We’ve also seen three 11 year-olds win the race since 2012, so his age isn’t too much of a concern either.
MILAN NATIVE – Owned by the Gigginstown House Stud, who have been responsible for three of the last four winners. We last saw him running down the field in the Ultima Handicap at the Festival, but he also lost a shoe during that race, so had an excuse. It was also his first run for 2 ½ months and also his first after a wind op. We know staying the trip is worth a crack as he landed the 2020 Kim Muir over 3m2f at the Festival. He’s also another that gets in with a low weight (10st 6lbs). Yes, he’s got a bit to prove based on recent runs, but he’s also had a few excuses in those races and with just a light burden and coming from connections that love this race, he might be worth chancing. Jamie Codd riding is the icing on the cake!
CANELO – This Alan King runner looks another interesting contender as he bids to give his popular owner – JP McManus – his second win in the race. This 8 year-old has had a decent season and was last seen running well to be third in the Grimthorpe Chase at Doncaster. The trip is a bit of an unknown, but really that applies to most in the field and at just 8 years-old there should be more improvement in this horse. His better form has been on a slightly quicker surface too, but the big plus is that he gets in here with only 10st 4lbs to carry – that’s 16lbs less in racing weight than his last run at Donny.