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John Smiths Grand National

John Smiths Grand National Chase (Handicap) (Grade 3) 4m4f
16:15 Aintree, Saturday 14 April 2012

The most famous steeplechase in the world, the Grand National, takes place this saturday at Aintree. It is the one day of the year when it seems that everyone in the UK becomes a horse racing fan, makes their selection and places a bet. Most people are of the opinion that the race is a bit of a lottery and that any horse can win the race.

Selection methods vary from liking a horse's name or the jockey's colours to closing your eyes and sticking a pin in the race card or letting the pet labrador choose by putting his paws on the horse to back. However, while this may once have been true it is no longer the case. Looking back over the years at the winning horses there are definite characteristics that can be used to immediately rule out a large proportion of the field and leave you with only a small number of horses that have a realistic chance of winning. You can then choose one of these horses or even split your stake among all the remaining selections. I have listed below all these trends and statistics and give you those horses that can actually win the race. Once you have the selections the next step is to place your bet and so I have also listed some of the best bookmaker offers for the race.

The 2008 winner Comply Or Die was a nine year old Irish bred horse who was rated 139 and carried 10st9lb on his 15th career start over fences and his 5th that season and he was the 7/1 joint favourite. All these characteristics make up your typical Grand National winner.


Every winner since 1970 has had at least one victory over three miles or further before running in the national. Therefore, with the extreme distance of 4 1/2 miles in this race you can dismiss any horse that has not won over a distance of 3 miles or more.


In the last 50 years only the exceptional Red Rum has carried more than 11st6lb to victory and only Hedgehunter in 2005 has won carrying more than 11st. Therefore, you can dismiss any horse carrying more than 11st6lb.


Younger horses tend to struggle in the National, with every one of the last eleven winners being aged between 8ys and 12ys with eight of them being 9yrs or 10ys. Therefore, you can dismiss all horses aged 7yrs or younger.


Nine of the last eleven winners were Irish bred horses,Red Marauder in 2001 being the only British Bred winner. The 2009 winner, Mon Mome, was the first French bred winner in over a hundred years this despite the fact that a large proportion of the runners over the last few years have been French bred. Therefore, dismiss French bred horses (with the exception of Mon Mome) and respect Irish bred.

Course Experience

Over the last few years previous experience over the big Aintree fences has been a good pointer to finding the winner with six of the last eight winners having run over the Aintree fences before. Therefore, respect horses that have run over the Grand National course before.


All of the last ten winners have been rated between 136 and 144 with five of the last six winners rated either 138 or 139 and none had fallen more than twice over fences in their entire career. Also, every one of the last ten winners had won either a Listed or Graded (Class A or 1) race in their career and all had run within the last seven weeks. Therefore, respect all horses rated between 136 and 144, dismiss horses than have fallen more than twice in chases and dismiss all horses that have not won a Listed or Graded race.


14 of the last 19 winners were in the top eight in the betting. Mon Mone was a shock 100/1 winner in 2009 but you should ignore big priced runners.


Positives Negatives
Irish bred Has not won a race of 3 miles or more
Rated between 136 and 144 Carrying more than 11st6lbs
Has run over the Grand National course before Aged 7 or younger
Is in the first eight in the betting French bred
Has run within the last seven weeks. Fallen more than twice in chase races
  Not won a Listed or Graded race
  Wearing blinkers or visors

2012 Selection

Applying the above criteria the winner should be one of the following horses,

26 Sunnyhillboy
34 Giles Cross


1st Neptune Collonges (FR) 33/1
2nd Sunnyhillboy (IRE) 16/1
3rd Seabass (IRE) 8/1 jf
4th Cappa Bleu (IRE) 16/1

Tote Win: £47.80
Tote Place: £9.00, £6.40, £2.60, £4.60
Straight Forecast: £448.28
Tricast: £4657.68
Exacta: £737.20
Trifecta: £69606.30
Swingers: 1&2:£58.90, 2&3:£61.60, 1&3:£114.80 

2011 Selection

Applying the above criteria the winner should be one of the following horses,

11 The Midnight Club
13 Silver By Nature


1st BallaBriggs (IRE) 14/1
2nd Oscar Time (IRE) 14/1
3rd Don't Push It (IRE) 9/1
4th State of Play 11/1

Tote Win: £14.50
Tote Place: £3.80,£3.50,£3.90,£7.30
Straight Forecast: £181.25
Tricast: £1934.42
Exacta: £225.30
Trifecta: £4686.20
Swingers:1&2:£48.40, 2&3:£27.20, 1&3:£34.70

2010 Selection

Applying the above criteria the winner should be one of the following horses,

20 Snowy Morning
24 Character Building


1st 6 Don't Push It (IRE) 10/1 JF
2nd 4 Black Apalachi (IRE) 14/1
3rd 23 State of Play 16/1
4th 22 Big Fella Thanks 10/1 JF

Tote Win 15.70
Pl 3.90, 3.90, 5.20, 3.90
EX 544.50
SF 130.60
Tricast 2324.26
Winning Trainer Jonjo O'Neill
Winning Jockey A P McCoy
Distances 5l, 20l, 3l
Runners 40 ran

A disappointing result this year with Snowy Morning finishing 6th and Character Building finishing 7th.

2009 Selection

Applying the above criteria the winner should be one of the following horses,

5 Comply Or Die
8 Black Apalachi
9 Hear The Echo


1st Mon Mome (FR) 100/1
2nd Comply or Die (IRE) 14/1
3rd My Will (FR) 8/1
4th State of Play 14/1

The statistics didn't quite work out this year with s French bred winner at a huge price of 100/1. While Mon Mome satisfied a lot of criteria for the winner I had dismissed it on account of it being French bred. This was the first French bred horse ever to win the National. It had to happen sometime I suppose !

As for my selections, Comply or Die put up an excellent performance in coming in second. It was leading approaching the last and it was only beaten, I believe, in the long run in because of the almost extra stone it was carrying compared with last year. Black Apalachi was leading for most of the way until stumbling after jumping a fence on the final circuit while going well. The jockey tried hard to cling on but was unable to stay on board. As for poor Hear the Echo, he collapsed and died on the run in while out of contention.





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