Who’s Going To Win The Grand National 2022. A Preview by Hector Steiff
The Grand National. The most watched horserace across the globe. They say in Australia that the Melbourne Cup stops a nation. Well, the Grand National at Aintree stops the whole racing world
It’s not even the most valuable contest in the racing calendar, but it’s the main event for the millions that “always have a bet on the Grand National”. Whether that is the workplace sweepstake, the back of an envelope sort that have worked this year’s winner, or the “I’ve had a tip from someone who knows so and so”, everyone has a bet on the Grand National
Only The Derby can come that close to being the sort of racing event that belongs to everyone, the once a year race that gets the “I never bet” type to have a flutter. Of course, for the Derby, those are often the mums, sisters and grandmas, searching to see who Frankie Dettori is riding this year!
But the Grand National is so much more. It’s a great spectacle, has a week long build up, and you have a one in forty chance of saying “I won the Grand National”, in the same way you would announce that “I’ve won the Lottery!” Only, one in forty is a much better chance!
In the last half century, the Grand National has evolved from an almost totally open horserace to an extremely competitive handicap. The only factor of chance left in the race is the sheer size of the field and the unique nature of the “National Course” fences, made from Sitka or Norway Spruce
Visually different from the birch fences on all other National Hunt courses, and with some quirky features thrown in such as the sharp left at Canal Turn and The Chair, the enormous jump in front of the Grandstand, the Grand National throws up every challenge, including the biggest starting line-up of the season and the most extreme trip
With the development of the race into what it is today, it makes the pre-race analysis a somewhat easier task. Mon Mome famously won at 100/1 in 2009, but that’s a standout performance from the outsiders in the line up. However, Auroras Encore landed the race at 66/1 in 2013, and four other horses have taken the race at 33/1 or more nine times in the last fifty years. So, price alone should not be a conclusive factor, but recent history suggests the winner will be in the top third of the betting spread
As a handicap, weights should give all the horses an equal chance in the Grand National, all other factors being equal. It has to be said though, that the weight burden is not as definitive a factor as the ground underfoot, the single most important feature in National Hunt racing. After Red Rum’s second victory in his classic run of three wins in the 1970’s, at twelve stone, only Many Clouds and the great Red Rum himself have been victorious at weights beyond eleven and a half stone. This year’s victor, on the expected good ground, should run at 11st 7lb or less
Age is surely the most predictable, single factor that can be used to eliminate the also rans from the trends analysis, though as the race is only open to seven year olds and upwards, the age spread is small. However, no seven year old has finished this extreme trip at the head of affairs in living memory and, at the other end of the scale, only nine horses have won at twelve years old since 1950. With the competitiveness of the current race, eight to eleven years old is the premium range
Everyone loves a lady, and there’ll be plenty of backers for the mares that make the final cut for Saturday’s showpiece. Since Jessica Harrington’s Magic Of Light came so close to landing the big one when runner-up in 2019, it’s a lifetime of almost seventy years to find the last mare to win the Grand National – Nickel Coin, in 1951
Much as everyone loves a lady, gentlemen prefer blondes! But the statistics show that grey horses have a miserly record in the Grand National. Only three greys have landed the race, and The Lamb won it twice, but two centuries ago! In the modern era, since 1960, just two greys have made it to the winner’s enclosure, Nicolaus Silver and Neptune Collonges
Statistics are a useful tool. In science, medicine & research, statistics are a vital tool for the benefit of mankind. In horseracing, and the Grand National in particular, statistics in this article, and others readily available in the next few days, will use trends analysis to predict the winner of Saturday’s big event. The rub is, though, that there is no magic formula when it comes to the lottery of the Grand National, but to quote Sherlock Holmes, “when you have eliminated all which is impossible, then whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth”
On this basis, when the most unlikely (“impossible”) trends are removed from the selection pool, then the seven year olds can be discounted. Beyond that, the trends analysis suggests looking for a weight of 11st 7lb or less, but that only rules out three more. Around twenty runners line up at 33/1 or less in the ante-post markets, so that still leaves a large pool to choose from
Statistics can work in the positive in trends analysis, but can be read another way. If the sample size is large enough, long term averages should even out. In this view, it’s long overdue that a mare should take the plaudits on Saturday. And what about a grey, another trend sorely underrepresented in the statistics
Who’s going to win the Grand National?
Charlie Longsdon’s grey mare ticks many boxes. She’s been aimed at this race, is the right age, runs from an ideal weight at 10st 8lb, and has already won over the National Fences this season, landing the Becher Chase here back in December. It’s long overdue that a mare won this race, and she’s a grey to boot, so will look to make it four from four this season
This preview has been brought to you by our occasional correspondent, Hector Steiff