It's been a punishing week, dear reader, for yours truly, as the National left me (and my wallet) seriously dented. But, from these setbacks come lessons, and I'm going to share mine with you today.
Plus, I also have a trainer who is white hot currently, and whose charges you should definitely keep on the right side..
First though, let's take a look at the Grand National, the greatest race in the world, despite the pain it caused me this year. The result was pretty freakish, and was precipitated by the pedestrian gallop set in the middle of the race, by first Black Apalachi and then the ill-fated Hear The Echo.
As a matter of record, the winner, Mon Mome, ticked all boxes bar the 'French bred' stat. It was exactly a hundred years since the last French bred won the race. And, whilst I doubt it will be a hundred years before the next one does, I believe that this was a freak result and that - in a true end to end gallop, which the National almost always is - French bred's still don't truly stay.
That said, I'm highly likely to look more kindly on those galloping Gallics that have won over 3m4f+, as Mon Mome had.
The time of the race, 9 minutes 31.9 seconds, was 15.3 seconds slower than last season on similar ground. A second is generally considered to be worth 3 to 4 lengths in jumps races, which means that 15 seconds is akin to 45 to 60 lengths.
The race time was 10 seconds slower than the average of the last eight runnings (9 mins 21.8 seconds), which amounts to circa 30 to 40 lengths.
And the fact that there were around 15 in a heap jumping the second last (including the three horses at 100/1 plus) supports the slow run race notion.
Five of the first six home also carried 11 stone or more in weight, with the winner sitting exactly on the eleven stone mark.
Take nothing away from the winner however, who quickened in some style to put 12 lengths between himself and the rest.
Rambling Minster on the other hand was desperately disappointing: never in it and pulled up with almost a circuit to run.
Finally, and most costly for me, My Will jumped brilliantly and - but for Ruby trying to jump off at Foinavon 2nd time round - he was never going to get me my place lay money. A monkey done, and a buffoon made. Serves me right - NEVER lay for a place!
I will still use the same principles to find next year's winner, except - as stated - giving some latitude to the inclusion of French-breds who are proven stayers.
Now that Aintree is over, and although there is still the Scottish National and the Betfred Gold Cup to come, it's time to focus on the flat. And one trainer in particular is catching the eye.
Barry Hills is a stalwart of British racing and he normally has his yard in fine fettle early season. Even by his own standards however, he's set off in blistering fashion.
Indeed, in the last 14 days, from 20 runners, he's had 7 winners, 6 2nd places and 2 3rd's. Actually, make that 8 winners from 21 runners, as Red Jazz won the 2.10 at Windsor at 11/8. He has one more runner today, Millharbour, in the 4.20, but this one looks unlikely to add to the tally.
Nevertheless, keep your 'minces' peeled for Hills' runners in the coming days.
Time for me to get back to my protacted lie down in a darkened room following Saturday's reverse...