Scottish Grand National: Ten-Year Trends Selections

Scottish Grand National: Ten-Year Trends Selections

Hot on the heels of the awesome display of I Am Maximus in the Aintree Grand National, we have another staying chase marvel on the horizon this coming Saturday, as the eyes of the racing world look north to Ayr. The Scottish Grand National may not be quite as famous as the English event from which it draws inspiration, but with a trip of 4m and 27 fences, the £200,000 event places similar demands on the stamina and jumping ability of the field.

Always a thrilling contest, the 2024 edition is spiced up by the pivotal role the race plays in the race for the British Trainer’s Championship. Willie Mullins leads the way, but Paul Nicholls and Dan Skelton are in hot pursuit, and all three trainers have runners in the field. Here, using data presented by, we look at the ten-year trends for the race and pick out our best bets for another sizzling Saturday afternoon on the racing front.

Stats Against the Older Runners

The Scottish Grand National may be open to runners aged five and older, but it is exceedingly rare for a horse younger than 7 to come home in front. No five-year-old has ever won, whilst 1994 champ Earth Summit is the only six-year-old to prevail in the history of the race. At the other end of the scale, Willsford became the oldest-ever winner when landing the prize as a 12-year-old in 1995.

The past ten editions have been dominated by the middle of the age range, with eight of ten winners between seven and nine years of age. Applying that trend to this year's field allows us to trim the list of runners from 26 down to 20.

Tough to Win Under a Big Weight

There have been several mighty weight-carrying displays in this event, notably Playford and the mighty Red Rum, who carried 12st and 11st13lb, respectively. However, those results are the exception rather than the rule. Nine of the past ten editions have fallen to a runner saddled with 11st3lb or less. Sifting the remaining runners through that filter reduces the field down to 18.

Focus on Runners Who Arrive in Form

Vicente fell before winning this for a second time in 2017, whilst 2014 champ Al Co could manage only tenth in his prep race. The other eight winners finished in the first five on their previous racecourse outing. Focussing on the in-form contenders in 2024 sees us arrive at a field of 13 – half of the original number, but still work to do before we zero in on a selection or two.

Class to the Fore

One of the more interesting trends thrown up by this handicap affair is that nine of the last ten winners had previously run in Grade 3 company or higher. Only two managed to win at such a lofty level, but that so many had competed in such a classy contest suggests they had at least hinted at being a Graded class performer in their homework. Nine of the remaining 13 fit this trend.

Other Factors

  • 10 of 10 winners had an official rating between 135 and 146
  • 9 of 10 had previously won over a trip of 3m or further
  • 9 of 10 had run within the last 56 days
  • 6 of 10 had 10 or fewer previous starts over fences

Scottish Grand National Best Bets: Three Against the Field

From that original field of 26, only three chasers meet the criteria outlined above: Beauport, Ballygrifinn Cottage, and Mr Vango.

Beauport (16/1 with Livescorebet) goes for Nigel Twiston-Davies, who has won this three times and arrives on the back of a strong staying victory in the Midlands Grand National at Uttoxeter. He’s up 5lbs for that but remains 3lbs below his career-high rating and looks primed to go well.

Ballygrifincottage (20/1 with LiveScoreBet) was talented enough to finish fourth in the 2022 edition of the Grade 1 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle, only for his career to go off the boil. However, following a long spell in the doldrums, recent efforts have brought encouragement – most notably when going down narrowly in a competitive event at Sandown. A mark of 138 is 7lb below his peak, and this step up to a marathon trip may suit.

Mr Vango (16/1 with LiveScoreBet) finished third in the Grade 2 National Hunt Challenge Trophy at this year's Cheltenham Festival and takes a step down in class here. Never out of the first three in three starts over fences, he doesn’t possess many gears but is just the type of resolute stayer who may enjoy this test.

With all three runners attractively priced for an each-way punt and LiveScoreBet paying out on the first six places, Beauport, Ballygrifin Cottage, and Mr Vango represent a solid three-pronged attack for Scotland’s biggest race.

You might also be interested in:

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