Haydock Grand National Trial: 21st Century Trends

Haydock Grand National Trial: 21st Century Trends

The National Hunt season is really beginning to warm up as we edge ever close to the golden springtime period. Not long now until the magical Cheltenham Festival kicks into gear, with the Aintree Grand National Meeting arriving hot on its heels in April. In relation to that latter event, this coming Saturday sees the last key trial for the Grand National, as the fellow Merseyside venue of Haydock plays host to the 3m4½f Haydock Grand National Trial.

The last of the trials ahead of the main event hasn’t been the most informative for those seeking the winner of the Aintree Showpiece. Only the mighty Red Rum has won this race en route to Grand National success - although Cool Ground and Master Oats both subsequently landed the Cheltenham Gold Cup, and Party Politics won this the year after his Grand National success.

Regardless of its predictive value, this stamina-sapping event provides a fascinating betting heat in its own right. Here, using data presented by NewBettingSites.uk, we look back at the 23 editions from the current century (no race in 2002 due to a waterlogged track) and highlight a number of trends which may assist in identifying the winner.

Age of Winner

Haydock Grand National Trial. age of winners 2000 2023

Not the strongest starts from a trends perspective, with a very even spread between the ages of 8 and 11. The 8 and 9-year-olds have faired best, but only marginally so. However, it is worth noting that no runner older than 11 has come home in front in recent times, whilst those younger than eight also boast a relatively poor record.

Weight Carried by Winner

Haydock Grand National Trial Weight Carried by Winner 2000 /2023

Things don’t become much clearer when looking at the weight carried by the winner. The past 23 editions have featured a close to dead even split between those runners carrying 11st or more (12) and those burdened with under 11st (11).

Rating of Winner

Haydock Grand National Trial Rating of Winner 2000/2023

As we may have expected from the lack of solid weight trends, the rating of the winner chart above also throws up an erratic pattern at first glance. However, there is a definite upward trend in evidence, suggesting that the overall quality of the race has increased with time. The average rating of the winner over this period is 141.04.

Finishing Position Last Time Out

Haydock Grand National Trial Finishing Position Last Time 2000/2023

Finally, a reasonably solid trend emerges when looking at the finishing position of the winners on their previous racecourse outing. A solid 10 of 23 (43.48%) were last time out winners, whilst 17 of 23 (73.91%) had at least managed to finish in the first three.

Highest Grade of Previous Wins

Haydock Grand National Trial Highest Grade of Previous Wins

The 21st Century has seen a pretty even split between those runners already proven in this sort of grade and horses stepping up to record a career-best success. 11 of 23 had previously won at Listed level or above, whilst 12 of 23 had never scored above Class 2 level – effectively the notch below this race on the ladder. The most useful stat when narrowing down the field is that 18 of 23 (78.26%) had already won at Class 2 level or higher.

Top Trainers and Jockeys

Only three trainers have won this more than once over the period analysed. Lucinda Russell and Venetia Williams lead the way with three wins each, followed by Nigel Twiston-Davies with two. The wins are also widely distributed amongst the jockeys. Peter Buchanan tops the pile on four, with Tom Scudamore coming next on two. Unfortunately for trends fans, both riders have now retired from the saddle.

Fate of the Favourite

A tricky race on paper, and one which hasn’t been particularly kind to favourite backers in recent times. Between 2000 and 2023, only three market leaders came home in front, resulting in a loss of £8 to £1 level stakes. 10 of 23 winners returned a double-figure SP, with 33/1 shot Smooth Stepper causing the biggest shock in 2020.

Other Factors

  • 21 of 23 winners (91.30%) had previously won over 3m or further 
  • 9 of 23 (39.13%) had previously won at Haydock 
  • 21 of 23 (91.30%) had run within the previous 91 days 
  • The Welsh Grand National is the most common route into the race for the winner, with 6 of 23 running in the Chepstow showpiece on their previous start 

Betting Selections: Silver to Grab Gold and Guetapan to Hit The Frame

Far from the strongest of trends races, but it is still possible to whittle the field down. Of the more fancied contenders, Iron Bridge is yet to score above Class 3 level, Famous Bridge was pulled up last time out, Credo finished outside of the first 3, and Snipe and Yeah Man are only seven years of age.

Iwilldoit, My Silver Lining, and Guetapan Collonges are the three to make the shortlist. Iwilldoit is a thoroughly likeable performer but looks to have a lot on his plate under the maximum weight of 12st (more than any of the last 23 winners). As such, My Silver Lining gets the vote as the win selection. Eight years of age and a tenacious winner of the Classic Chase over 3m5f last time out, she arrives at the top of her game and is fancied to make a bold bid from the front. Take the 6/1 with LiveScoreBet.

Guetapan Collonges was third behind My Silver Lining in that Classic Chase contest and finds himself 6lbs better off with his conqueror under these conditions. A winner over 3m½f and fourth in the 4m2f Midlands Grand National last season, he looks solid value to hit the frame at 12/1 with BetUK.

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