AINTREE – APRIL 9
Last year’s corresponding toteplacepot dividend:
2015: £373.20 (6 favourites: 1 winner - 2 placed - 3 unplaced)
Thursday's Placepot permutation at Aintree:
Leg 1 (1.45): 4 (Arpege D'Alene) 7 (Tiger Roll) & 13 (Join The Clan), 3 (If In Doubt)
Leg 2 (2.25): 7 (Yorkhill) & 4 (La Prezien)
Leg 3 (3.00): 3 (Douvan) & 1 (Alisier D'Irelande)
Leg 4 (3.40): 6 (Thistlecraft) & 2 (Different Gravy)
Leg 5 (4.20): 13 (Mystifiable), 9 (Warden Hill) & 8 (Thomas Brown)
Leg 6 (5.15): 1 (Many Clouds), 27 (The Last Samurai), 16 (Buywise), 38 (Saint Are) & 14 (Shutthefrontdoor)
Suggested stake: 360 bets to 10p stakes
1.45: This opening race was the last event on the Thursday card last year if you are trying to get an angle into the race. Six-year-olds have won five of the last nine renewals, whilst five of the last six gold medallists have been burdened with a minimum weight of eleven stones. jonjo O'Neill has saddled three winners during the last decade and putting the stats and facts together produces an overnight short list of ARPEGE D'ALENE, TIGER ROLL, JOINT THE CLAN and IF IN DOUBT.
Favourite factor: Six of the thirteen favourites during the last decade have secured toteplacpot positions, statistics which include three successarket leaders and one co favourite.
2.25: Five-year-olds have won five of the last six renewals and LA PREZIEN and FLYING ANGEL should represent the vintage to decent effect. That said, YORKHILL won with so much authority at Cheltenham that the Willie Mullins raider should help the trainer pull clear of Paul Nicholls in the race to be the Champion Trainer this season. It is said that Paul will have to saddle the winner of the Grand National to have any hope of stopping the title going across the Irish Sea. We shall see.
Favourite factor: Six clear market leaders and one joint favourite have prevailed during the last 17 years, whilst 12 of the 17 jollies have secured toteplacepot positions. Going back further in time, 15/38 renewals to date have been won by favourites.
3.00: Six-year-old's have secured four of the last five renewals in which they were represented, the relevant raiders last year only being conspicuous by their absence. Upwards and onward in positive mode by suggesting that DOUVAN only has ALISIER D'IRELAND to beat, with both horses representing the six-year-old vintage. Media types have been suggesting that the presence of so many Willie Mullins horses this week has added an edge to proceedings. I am not among their number I have to say, and paying serious money to get into Aintree to watch uncompetitive events is not my description of a good festival.
Favourite factor: Five clear favourites and one joint market leader have won since 1999, whilst 12 of the 17 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: Nicky Henderson saved DIFFERENT GRAVEY from giving lumps of weight away in a handicap at Cheltenham three weeks ago, preferring to give his representative a chance of winning this Grade 1 hurdle event. We will soon know if the move was worthwhile but either way, that old adage of never fearing just one horse sometimes pays dividends. That 'one horse' on this occasion however is THISTLECRAFT, who was oh so impressive when lifting the World Hurdle at the festival. The huge advantage that Colin Tizzard's raider has on his side is that he barely had a blow at Prestbury Park, holding recent race fitness over the Henderson representative on this occasion. PRINCE OF SCARS is the only other potential winner on the field from my viewpoint and event then, it's a speculative call.
Favourite factor: 11 favourites have won during the last 21 years, whilst market leaders have secured toteplacepot position in each of the last ten years.
4.20: 13 of the last 14 winners carried weights of 11-2 or less, whilst eight-year-old's have won six of the last 15 contests. The three horses which possess ticks in both of the trend boxes make plenty of appeal for different reasons. MYSTIFIABLE comes into the race at the top of his form, whilst Dr Richard Newland (BAND OF BLOOD) has his team in fine fettle. WARDEN HILL completes the list for Mick Channon who hit a purple patch a week or two ago and his raider could prove to be the value for money call. The overnight reserve nomination is offered to THOMAS BROWN who is the only runner on the card for Harry Fry.
Favourite factor: 10 of the 21 favourites have finished in the frame during the last 17 years, statistics which include four winners.
5.15: Let’s get some of the Grand National facts and figures out of the way to start with. Ten-year-old's lead the nine-year-old's 7-6 via the last 20 renewals, though it's worth noting that eleven-year-olds come to the party having won four of the last five contests. Nine-year-olds have won nine of the last 33 contests. Only five favourites have won via the last 32 renewals. Irish trainers have won six of the last 17 events. Only three grey horses have won the big race, the 2012 winner being the first for fifty one years. 23 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--fourteen 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 seven winners have carried a minimum burden of eleven stones. The following runners should give us a good run for our collective monies. MANY CLOUDS looks like going off as a worthy favourite having breezed up last year when I had previously marked him down as a potential Cheltenham Gold Cup winner a few weeks before the big race at Prestbury Park. No horse has defended his crown successfully since dear old Red Rum in 1974, but records are there to be broken and the victory that Many Clouds recorded at Kelso last time out smacked of the nine-year-old returning to form at the right time of the year. Horses primed for the race at the start of their respective seasons invariably go well provided they can avoid 'traffic problems' during the contest. SILVINIACO CONTI represents Paul Nicholls and as a winner of sixteen of his thirty races to date, 'Conti', is very much the class horse in the race. The only negative on the horizon is the going factor, as the ten-year-old would not want heavy ground, especially having to carry such a big weight. His best efforts tend to be on the soft side of good which at the time of writing, was the exact description of the ground at Aintree. THE LAST SAMURAI: Trainer Kim Bailey is gradually turning the clock full circle back to his Gold Cup/Champion Hurdle double in 1995 with Kim's runners going much better now than in the last few years when Kim admitted recently "the phone stopped ringing". The Last Samurai is one of the best handicapped horses in the line-up as his 'new mark' would have put him twelve pounds higher which offers the eight-year-old outstanding claims. Although vintage representatives have not shone down the years, The Last Samurai aims to follow up the victory of Many Clouds last year who was only the second eight-year-old to win the race during the last 22 years. There will be far worse options on the day I'll wager however, with Kim having another chance to turn the clock back in time, having won this event with Mr Frisk in 1990. Out of interest, The Last Samurai was previous trained by Donald McCain whereby the training procedures adopted in his younger days would have always been planned with a tilt at this race somewhere down the line. BUYWISE: If you are looking for a huge outsider, you could do worse than consider this Evan Williams raider who will be ridden by Paul Maloney. As well as Paul's tremendous each way record in the Grand National, BUYWISE is a nine year-year, the vintage holding the best all-time record in the big race. BUYWISE has won six of his last fourteen races and with only 37 racing miles on his clock, Paul's mount comes here as a relatively unexposed horse. Any going suits for good measure and at around the 50/1 mark, BUYWISE represents good each way value, especially as he has completed the course in 16/17 races thus far, only having fallen on his first ever assignment. Another Outsider to consider is last year's runner up SAINT ARE which was mentioned in dispatches twelve months ago at 25/1. Last year’s beaten favourite SHUTTHEFRONTDOOR was the mount of Tony McCoy in his swansong season and Jonjo's raider did well to finish fifth on what was only his seventh race over fences at the time.
Favourite factor: Two joint market leaders and one clear favourite have won the Grand National during the last eleven years which is a great record in such a competitive event, bucking previous market leader trends. Nine of the 21 favourites during the last 13 years have secured toteplacepot positions.
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 on the Aintree card on Saturday:
4--Mick Channon (includes one reserve)
2--Henry De Bromhead
2--Fergal O'Brien (includes one reserve)
+ 31 different trainers who each saddle just one runner on the card
121 declared runners (includes four reserves for the Grand National)