AINTREE – APRIL 8
Last year’s corresponding toteplacepot dividend:
2016: £697.10 (7 favourites – 3 winners – 2 placed – 2 unplaced)
Saturday's Placepot permutation at Aintree:
Leg 1 (1.45): 4 (Whataknight), 12 (For Good Measure) & 6 (Golden Doyen)
Leg 2 (2.25): 8 (Finian’s Oscar) & 10 (Lough Derg Spirit)
Leg 3 (3.00): 1 (Charbel) & 4 (San Benedeto)
Leg 4 (3.40): 9 (Value At Risk), 12 (Relentless Dreamer), 13 (Rightdownthemiddle) & 17 (Taking Risks)
Leg 5 (4.20): 12 (Yanworth) & 4 (Different Gravey)
Leg 6 (5.15): 22 (One For Arthur), 13 (The Young Master), 10 (Blacklion), 29 (Vicente) & 4 (Perfect Candidate)
Suggested stake: 480 bets to 10p stakes
Overview for Saturday - please scroll down to the bottom of the page
1.45: Six-year-olds have won five of the last ten renewals, whilst six of the last seven gold medallists have been burdened with a minimum weight of eleven stones. Jonjo O'Neill has saddled three winners during the last eleven years and putting the stats and facts together produces a short list of GOLDEN DOYEN, WHATAKNIGHT and FOR GOOD MEASURE who is included in the mix, despite sitting sixteen ounces the wrong side of the superior weight barrier. I dined out for many months on the success of SPLASH OF GINGE when Nigel’s raider won the Betfair Hurdle a few years ago (offered as the only bet of the day at 33/1) and though he is not the force of old, Splash Of Ginge keeps catching my eye every time I peruse the list, something which has not happened for the thick end of two years. The course winner might just have preferred a little more juice in the ground however.
Favourite factor: Seven of the fourteen favourites during the last eleven have secured toteplacpot positions, statistics which include three successful market leaders and one co favourite.
Record of the course winners in the opening event:
2/6—Zarkandar (good & good to soft)
1/4—Splash Of Ginge (soft)
2.25: Five-year-olds have won five of the last seven renewals and FINIAN’S OSCAR and LOUGH DERG SPIRIT are marginally preferred to LE BREUIL in another fascinating contest. I would applaud a victory for the last named Ben Pauling raider who hails from a stable which has enjoyed a fine season despite the loss of service of Barters Hill who could have added the icing on the cake this season. FINIAN’S OSCAR is unbeaten which tilts the balance in his favour over Nicky Henderson’s LOUGH DERG SPIRIT from my viewpoint, albeit oh so marginally.
Favourite factor: Seven clear market leaders and one joint favourite have prevailed during the last 18 years, whilst 13 of the 18 jollies have secured toteplacepot positions. Going back further in time, 16/39 renewals to date have been won by favourites (41% strike rate).
Record of the course winner in the second race:
1/2—La Bague Au Roi (good)
3.00: Six-year-old's have secured five of the last six renewals in which they were represented, the relevant raiders in 2015 only being conspicuous by their absence. Upwards and onward in positive mode by suggesting that CHARBEL will not be running at full speed when negotiating his fences as he was doing when falling when trying to keep tabs on Altior in the ‘Arkle’ at Cheltenham recently. This lesser test should enable Kim Bailey’s raider to remain in second gear until they turn for home and even then, David Bass should have enough in hand of his four rivals without having to ‘go for broke’ at the last fence. I’m torn between the Nicholls pair in terms of the forecast call (if the race pans out that way) but I will opt for SAN BENEDETO who won well at Ascot on decent ground last week, conditions which obviously suit this eight time winner.
Favourite factor: Six clear favourites and one joint market leader have won since 1999, whilst 13 of the 18 jollies have claimed toteplacepot positions. The biggest priced winner during the previous 13 years was returned at 6/1 before the 28/1 gold medallist prevailed in 2013.
3.40: 14 of the last 15 winners carried weights of 11-2 or less, whilst eight-year-old's have won six of the last 16 contests. Four horses possess ticks in both of the trend boxes and the pick of the quartet will hopefully prove to be VALUE AT RISK and RELENTLESS DREAMER. TAKINGRISKS is the third option, whilst another low weighted horse to consider is RIGHTDOWNTHEMIDDLE.
Favourite factor: 10 of the 21 favourites have finished in the frame during the last 17 years, statistics which include four winners.
Record of the course winners in the fourth event on the card:
1/4—Thomas Brown (good to soft)
4.20: YANWORTH splits opinion like few other horses in training right now but if he is ever to prove himself once and for all as a rattling good horse, this is surely his opportunity. Yes, Alan King’s seven-year-old wanders into unknown territory over this longer distance but that said, Yanworth ran Yorkhill to less than two lengths at the Cheltenham Festival last year over his longest trip to date. Although this is a Grade 1 event, the contest offers others horses who also flatter to deceive on occasions, whereby Yanworth should be able to breeze into the race turning for home on the final circuit, albeit he enters my ‘last chance saloon’ at this level today. As a winner of five of his nine races thus far, the 20/1 quote I have seen in a place about DIFFERENT GRAVEY suggests that he could be the alternative each way option against the favourite. That said, he failed to figure prominently in this race last year but then again, Yanworth is no Thistlecrack whatever happens today.
Favourite factor: 12 favourites have won during the last 22 years (54.5% strike rate, whilst market leaders have secured toteplacepot position in each of the last eleven years.
Record of the course winner in the fifth race:
5.15: Let’s get some of the Grand National facts and figures out of the way to start with. Nine and ten-year-olds have shared 14 of the last 21 renewals, though it's worth noting that eleven-year-olds come to the party having won four of the last six contests. Nine-year-olds have won ten of the last 34 contests (29.4% strike rate). Only five favourites have won via the last 33 renewals. Irish trainers have won six of the last 18 contests. Only three grey horses have won the big race, the 2012 winner being the first for fifty one years. 25 female jockeys have participated in the big race with the 2012 third placed effort of Katie Walsh aboard Seabass the pick of the pilots to date: The record of horses ridden by female jockeys: one placed--eight unplaced--sixteen failed to complete the course though to be entirely fair, eleven of those runners started at odds ranging between 100/1 and 500/1. In contrast to previous results down the years, five of the last eight winners have carried a minimum burden of eleven stones. The following runners should give us a good run for our collective monies. As a winner of seven of his last nineteen races, ONE FOR ARTHUR gets in off a low weight of 10-10 which defies belief in all honesty. Whatever the weather does between now and flag fall will not affect the selection, given that ONE FOR ARTHUR has won all on types of ground during an impressive career. The Grand National is famous for turning relatively ‘unknown’ jockeys into household names and Derek Fox can be the latest of them, having gained the thick end of his 67 winners to date over the bigger obstacles (fences as opposed to hurdles). Trainer Lucinda Russell has saddled two hundred winners boasting a fine career without being one of the ‘headline names’. Owner Trevor Hemmings (VECENTE) has been one of the luckiest owners in the history of the great race and having bought Vicente to represent the yellow, green and white colours recently, Trevor is in with a fine chance of gaining further success. Paul Nicholls ‘stole’ the Trainers’ Championship from Nicky Henderson a few years ago by saddling the winner of this event and history could repeat itself here. Brian Hughes has become the ‘darling of the north’ in the saddle in the NH sector and no other jockey would be given a warmer reception should Brian prevail in the biggest race on the calendar. As the name implies, BLACKLION is as tough and as game as they come and there will be few horses (if any) willing to put themselves on the line like the eight-year-old. Nigel Twiston-Davies has already saddled two winners of this great event and BLACKLION can gain further prize money for the trainer. Noel Fehily is one of the most stylish jockeys in the weighing room and BLACKLION will lack nothing from the saddle. BLACKLION is three pounds better in with Vieux Lion Rouge having been beaten three and a quarter lengths by David Pipe’s raider at Haydock recently. The turnaround in the weight is likely to give BLACKLION the edge from my viewpoint, especially as his fighting spirit will hold him in good stead at Aintree. Sam Waley-Cohen (THE YOUNG MASTER) has already ridden two horses to winning effect over the Grand National course, notwithstanding a Cheltenham Gold Cup victory during his ‘part time’ career in the saddle. THE YOUNG MASTER once posted eight victories via a nine race period, albeit the eight-year-old lost one of prizes due to a technicality. Trainer Neil Mulholland has been one of the success stories of the season and it would come as no surprise if THE YOUNG MASTER figured prominently. CAUSE OF CAUSES will be a popular choice and there is no doubting his recent form which looks to give the horse a decent chance. Two things could go against the nine-year-old however, as the Gordon Elliott trained raider could have too much ground to make up on the second circuit as he often gets out of his ground early doors in his races. The other point worth making is that in his first race over cross country fences, CAUSE OF CAUSES spat out the dummy before going on to run fine races over the discipline of late. The first sight of the National fences might have the same effect. Few (underrated) trainers can get a horse ready for a big race like Fergal O’Brien whereby PERFECT CANDIDATE is the potential fly in the ointment on behalf of the outsiders in this year’s renewal. At around the 50/1 mark at the time of writing, Perfect CANDIDATE will have ground to his liking, whereby Paddy Brennan’s could easily outrun his odds.
Favourite factor: Two joint market leaders and one clear favourite have won the Grand National during the last twelve years which is a great record in such a competitive event, bucking previous market leader trends. 10 of the 23 favourites during the last 14 years have secured toteplacepot positions.
Record of the course winners in the Grand National over the big fences:
1/2—Vieux Lion Rouge (good to soft)
1/3—Highland Lodge (soft)
All place details offered on my pages relate to an 'exact science', whereby horses that finish third in 5/6/7 runner races (and other such scenarios) are not 'placed' regarding my statistics.
Trainers with their relevant number of runners (two or more) on the Aintree card on Saturday (winning Grand National trainers listed in brackets):
11 runners—Paul Nicholls (1 winner at 33/1)
5—Donald McCain (1 winner at 14/1)
5—Jonjo O’Neill (1 winner at 10/1**)
5—David Pipe (1 winner at 7/1**)
4—Gordon Elliott (1 winner at 33/1)
4—Nigel Twiston-Davies (2 winners at 20/1 & 7/1*)
2—Kim Bailey (1 winner at 16/1)
2—Henry De Bromhead
2—Mouse Morris (1 winner at 33/1)
2—Dr Richard Newland (1 winner at 25/1)
2—Sue Smith (1 winner at 66/1)
2—Venetia Williams (1 winner at 100/1)
Oliver Sherwood has one runner on the card having saddled a 25/1 winner of the Grand National, whilst Willie Mullins is in the same camp having secured a 7/1* success.
129 declared runners
General overview - Corresponding Placepot dividends from last year:
Chepstow: £29.60 – 6 favourites – 2 winners – 3 placed – 1 unplaced
Newcastle (NH): £55.10 – 7 favourites – 3 winners – 1 placed – 3 unplaced
Lingfield (A/W): £48.90 – 8 favourites – 2 winners – 3 placed – 3 unplaced
Wolverhampton: £197.10 – 6 favourites – 2 winners – 1 placed – 3 unplaced