Freak Shows & Hot Trainers

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.

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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...


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14 replies
  1. sue says:

    I had a trick up my sleeve on Saturday. I reckoned that if I bet e/w on every horse, by the law of averages I should get my money back. So I put 50p e/w on each and returned £125, thanks to Boylesports paying 1/4 odds on 6 places. How I wish I’d put £5 e/w!!!

  2. Jack Crompton says:

    Hi Matt
    Could there be a hidden trend in Mon Mome’s win?
    Along the lines of ‘horses that have beaten the previous season’s National winner.’

  3. mattgiffin says:

    its the one race of the year where i ignore my points system and point amount and just have some fun with the family,win or lose its just a bit of fun

    back to my system today and already three winners up so good start

    and to make it worse i follow miss v williams as a trainer

  4. Gwyll says:

    Its the race where I never lose much money . I never win that much either as I just enjoy waching it . I did my usual . Pick five horses , put a quid each way on them and watch them go round . With fourty runers 32 of the hardest fences in the country and four and a half miles to go I find having a few horses gives me a chance of getting past the first fence .
    They all finished and not one in the first six but it was good to watch.

  5. Donkers says:

    The two false starts probably accounted for the slow time. One of mine, Kilbeggan Blade twice ran to the first fence….probably so he could look how to fall over it as unpainfully as possible once the proper race began!! If they’d gone off first time then in all likelyhood the race would have had a very different outcome, but certainly there are lessons to be learned. The race is definitely getting classier….. Comply or Die should have had no chance with his weight and lack of runs this season. Yet he had every chance….as did previous winners carrying ‘too much’ weight…Snowy Morning and Silver Birch. Next year I will be less concerened about weight. Something off 11st five can win if it is a proven stayer and a high class horse. So nexrt year I will look primarily at what the horse has achieved before cutting out anything. French horses were always dismissed immediately, but now you have to look at them as capable under optimum conditions. Mon Mome had everything go in his favour admittedly but also is a VERY good horse with proven class and fitted many other trends. The age trends still hold firm. Nine is prime, ten is solid. I fear that Rambling Mister as an 11 year old and off a career high mark simply lacked the class and youth to be competetive on the day. I picked four…two were down by fence two, Rambo was dismal and only Darkness gave me a glimmer of hope for my money. still, as always, it was a fantastic sporting occasion, a day when racing is everybodies sport and a big price winner is a boost to racing because the bookies made £200,000,000 profit, which is a shot in the arm for sponsorship, prizemoney etc. for racing generally. 🙂

  6. David Dickinson says:

    Hi Matt
    What a great occasion the Grand National was.
    Regardless of the result I had a great 3 days racing and really enjoyed the meeting. I much prefer it to Cheltenham.
    Keep the stats coming Matt
    David Dickinson

  7. Darrin Clark says:

    Hi Matt

    I have followed your blogs with interest and have subscribed to both TTS and Flat Racing Profiles.

    I enjoyed and commend you for all the hard work put into the Cheltenham and Aintree guides (with Gavin) and which was rewarded with success and look forward to good results for FRP.

    I also subscribe to LS Trader and whilst I am comfortable with the loss I have made since you recommended it, I think you should update the site to warn people of the highly volatile nature of the system.

    This is obviously a low point and the system may soon be nicely in profit again, but in the interest of balance, a report of the current position should (in my opinion) be posted.

    Best wishes and kind regards.


  8. Matt Bisogno says:

    Some great comments guys – do please keep them coming. I’d much prefer this to be a place where you can exercise your views as I do mine.

    Specifically, regarding LS Trader, I will add a comment regarding the volatility, though I believe that when you review the sales materials on their site, that is inherently stated.

    And I love love loved Sue’s cunning plan of backing all 40 horses each way, with the bookie that paid six places. Pure genius, and well done to you. With a 100/1 winner, and another 100/1 shot in 5th, that was a tidy return indeed!


  9. Steve says:

    I thnk the run of Cerium was also exeptional considering he had completed the second circuit having sustained a fractured skull, he could have been a lot closer without the injury.


  10. george H says:

    I back four horses (all e.w.) and did them via V Chandler as he would give you a free bet to the same stakes if your horse fell, or was brought down (but not pulled up). Black Apalachi was my main bet and he was running like a winner when he took a fall. Comply or Die was another, smaller stake, who saved me from a total disaster. I also named Comply or Die in my “Beat Victor” submission which earned me a free £5 bet with VC. So yesterday I spent a free £7 bet on VC which returned me just under £20, getting my National bets back plus £9.50 on top! Well done, Victor Chandler!

    Cheers, George.

  11. Ronnie says:

    It took 100-1 winner to make a profit backing every horse so its hardly a way forward!!

    • Matt Bisogno says:

      Actually Ronnie, it would have only taken a 40/1 winner to make a profit backing all of them. Still, like you say, probably not a way forward. Quite a fun story, nevertheless, no?! 😉

  12. Jamie says:


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