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Day 1: Grand National Thursday | Day 2: Ladies Day | Key trends | Grand National Betting
Making sense of the Grand National form guide
It’s not uncommon for a horse to return to Aintree to run in the Grand National on multiple occasions.
In fact, five of the last 17 winners had finished unplaced in the previous year’s Grand National. Blaklion, Alpha Des Obeaux, Warriors Tale, The Last Samuri, The Dutchman and Valseur Lido are among the 2019 Grand National contenders that finished down the field in 2018.
Meanwhile, only one winner in the last 34 years had either triumphed or finished among the places in the previous year.
This is a negative for last year’s 1-2 Tiger Roll and Pleasant Company, both of whom are once again among the favourites in the betting ahead of the 2019 edition.
What’s the Grand National form guide saying?
The Grand National form guide isn’t solely about winning races. Only four of the last 16 winners had triumphed in their previous race before arriving at Aintree. However, nine of the 16 had finished in the first three last time out.
Surprisingly, 25 of the last 28 winners had won no more than six chase starts previously.
Some informative Grand National trials have already been run this season, with the Becher Chase won by Walk In The Mill, the Haydock Grand National Trial won by Robinsfirth and Warwick’s Classic Chase taken by Impulsive Star.
The winners of the latter two races aren’t likely to run at Aintree, but Haydock silver medallist Ramses De Teillee should get into the race and already has a second in the Welsh Grand National to his name this season.
Willie Mullins’ Rathvinden will have gone into many people’s notebooks for the Grand National after winning last year’s four miler at Cheltenham.
He’s now likely to have been underlined in red pen after winning impressively on his belated seasonal debut at Fairyhouse. With an entry in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, a pre-National tune up is a possibility.
Some dark horses among the 2019 Grand National runners
However, there’s no guarantee that it will be one of the Grand National runners towards the head of the betting who triumphs.
Looking back over the last 10 years, the average starting price of a winner is marginally more than 33/1. This includes 100/1 Mon Mome in 2009 and 66/1 Auroras Encore in 2013.
Ultragold is an intriguing runner, having won consecutive editions of the 2m5f Feltham Chase over the big fences at Aintree. He finished a solid third over 3m2f in the Becher Chase at the same venue earlier this season and must have an excellent chance if handling the step up to the Grand National’s extreme 4m2f trip.
Missed Approach finished three places behind Ultragold in the Becher, despite giving away countless lengths at the start and suffering several doses of bad luck in running. Having finished second in the four miler at Cheltenham in 2016 behind last year’s National winner Tiger Roll, he’s sure to stay the distance.
Tracking your Grand National contenders
One of the biggest difficulties once the Grand National gets underway is working out exactly where your horse is.
To help with this, a good starting point is to familiarise yourself with the silks worn by your jockey, particularly the colour of their helmet cover. Some Grand National runners and riders will be wearing similar silks, but the colour of their helmet cover will help to differentiate between them.
Also try to look for other distinguishing features, such as whether your Grand National contender is a grey horse, wears a noseband or has white feet.
This should become clearer in the moments before the start, when the Grand National runners will be walking around the parade ring or when making their way to the starting point.
Finally, having an idea if your horse is typically a front runner or tends to be a slower starter may give you an idea where in the field they are likely to be, especially in the earlier stages of the race.