2018 Grand National – Narrowing the Field

40 horses will be lining up in the world’s greatest steeplechase, the Grand National, at Saturday teatime .  This will be the 171st running of the race and it remains the longest race in Britain at just over 4 miles 2 furlongs.

We’ll focus on what factors are important to consider when narrowing down the field.  In a review of recent runnings to seek out the key trends, we’ve looked at the last 5 renewals & the 1-2-3 in each of those races.  Remember that modifications were made to the race in 2013 which is why we’re only looking at the races since then.

So, let’s get started:


14 of the 15 in the first 3 since 2013 have been rated 151 or less, with only 2015 winner Many Clouds preventing the clean sweep.  Despite being the class horses of the race, it indicates that it’s hard to carry a big weight over such a trip.

Racing Post Ratings are a solid measure of a horse’s handicap mark & 14/15 had recorded a RPR in their last 3 runs that is higher than their official rating for this race.


Age still remains one of the most important trends, with 14/15 aged between 8 and 11.  2013 3rd Vics Canvas, returning at 100/1, is the only horse to defy that trend.


Winning form over 3 miles is important.  Rule The World, winner of the 2016 race, is the only one of the 15 not to have over at least this far prior to the big race.

All 15 have run at least 8 times over fences.


A horse’s wellbeing is of massive importance so we’ve suggested a horse’s last run must be between 21 and 90 days.  Any shorter than 21 days might mean a horse hasn’t had time to recover whilst over 90 days suggests some sort of issue.  All 15 had their last run between 21 and 90 days previous.


13 of 15 have finished in the first 2 in a chase over at least 3 miles 2 furlongs.  Of the 2 non qualifiers, one had a 3rd placed finish & the other had never raced over that far in its career to date.

Last Time Out

The last 5 winners had all finished in the first 6 last time out, indicating good recent form, whilst that also applied to a further 8 of the 10 placed horses.

Extending the form point further, 12 of the 15 had finished in the first 2 on one of their last 3 runs.

Big Fields

Form in big fields since the beginning over the previous calendar form is a useful pointer, with all 5 winners having finished 1st or 2nd in a chase of at least 18 runners.

Excluding the big field trend (where many of the non-qualifiers just hadn’t run in a race with enough runners) & of the 15 winning or placed horses, 7 had passed all 9 trends, 5 had failed on 1 trend & 3 had failed on 2 trends.


Of this year’s field, 3 have passed all 9 trends (including a 33/1 shot), with 8 more failing on just 1 trend (including a 66/1 shot, 2 at 80/1 and 1 at a 3 figure price).


We’ll be back tomorrow with a runner by runner guide as well as our final bets.

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