Grand National - At The Races

Trendspotting

    David Myers looks at the key trends behind the Grand National meeting, from the records of trainers and jockeys at the race through to runners from the Cheltenham Festival and racing styles of the winners.

Aintree is a rich source of stats for the trends fanatic, so whilst we've dealt with the individual races in our Stats Guide section, David Myers has uncovered more gems of information that apply to the historic meeting as a whole.

He will cover every aspect of the three-day Aintree spectacular, in which the last 10 Grand National meetings have been firmly placed under the spotlight in the search of some winner-finding angles. We start with jockeys and trainers.

TRAINERS

Aintree Grand National meeting 2007-2016

Trainer Total £1 Chase Hurdle NHF Non-hcp Handicap
N Henderson 30-208 +14 12-76 16-109 2-23 23-111 7-97
P Nicholls 23-256 -123 12-148 11-100 0-8 19-132 4-124
A King 13-96 +6 5-23 7-48 1-25 11-71 2-25
J O Neill 10-93 +18 6-54 4-33 0-6 3-31 7-62
W P Mullins 8-94 -51 2-51 5-30 1-13 7-51 1-43
N Twiston-Davies 8-113 -43 2-68 4-40 2-5 7-44 1-69
P Hobbs 7-112 -49 6-54 1-50 0-8 2-37 5-75
G Elliott 6-50 +32 3-29 2-18 1-3 3-23 3-27
P Bowen 6-60 +54 4-35 0-17 2-8 2-20 4-40
D Pipe 6-134 -74 4-72 2-60 0-2 3-40 3-94
D McCain Jnr 5-101 -58 3-36 2-52 0-13 2-41 3-60
T George 4-36 +3 4-26 0-9 0-1 3-19 1-17
J Quinn 3-24 +14 0-4 3-18 0-2 1-9 2-15
J M Jefferson 3-29 +10 0-9 3-16 0-4 1-11 2-18
G L Moore 3-35 +15 0-11 2-21 1-3 2-16 1-19

NICKY HENDERSON

2016: 2-13 (+£6)
2015: 3-23 (+£2)
2014: 4-29 (-£4)
2013: 5-31 (£0)
2012: 6-27 (+£13)

Henderson’s Cheltenham Festival winners at Aintree (last 10 years): 5-8 (+£4)
Cheltenham Festival 2nd & 3rd placed runners at Aintree: 10-29 (+£12)
Cheltenham Festival 4th or worse runners at Aintree: 17-77 (+£8)

Overview: While Nicky Henderson’s winners lessened during the last five years at the festival, he has shown a level stakes profit in four of those, and can be relied upon to have winners across the four days.

Aintree’s leading trainer struck more frequently in non-handicaps at 23-111 (21%, +£10) than handicaps (7-97, 7%), as was highlighted by Buveur D'Air (11/4) and Kayf Grace (14/1) 12 months ago. Kayf Grace was also a 6yo, an age-group that delivered for Henderson to good effect here at 15-52 (+£82), while other key areas include runners officially rated 132-138 (5-40 +£44), with those who came via Cheltenham last time connecting at 23-118 (+£20).

PAUL NICHOLLS

2016: 0-23 (-£23)
2015: 3-25 (-£3)
2014: 2-26 (-£17)
2013: 1-26 (-£19)
2012: 4-28 (+£15)

Nicholls’s Cheltenham Festival winners here (last 10 years): 6-17 (-£4)
Cheltenham Festival 2nd & 3rd placed runners here: 3-25 (-£9)
Cheltenham Festival 4th or worse runners here: 7-80 (-£37)

Overview: A rare blank for Paul Nicholls at this fixture in 2016, though some punters may interpret that as the calm before the storm. If that proves the case, then Nicholls’s runners in non-handicaps (14%) should be favoured more than in handicaps (3%), while his favourites struck at 13-42 (+£1), compared to non-favs at 10-213 (-£124).

JONJO O’NEILL

2016: 1-9 (+£14)
2015: 0-12 (-£12)
2014: 1-10 (-£5)
2013: 0-7 (-£7)
2012: 0-8 (-£8)

O’Neill’s Cheltenham Festival winners here: 2-9 (+£4)
Cheltenham Festival 2nd & 3rd placed runners here: 1-10 (-£7)
Cheltenham Festival 4th or worse runners here: 4-37 (+£16)

Overview: With a level stakes profit during the last 10 years at the festival, Jonjo O’Neill is always a trainer to consider, especially in handicaps where he struck at 7-62 (+£33) – Eastlake the latest of those at 22/1 in the Topham Chase 12 months ago. That success also came within a band of O’Neill’s best distances over 2m4f-3m1f at 9-59 (+£41).

ALAN KING

2016: 0-4 (-£4)
2015: 0-11 (-£11)
2014: 3-11 (+£23)
2013: 1-11 (£0)
2012: 3-22 (+£10)

King’s Cheltenham Festival winners here: 2-5 (+£5)
Cheltenham Festival 2nd & 3rd placed runners here: 5-19 (£0)
Cheltenham Festival 4th or worse runners here: 4-24 (+£37)

Overview: Following several excellent years at this meeting, Alan King missed out in 2015 and 2016, although he did send only four runners last time around. King is also experiencing a tremendous season, sending out more winners than during the last seven seasons. With that in mind, King could be ready to strike at Aintree, with non-handicaps a strong area here at 11-71 (+£6), while distances of 2m-2m4f showed at 11-66 (+£21). It’s also worth checking the breeding of King’s runners, as British and French-breds delivered at 11-62 (+£29), compared to Irish-breds (1-31 -£29).

Another handler who may enjoy a good Aintree is Gordon Elliott, who is fast becoming punters’ “go-to trainer” at major jumps festivals. Elliott did well with runners he brought here from Cheltenham (5-21 +£48), and the fact he trained six winners there last month suggests his runners could hit the target once more.

Nigel Twiston-Davies has long been associated with Aintree and sent out yet another winner in Ballyoptic, 12 months ago, who won the Sefton Novices’ Hurdle at 9/1, and it is indeed non-handicaps where this yard showed their profits at 7-44 (+£17).

Philip Hobbs tends to send out a winner across the three days and his runners over the same distance or dropping in trip from last time proved best (5-36 +£10), as those he stepped up in trip here struck at just 2-76 (-£59).

But, what of that man Willie Mullins? Well, prior to the 2016 Grand National Festival, he had a rare poor record with just two winners from 2007 (2-60). However, all that changed 12 months ago when he came good with six winners. Mullins sent his biggest army to date in order to achieve those numbers (6-34) for a loss of -£1 to level stakes, but a closer look shows that each of Mullins’s eight winners here since 2007 came over 2m-2m4f (8-40 +£3) – each of whom arrived from Cheltenham, while all bar one of them came in non-handicaps.

David Pipe is another whose runners have not delivered on a frequent basis at the meeting, and with his last 31 runners having all tasted defeat here, it could pay to be a cautious with his runners – Un Temps Pour Tout, Dell Arca and Starchitect were all beaten favourites 12 months ago.

JOCKEYS

Aintree Grand National meeting 2007-2016

Jockey Total £1 levels Chase Hurdle NHF Non-Hcp Handicap
R Walsh 21-132 -47 9-59 11-61 1-12 18-92 3-40
B Geraghty 19-102 +21 10-43 9-47 0-12 15-65 4-37
R Johnson 9-108 -15 6-49 3-47 0-12 5-55 4-53
P Brennan 9-82 -7 6-41 3-34 0-7 7-44 2-38
N Fehily 7-74 +5 2-30 4-34 1-10 5-44 2-30
S Twiston-Davies 5-75 -30 1-36 2-30 2-9 5-41 0-34
T Scudamore 5-88 -35 2-42 3-42 0-4 4-46 1-42
D Jacob 4-51 +15 2-29 1-16 1-6 2-24 2-27
B Hughes 3-54 +12 2-21 1-21 0-12 1-31 2-32
D Costello 3-25 +14 1-11 2-11 0-3 1-8 2-17
Mr D Bass 3-29 +17 0-11 2-15 1-3 1-10 2-19
J Moore 3-39 +20 1-17 1-17 1-5 2-18 1-21
D O Regan 3-67 -41 2-29 1-30 0-8 2-38 1-29
W Hutchinson 4-40 -3 2-17 2-15 0-8 2-18 2-22
B Cooper 3-32 +5 2-16 1-12 0-4 3-19 0-13
P Townend 3-37 -29 2-18 1-17 0-2 3-19 0-18
Mr D Mullins 3-9 +53 1-2 2-6 0-1 0-3 3-6

RUBY WALSH

2016: 1-8 (-£7)
2015: 2-12 (-£2)
2014: N/A (injured)
2013: 1-14 (-£7)
2012: 3-15 (-£6)

Cheltenham Festival winners here (last 10 years): 6-14 (-£5)
Cheltenham Festival 2nd & 3rd placed runners here: 3-17 (+£1)
Cheltenham Festival 4th or worse runners here: 5-45 (-£19)

Overview: In stark contrast to the Cheltenham Festival, Ruby Walsh hasn’t enjoyed as much success upon Merseyside during the last 10 years, but that may have something to do with Willie Mullins’s poor long-term record here. Even with Mullins sending out an improved return of six winners here 12 months ago, Walsh partnered only one of them. One consistent area for Walsh, however, was on fancied runners in the 7/4 to 7/1 range at 21-78 (+£7).

BARRY GERAGHTY

2016: 1-9 (+£14)
2015: N/A
2014: 4-16 (+£8)
2013: 3-16 (+£3)
2012: 4-15 (-£7)

Cheltenham Festival winners here (last 10 years): 5-8 (+£4)
Cheltenham Festival 2nd & 3rd placed runners here: 6-13 (+£18)
Cheltenham Festival 4th or worse runners here: 6-37 (+£21)

Overview: Just the one winner last year, but still a healthy level stakes profit, as was the case in five of the last six Aintree Festivals. Nicky Henderson has provided the majority of Geraghty’s winners at 17-73 (+£10), while those he rode that made the top three at Cheltenham also did well collectively at 11-21 (+£22). It’s also worth looking for Geraghty’s rides in the 6/1 to 22/1 bracket (7-55, +£32), while those beaten 1l-15l last time offered value at 12-40 +£48).

RICHARD JOHNSON

2016: 1-10 (-£3)
2015: 1-11 (-£5)
2014: 1-12 (+£1)
2013: 0-10 (-£10)
2012: 1-10 (-£6)

Cheltenham Festival winners here (last 10 years): 0-4 (-£4)
Cheltenham Festival 2nd & 3rd placed runners here: 5-11 (+£19)
Cheltenham Festival 4th or worse runners here: 2-37 (-£18)

Overview: Richard Johnson rarely leaves Aintree without a winner and those he rode that just missed out at Cheltenham gained compensation weeks later here at 5-11 (+£19), including Native River 12 months ago, who was runner-up in the National Hunt Chase at Prestbury Park prior to winning the Mildmay Novices’ Chase. The champion jockey also partnered six winners for Philip Hobbs, albeit for a loss at 6-72 (-£22).

PADDY BRENNAN

2016: 2-6 (+£7)
2015: 0-5 (-£5)
2014: 1-3 (+£14)
2013: N/A (injured)
2012: 0-10 (-£10)

Cheltenham Festival winners here (last 10 years): 0-4 (-£4)
Cheltenham Festival 2nd & 3rd placed runners here: 2-8 (£0)
Cheltenham Festival 4th or worse runners here: 4-27 (+£2)

Overview: Career best figures of 2-6 here 12 months ago make Paddy Brennan a jockey to take seriously across the three days of Aintree, especially those with a realistic chance at 16/1 or shorter, connecting at a healthy 9-45 (+£30) – those at 18/1 or bigger were 0-37. Brennan also struck with more frequency in non-handicaps at 7-44 (+£5), compared to handicaps (2-38 -£12), with his record in Grade 1 races a creditable 5-23 (+£16).

Meanwhile, Noel Fehily partnered a winner at this festival in five of the last six years and has a long-term level stakes profit of +£5. Fehily should be respected when riding for Emma Lavelle (2-5, +£33), Jonjo O’Neill (2-8, +£23) and Paul Nicholls (2-11, -£5). Danny Mullins is another jockey to note, and struck three times in handicaps during the last two festivals here, including the Grand National 12 months ago.

SIRES

Leading sires at Aintree 2007-2016

Sire Total £1 2m-2m1f 2m4f-2m6f 3m-3m3f 4m+
Presenting 18-199 +1 1-40 7-68 9-67 1-23
Old Vic 17-125 +90 2-16 3-34 10-49 2-26
Kings Theatre 16-163 -79 2-53 10-58 4-44 0-8
Oscar 14-152 -59 3-40 9-61 2-39 0-12
Beneficial 12-117 -4 6-35 3-48 3-29 0-5
Kayf Tara 12-137 +14 7-56 2-41 3-36 0-4
Milan 11-83 +2 3-19 4-24 4-34 0-6
Flemensfirth 11-126 -23 4-32 0-13 2-39 0-10
Dom Alco 10-46 +22 1-6 1-9 7-26 1-5
Cadoudal 8-32 +4 1-6 2-16 5-9 0-1
Bob Back 8-65 -19 2-12 4-23 2-22 0-8
Kapgarde 7-29 +42 4-8 2-12 1-9 --
Cloudings 7-46 +9 2-13 1-9 3-19 1-5
Accordion 7-83 0 1-10 3-31 3-28 0-14
Azamour 6-23 +3 3-11 3-7 0-5 --
Saddlers Hall 6-58 -26 0-16 1-17 5-24 0-1
Dr Massini 6-58 +8 1-12 4-27 1-16 0-3
Vinnie Roe 6-30 +29 3-7 3-15 0-7 0-1
Unfuwain 6-24 +133 2-5 3-9 1-9 0-1
Karinga Bay 6-39 +21 3-12 1-11 2-16 --
Definite Article 6-49 +15 3-20 3-23 0-5 0-1
Alflora 6-87 -46 1-24 2-36 3-24 0-3

Presenting continues to boss matters at the top of the leaderboard and is a sire whose progeny over 2m4f-3m3f here should be respected, though Old Vic struck at a higher strike-rate for an impressive +£90 level stakes profit.

Old Vic has also been among the winners here during the last 12 months, along with Kings Theatre, whose Aintree runners did well over 2m4f-2m6f. Robin Des Champs also delivered here of late, producing three winners from his last four runners (Un Temps Pour Tout, Geordie Des Champs and Robin Roe).

Aintree last 12 months

Sire W-R £1
Kings Theatre 3-31 -12
Robin Des Champs 3-11 -2
Kapagarde 2-8 +14
Doyen 2-6 +6
Old Vic 2-9 +9
Mahler 2-3 +28
Kayf Tara 2-20 -4
Oscar 2-16 -3
Dom Alco 2-8 -1

Aintree specialists

While sire stats are an excellent way of finding out if a horse may take to Aintree, it can also prove wise to stay on side of those who have already been there and done it here. Therefore, the following chart highlights which Aintree specialists made a habit of finishing in the frame.

Horse Wins Placed Unplaced Each-way %
Silviniaco Conti 3 1 5 80%
Hunters Hoof 2 1 1 75%
The New One 2 1 4 75%
Virgilio 2 0 3 67%
Ubak 2 0 3 67%
Eastlake 2 1 5 60%
Surf And Turf 2 1 5 60%
Parsnip Pete 3 0 5 60%
Clondaw Kaempfer 2 1 3 50%
Ballybolley 2 0 4 50%
Bears Affair 3 1 8 50%
Saint Are 2 2 7 36%
Zarkandar 2 0 6 33%
Unioniste 2 0 6 33%
(Only runners that raced this jumps season with two course career wins and a 33% each-way strike-rate or better at Aintree are featured).

There are several interesting Aintree specialists in the above table who would be of real interest if appearing at the three-day festival, including both Virgilio and Ubak, while Hunters Hoof chased home the subsequent winner, Florrie Boy, in a 2m4f handicap hurdle at Aintree in December, and looks capable of winning a good handicap.

PROFILING

Pointers From Cheltenham

Did the difference in days and ground between Cheltenham to Aintree make a difference during the last 10 years?

Year Cheltenham grnd Aintree grnd Days gap Aintree winners from Cheltenham £1
2017 Gd-soft/Good ? 19 days ? ?
2016 Gd-soft/Good Soft 19 days 14-124 (11%) -23
2015 Gd-soft/Soft Gd/Gd-soft 27 days 13-118 (11%) -18
2014 Gd-soft/Good Gd/Gd-soft 18 days 13-129 (10%) -30
2013 Soft/Good to soft Gd/Gd-soft 20 days 10-100 (10%) -31
2012 Good Gd/Gd-soft 27 days 11-94 (12%) -1
2011 Good/Gd to soft Gd/Gd-soft 21 days 10-109 (9%) -47
2010 Gd-soft/Soft Gd/Gd-soft 20 days 13-113 (11%) +27
2009 Gd to soft Gd/Gd-soft 20 days 12-140 (9%) +1
2008 Gd to soft Good 20 days 9-112 (8%) -45
2007 Soft/Good to soft Good 27 days 9-97 (9%) -44

The ground at the two big festivals were fairly consistent down the years, though it’s worth noting that on the two occasions it came up genuinely good/fast at Aintree in 2007 and 2008 (no soft in the description), the strike-rate of Aintree winners that ran at Cheltenham dropped to single figures both times.

Single-figure strike-rates for Cheltenham runners were also returned at Aintree in four of the five years from 2005-2009, but double-figure strike-rates were achieved in six of the last seven years, suggesting an improvement, especially with those coming via the following races:

Arkle Chase supplied 15 of the last 19 Maghull Novices’ Chase winners
Champion Chase supplied 12 of the last 19 Melling Chase winners
World Hurdle supplied 10 of the last 10 Liverpool Hurdle winners
Triumph Hurdle supplied 10 of the last 14 4-Y-O Juvenile Hurdle winners
Gold Cup supplied 8 of the last 13 Bowl Chase winners

Meanwhile, the number of days rest from Cheltenham to Aintree didn’t seem to have an effect, with a shorter 19 to 20-day gap – which it is this year – bringing mixed results. However, with a total of 121 Aintree winners coming via the Cheltenham Festival since 2007, a closer look is required to highlight the areas of profit – handicaps or non-handicaps, hurdles or chases?

Aintree runners from Cheltenham 2007-2016 Wins Runs % Profit/loss to £1
Overall 121 1187 10% -198
Non-handicaps 88 588 15% -128
Handicaps 33 599 6% -70
Chases 63 614 10% -138
Hurdles 55 549 10% -64
NHF (Bumper) 3 24 12% +3
First at Cheltenham 28 99 28% +11
Second at Cheltenham 26 105 25% +29
Third at Cheltenham 15 101 15% +73
Fourth at Cheltenham 12 94 13% -3
Fifth to tenth at Cheltenham 27 406 7% -119
Eleventh or worse at Cheltenham 6 230 3% -81
Fell at Cheltenham 3 55 5% -43
Unseated at Cheltenham 2 24 8% -12
Pulled up at Cheltenham 2 73 3% -54

The above table suggests treading carefully when contemplating a Cheltenham runner who goes onto run in an Aintree handicap. However, don’t ignore those who that arrive bang in-form having made the top three at Cheltenham, as they delivered here for a collective record of 69-305 (+£113).

Cheltenham runners that came here and ran over trips of 2m½f-2m1f here (not 2m), also returned a record of 22-155 (+£113), with the likes of Ivan Grozny (16/1), Bacardys (15/2), Apples Jade (3/1) and Buveur Dair (11/4) the latest to deliver 12 months ago.

Pace/Tactics

Aintree has long been hailed as a speedy track suiting those near the pace, but with only 10 front-runners winning from the last 105 races at this fixture (10%), those tracking the pace or held up were more favoured.

Last five Grand National meetings

7-9 April 2016, Soft (good to soft)

Tactic Wins Number of runners per race
Led 3 6, 8, 8
Prominent or tracked leaders 11 5, 6, 6, 9, 9, 12, 17, 19, 22, 22, 39
Mid division or held up 7 6, 11, 14, 15, 17, 17, 29

9-11 April 2015, Good (good to soft)

Tactic Wins Number of runners per race
Led 3 6, 7, 19
Prominent or tracked leaders 8 6, 9, 10, 12, 19, 21, 29, 39
Mid division or held up 10 6, 9, 10, 10, 11, 16, 17, 21, 21, 30

3-5 April 2014, Good (good to soft)

Tactic Wins Number of runners per race
Led 1 21
Prominent or tracked leaders 9 5, 6, 6, 7, 7, 10, 19, 22
Mid division or held up 11 7, 10, 12, 15, 16, 17, 18, 20, 22, 22, 40

4-6 April 2013, Good (good to soft)

Tactic Wins Number of runners per race
Led 2 6, 9
Prominent or tracked leaders 8 6, 6, 6, 8, 9, 10, 17, 40
Mid division or held up 11 4, 4, 8, 13, 18, 19, 19, 21, 22, 24, 29

12-14 April 2012, Good (good to soft)

Tactic Wins Number of runners per race
Led 1 26
Prominent or tracked leaders 13 4, 5, 5, 5, 8, 8, 11, 12, 13, 14, 19, 21, 26
Mid division or held up 7 4, 10, 11, 19, 20, 21, 21

It’s also worth noting that ‘trackers’ were at their best in fields of up to 13 runners, while ‘hold up’ runners came into their own in double-figure fields. In fact, of the 35 races with 19 runners or more, only three fell to a front-runner, 15 went to a ‘tracker’, and 18 went to a hold up/midfield performer. Clearly, those with a patient style of running should be given a second look in big fields, while “in-running” backers may choose to look for such runners making progress from behind.

Handicaps

While the Graded events at Aintree provide plenty of punting opportunities at the champagne end of the scale, it is often the handicaps that allow punters a crack at finding a juicy-priced winner. While such big-field events at festivals are tough nuts to crack, the assistance of a few trends and stats can help point the way. For instance, 6yo handicappers have a much superior strike-rate and profit than other age-groups.

Weight W-R % £1
9st4lb-9st13lb 4-67 6% -10
10st-10st7lb 25-528 4% -33
10st8lb-10st13lb 17-477 4% -174
11st 8-74 11% +164
11st1lb-11st7lb 11-379 3% -217
11st8lb-12st 10-130 8% +17
Official rating W-R % £1
101-118 0-9 0% -9
119-124 2-40 5% +3
125-128 5-154 3% -71
129-130 10-35 7% +114
131-136 16-413 4% -149
137-138 11-142 8% +78
139-147 18-506 4% -240
148-167 10-256 4% +22
Age W-R % £1
4 1-11 9% -5
5 6-138 4% -37
6 21-244 9% +72
7 5-291 2% -214
8 13-300 4% -120
9 12-300 4% +87
10 7-213 3% -100
11 7-104 7% +120
12+ 0-54 0% -54
Distance move from LTO W-R % £1
Down 1.5f-5f 7-167 4% -54
Same-down 1f 28-406 7% +128
Up 0.5f-3f 9-416 2% -288
Up 3.5f-5.5f 18-239 8% +131
Up 6f or further 7-375 2% -162
Track LTO W-R % £1
Sandown (7) Uttoxeter (4) Kelso (3) Stratford (2) Aintree (2) 18-160 11% +373
Haydock (1) Newbury (1) Fairyhouse (0) Leopardstown (0) Ascot (0) 2-279 1% -234

Runners allocated an official rating of 129-130 came out well in handicaps here during the last 10 years, while another clue came via the track visited last time out, with Sandown providing seven Aintree winners.

The final pointer when eyeing up a potential handicap wager is to check the distance from last time, as those that raced over the same trip or dropped a furlong did well (+£128), along with those that stepped up considerably in trip (up 3.5f-4.5f), who found significant improvement for a handsome profit.

BETTING & MARKET

Clear or joint favourites Wins Runs % Profit/loss to £1
Overall 54 222 24% -48
Non-handicaps 45 145 31% -31
Handicaps 9 77 12% -17
Chases 27 108 25% -8
Hurdles 26 93 28% -23
Bumpers 1 21 5% -17
2016 6 22 27% -12
2015 5 21 24% -4
2014 3 23 13% -14
2013 8 23 35% +1
2012 9 24 38% +2
2011 4 21 19% -12
2010 3 23 13% -8
2009 3 21 14% -14
2008 6 25 24% +5
2007 7 19 37% +7

Favourite backers will need to be on guard across the three days at Aintree, for despite striking 24% of the time, they did show a big overall level stakes loss of -£48. Even when the jollies enjoyed a good meeting – as in 2012 and 2013 – they only just made a small profit.

Such news means backers may need a few guidelines when eyeing up a favourite – for instance, favourites on a recovery mission having been well beaten at the Cheltenham Festival (beaten further than 30l or didn’t complete) struck at 8-34 (+£6). It’s also worth looking out for any favourite dropping in trip by a furlong or further from Cheltenham, as they struck at 14-34 (+£10).

Another interesting clue shows that following favourites in non-Graded/Listed races at Aintree proved a good move, as they connected at 7-31 (+£4), while certain trainers also proved reliable with favourites here, including Paul Nicholls, whose jollies just came out in front at 13-42 (+£1).

The 4-Y-O Juvenile Hurdle on day one offers another opportunity, as the favourite struck in six of the last 11 years for a level stakes return of +£6.

Second favourite (incl. joint) Wins Runs % Profit/loss to £1
Overall 40 224 18% -13
Non-handicaps 34 143 24% +17
Handicaps 6 81 7% -30
Chases 21 105 20% -1
Hurdles 16 101 16% -12
Bumpers 3 18 17% +1

With favourites not exactly covering themselves in glory across the three days at Aintree, an opportunity for second favourites to grab some glory emerged, including in non-handicaps, where they triumphed at 34-143 (+£17).

There was also an edge towards second-favs that raced in the same class or moved up in class than last time, as they struck at 32-159 (+£17), compared to those that dropped in class from last time at 5-50 (-£28).

Other pointers when backing the second-fav include those that made the top four last time at 36-167 (+£25), while runners at 9/4 to 7/2 came out best at 21-52 (+£31). Finally, it may only be a coincidence, but second-favs in smaller fields of seven runners or less won at 15-38 (+£22).

However, for punters seeking a big double-figure priced winner to pay for their summer holiday, then both bumper events at the end of Friday and Saturday’s cards have proven a good hunting ground. During the last 10 years, there have been “bumper” winning odds of 66/1, 28/1, 25/1, 25/1, 20/1, 20/1, 14/1, 14/1, 12/1, 9/1 and 9/1. In fact, £1 placed on every runner in the Friday/Saturday bumpers at 8/1 to 66/1 returned a blind profit of +£11.

PLACEPOT

With so many juicy fields on offer over the three days, the Placepot is certainly worth considering, as there have been some tasty dividends over the years, although day two (Friday), proved consistent in paying out a minimum of £100 in nine of the last 10 years, with last year’s dividend just under £10k!

DAY TWO PLACEPOT DIVIDENDS - LAST EIGHT YEARS

2016: £9,947
2015: £359
2014: £386
2013: £117
2012: £33
2011: £250
2010: £1,066
2009: £3,818
2008: £278
2007: £195

With the prospect of another £100+ dividend, here is a guide to all sixes races covering day two’s Placepot…

1.40: Grade 3 Handicap Hurdle (2m4f)

Of the last 39 placed runners during the last 10 years…

35 were officially rated 141 or lower
31 ran during the last 30 days
28 had 4 handicap hurdle runs or less
21 arrived via Cheltenham
N Henderson had 5-21 placed; D McCain 4-12; J O’Neill 4-10; P Nicholls 3-15; A King 3-6; P Hobbs 3-10.

Placed runners breakdown of odds:
11/2 or shorter: 1-8
6/1 to 9/1: 8-36
10/1 to 16/1: 14-51
18/1 to 40/1: 15-91
50/1 or bigger: 2-30
Favourites & joint place record: 2-10

Top tip: Be wary of favourites.

2.15: Grade 1 Top Novices’ Hurdle (2m)

Of the last 28 placed runners during the last 10 years…

28 won 1-3 UK hurdle races
23 ran in a Graded race last time
21 were French or Irish-bred
17 ran at Cheltenham last time (17-34)
17 were officially rated 141-158 (17%) – those lower were 11-68 (6%)
16 were 5yos (16-52)
P Nicholls (5-9) & N Henderson (6-13) had 11 placed between them.

Placed runners breakdown of odds:
9/4 or shorter: 6-8
5/2 to 6/1: 10-18
13/2 to 12/1: 6-27
14/1 to 40/1: 5-29
50/1 or bigger: 1-21
Favourites place record: 8-10

Top tip: Respect 5yos.

2.50: Mildmay Novices’ Chase (3m1f)

Of the last 27 placed runners during the last 10 years…

19 arrived via Cheltenham last time
17 ran in a Grade or Grade 2 last time
15 were officially rated 148 or higher (45%) – others were 12-46 (26%)
13 were upped in trip from 0.5f-1.5f to last time (45%); others were 24%
P Nicholls had 5-12 placed, J O’Neill, D Pipe, N Twiston-Davies & C Tizzard had two apiece

Placed runners breakdown of odds:
Evens to 6/1: 18-35
13/2 to 12/1: 5-20
14/1 or bigger: 4-24
Favourites place record: 5-11

Top tip: Stick with fancied runners.

3.25: Grade 1 Melling Chase (2m4f)

Of the last 26 placed runners during the last 10 years…

22 ran in a Grade 1 last time
22 ran during the last 21-30 days
21 won 31% or more of their career chases (21-48); others were 5-35
16 were 8-9yos
14 were officially rated 165 or higher (14-23); those rated lower were 12-60
13 finished 1st or 2nd LTO (13-23); those 3rd or worse were 9-48
10 won last time (10-16)
Jonjo O’Neill had 4-4 placed, P Nicholls was 4-11

Placed runners breakdown of odds:
9/4 or shorter: 4-6
5/2 to 8/1: 18-32
17/2 or bigger: 4-45
Favourites & joint place record: 7-12

Top tip: Stick with classy runners officially rated 165 or higher.

4.05: Grade 3 Topham Chase (Handicap) (2m5f)

Of the last 40 placed runners during the last 10 years…

38 failed to win last time
37 had an official rating no more than 7lb higher than last time
36 ran in a handicap last time
31 were 8-10yos (31-156); other ages were 9-95
21 ran during the last 16-25 days
P Bowen had 5 placed (5-14), W Mullins had 4 (4-11) & N Henderson 4-18
Those officially rated 145-159 were placed at 24% - those 144 or lower were 12%

Placed runners breakdown of odds:
5/2 to 8/1: 3-21
17/2 to 40/1: 35-207
50/1 or bigger: 2-60
Favourites & joint place record: 2-10

Top tip: Be wary of those at the head of the betting.

4.40: Sefton Novices’ Hurdle (3m)

Of the last 30 placed runners during the last 10 years…

27 were British (27%) or Irish-bred (21%) runners; French were 2-26
23 were officially rated 135 or higher (24%) – others were 13%
21 were 6yos
20 won 46% or more of their UK hurdle outings (20-68); others were 10-80
17 arrived via Cheltenham (9), Newbury (4), Haydock (2) or Ludlow (2)
N Twiston-Davies had 3-10, P Hobbs, N Henderson, C Tizzard & P Nicholls had two apiece

Placed runners breakdown of odds:
1/2 to 4/1: 7-12
9/2 to 8/1: 7-27
17/2 to 12/1: 3-22
14/1 to 40/1: 12-56
50/1 or bigger: 1-31
Favourites place record: 7-10

Top tip: British-bred runners have an excellent strike-rate.

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