Another year of frustration for me and my followers sadly as the trends inexplicably fail to find a winner for a second year in a row!
It’s fair to say the weather turned the race into a an even more stamina sapping test than normal.
Without a doubt the most telling statistic from today’s race was that in a field where only ten out of thirty-nine runners could boast a career place over 3.5 miles or further, three finished among the first five home.
It’s frustrating that I had four of these proven stayers in my nine-strong shortlist, but clearly we missed the mark on all but Goonyella, who did exactly what I expected, staying all day to come up a creditable fifth and at least salvage some money!
So let’s assess our winner, RULE THE WORLD:
Has a career win over further than 3m: Incredibly, was the only horse in the field with no chase win at all! But was something of a perennial bridesmaid before today having finished 2nd no less than seven times, most notably in the 2015 Irish National (3m 5f). All of which means despite bucking a long standing trend he ultimately has proven stamina.
Has ten or more career starts over fences (includes PTP): 13 chase starts + 1 point to point, so right in the sweet spot of 10-16 starts where we found three-quarters of placed horses since 2009 lie.
Is aged between eight and twelve: Yes, Aged 9.
Has been placed at least once this season. Yes, placed 3rd in a 17 runner handicap in Ireland back in September, but not placed in four subsequent outings before Aintree.
Has a Class 1 or Class 2 career win. Nup!
Has a career win in a field of eleven or more. Won a 14 runner maiden hurdle in 2012. Also placed 2nd in the 28 runner Irish National.
Has raced in the last 63 days. Yes, last run on March 6th – 34 days ago.
Has at least two runs this season (since August 1st). Yes, 5 runs.
So if you ignore the admittedly glaring anomaly of having no career wins before today he pretty much fits the profile of a typical Grand National winner!
Rule The World reminds me of Auroras Encore back in 2013 and to a lesser degree 2014 winner Pineau De Re – a proven stayer coming into the race under everyone’s radar and carrying a nice low weight. That’s 3 out of the last 4 winners fitting such a profile.
I will continue to assess what today’s race statistics tell me in the coming days and will update the stats in preparedness for another tilt in 2017. It’s been a few barren years now but I’ll be back for more punishment… A win is now overdue!