Aintree Grand National: 21st Century Trends Betting Selections

Aintree Grand National: 21st Century Trends Betting Selections

With less than two months to go, the latest entries for the Aintree Grand National were released last week. The vast quantity of Irish-based runners has been the main talking point, with no fewer than 61 of the current 94 runner field hailing from the Emerald Isle.

Will that strength in numbers pay off and see the prize heading across the Irish Sea for the fifth time in six years? Or does the home team have enough in reserve to repel the raiders? Here, using data presented by, we look back at the 23 editions of the race from the current century (no race in 2020 as a result of the global pandemic) and pick out a selection of stats and trends which may assist in zeroing in on the most likely contenders at this early stage.

Grand National: Age of Winner

The Grand National is open to all chasers ages seven and above, but runners so young rarely come home in front – Noble Yeats becoming the first seven-year-old winner since 1940 when landing the prize in 2022. At the other end of the spectrum, Amberleigh House defied father time when scoring for Donald McCain in 2004. Overall, 8-11 years old appears to be the optimal age range, with 21 of 23 winners (91.30%) falling into that bracket.

Applying this trend to the current list of entries doesn’t help much, as only five of the 94 runners fall outside the 8-11 bracket.

Class a Key Pointer

The overall quality of the Grand National has undoubtedly improved in the current century, with the race attracting a higher quantity of Grade 1 calibre performers than ever before. The stats suggest that the classy sorts who show up for a crack at this Grade 3 affair hold a definite advantage, with 15 of the 23 winners (65.22%) having previously competed in Grade 1 company.

Applying this criterion to the field proves more productive in bringing the overall list down to 52.

Grand National: Stamina To The Fore

Taking place over a gruelling 4m2½f, the Grand National is known as one of the most arduous challenges of the season for good reason. It makes sense that proven stamina should count as a positive under such conditions. There aren’t too many events held over a similar trip as this, but 20 of the 23 winners (86.96%) had previously won over 3m or further.

Putting the remaining contenders through the stamina filter brings the field down to a 38.

Finishing Position Last Time Out

Arriving at any race following a positive performance is rarely a negative. However, it has not been absolutely essential for success in Britain’s biggest chase contest, with only six of 23 winners (26.09%) having also won on their previous outing. 12 of 23 (52.17%) had finished in the first three, and 20 of 23 (86.96%) had at least managed to finish in the top 10.

Sifting our 38 contenders through the finishing position sieve knocks another nine potentials out, leaving us with a final field of 29.

Grand National: Other Factors

  • Gordon Elliott (three) and Lucinda Russell (two) are the only trainers to have recorded more than one win in the race over this period -
  • Davy Russell, Derek Fox, Ruby Walsh, and Leighton Aspell are the leading riders with two wins apiece -
  • 18 of 23 winners (78.26%) carried 11st or less on the day -

Recommended Bets: Skelton and Cromwell Contenders Worth an Each Way Punt

29 is still too many to work with. To zero in on our selections, we will focus on those runners most likely to get a run. The field will be limited to 34 this year, but with the likelihood that a fair few will be withdrawn between now and race day, we will focus on the 40 highest-rated contenders in the current field.

Plenty of the remaining runners have a lot to recommend them, with the past two winners of the race, Corach Rambler and Noble Yeats, both making the cut, in addition to this season's King George champ, Hewick. However, assuming that all three will be pretty high up in the weights and north of the 11st barrier, we will cast our eye a little further down the ratings for our ante post selections.

The first to carry our cash will be the Dan Skelton mare, Galia Des Liteaux. Eight years old, second last time out, a three-time winner over 3m and tried three times in Grade 1 company, she remains relatively unexposed over fences and ticks all the right boxes. She also ran a cracking trial for this event last time - closing all the way to the line at the end of the 3m5f Classic Chase at Warwick, when failing by just ¾l to reel in My Silver Lining. Take the 33/1 with Sporting Index, who are offering each-way terms on the first five places.

Recent evidence shows that we should fear the Irish challengers in this event. That is particularly true this year, with Irish trainers responsible for around two-thirds of the total entries. Away from Hewick and Noble Yeats, Coko Beach and Irish National winner I Am Maximus appeal, but the one we like best is Letsbeclearaboutit. Hailing from the yard of supreme target trainer Gavin Cromwell, this nine-year-old has been running consistently well to hit the frame in all five starts this season. Showing a touch of class when fourth in last season's Grade 1 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, he looks worth adding to the ante-post arsenal at 50/1 with Spreadex.

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