2019 Grand National trends

The Other ‘Long Standing’ Trends

When it comes to trends, I make a big distinction between what I’d describe as key performance trends to look for when picking a Grand National winner and other more arbitrary trends, which I’ve consolidated here into one post.

If you’ve been reading this blog and my Facebook updates you may have already read my posts on STAMINA, WEIGHT, FORM and AINTREE course form. I consider these to be the four directly relevant performance based trends.

The following are more arbitrary, but nonetheless useful trends to look for. They reflect a blend of experience and preparation that has become very typical of a Grand National winner. You may read a few of them reading other tipsters and newspapers in the run up to the big race.

Here’s a summary of each along with the number of winners since 1994 who conform with each one.

  • Stamina – 23/25 winners had previously scored a win over 3 miles or further.
  • Age – 25/25 winners were aged 8-12.
  • Experience – 25/25 winners have at least 10 career starts over fences.
  • Big Field Success – 23/25 winners have won a chase of 11 or more runners.
  • Class – 24/25 winners won a Class 1 or Class 2 chase.
  • Season Runs – 23/25 winners had 3-6 runs from August 1 – Aintree meeting
  • Days Rest – 24/25 winners had raced in the previous 56 days.

At face value these trends appear to be highly predictive. In fact, over a 18-year stretch from 1996-2013 they were pretty much bullet-proof. Seventeen out of nineteen winners over that period conformed with every single one of the above marks, and only two winners (Red Marauder in 2001 and Bindaree in 2002 winner) fell down on any of the above.

But three of the last five winners have fallen down on one or more of the above…

  • 2014 – Pineau De Re. SEASON RUNS – 8 runs prior to Aintree.
  • 2016 – Rule The World. LONG WIN, CLASS WIN, BIG FIELD WIN – No career wins over fences.
  • 2017 – One For Arthur. DAYS REST – 84 days.

As you can see, after a nineteen year-era of hanging your hat on the above trends, these have seemingly become exposed as the somewhat arbitrary measures they are. The most glaring example being 2016 winner Rule The World, who managed to win the National despite failing on three trends because he hadn’t previously won a race over fences!

Another shifting trend looks to be around race preparation. 2017 winner One For Arthur broke a long standing mark having not raced since mid-January. However, this might be a reflection of wider preparation trends – he was one of 8 runners coming into last years’ race off the back of a break lasting more than 56 days.

Having been blind sided by these trends in 2016 and 2017 I took a more pragmatic approach last year, allowing for the possibility that our winner will break the odd arbitrary marker. It worked well for me in 2018 so I’ll repeat the formula for this year.

So lets take a look at these trends and see who falls at each hurdle!

STAMINA – No Win Over 3 Miles Or Further

  • Warriors Tale
  • Magic Of Light
  • A Toi Phil
  • Sandymount Duke
  • Ultragold
  • Blow By Blow
  • Up For Review
  • Livelovelaugh
  • Captain Redbeard

AGE – Less than 8, More Than 12

  • Ramses De Teillee
  • Bless The Wings

EXPERIENCE – Less Than 10 Career Starts

  • Ballyoptic
  • Step Back
  • Blow By Blow
  • Up For Review
  • Livelovelaugh
  • Joe Farrell

BIG FIELDS – Has won a chase of 11 or more runners

  • Ballyoptic
  • Jury Duty
  • Sandymount Duke
  • Tea For Two
  • Blow By Blow
  • Up For Review
  • Singlefarmpayment
  • Vintage Clouds
  • Livelovelaugh
  • Captain Redbeard

CLASS – Has Not Won A Class 1 Or Class 2 Chase

  • Blow By Blow
  • Up For Review
  • Livelovelaugh

SEASON RUNS – Not Between 3-6 Runs Since August

  • Don Poli
  • Mala Beach
  • Pleasant Company
  • Rathvinden
  • One For Arthur
  • Regal Encore
  • A Toi Phil
  • Noble Endeavor
  • Step Back
  • Blow By Blow
  • Up For Review
  • Valseur Lido
  • Joe Farrell
  • Just A Par

DAYS REST – Not Run In The Last 56 Days

  • Valtor
  • Don Poli
  • Go Conquer
  • Pleasant Company
  • One For Arthur
  • Rock The Kasbah
  • Step Back
  • Just A Par
  • Baie Des Iles

Having had my fingers burned by these trends more times than I’d care to mention, I’ll be pragmatic and allow for a the likelihood that our winner will miss the odd trend – It’s notable that only eleven runners hit every single mark!

That said, this combination does, year after year, provide a useful pointer towards a consistent profile of Grand National winner. For that reason I’ll use the pragmatic logic that our winner may bust one or two of the above trends, but no more.