John Smith’s Grand National – held annually at Aintree Racecourse – is one of the most prestigious horseracing events on the calendar and certainly the worlds greatest steeplechase. However, with 40 horses competing, picking a winner can be a daunting task. That is why I have listed the most important criteria to check when picking a horse.
As the race is primarily about jumping, a strong fencer will be a likely candidate for winning it. There are 30 obstacles over the two courses so checking the form guides to determine how well the horse has jumped in previous races is a good idea.
The second factor to take into account is the weight carried by the horse. Unlike the Cheltenham Gold Cup where the horses are handicapped evenly, in the Grand National more weight is given to the better horses. As a general rule of thumb, those carrying the largest amount of weight are going to struggle, although winners have emerged from the top weight bracket in the past, (2010 winner Don’t Push It took victory with 11st 5lbs.)
Stamina is another property to look for in the competitors. Avoid those horses which have a good track record over short distances (2 miles). They won’t be able to recreate the same level of performance over twice the distance. Those horses that are stronger over longer distances will be the likeliest candidates, as stamina will always beat speed in a four and a half mile race.
The last and possibly most crucial factor however is the prevailing going. The forecast is not great for the Grand National, with patches of rain predicted. This will make the ground ride soft. Picking a horse that has excelled under those conditions is recommended. Check our Aintree Racecourse weather forecast to get a picture of what the conditions are expected to be, with weather probability charts available under the ‘risk’ section.
Good luck to you all!