Grand National Trends

Grand National Trends

Hindsight tells us every year that it is easy to select the winner of the Grand National, provided that one follows the very basic trends that have established themselves over the years.

We've compiled a list of the main trends from the last 12 years of the Grand National for you to use when searching out your Grand National bet. This isn't an exact science but it should help you create a shortlist.

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Grand National Trends Snapshot

  • There has been only two winners of the Grand National carrying more than 11st 5lbs since 1977, out of 112 runners, in 2012 with Neptune Collonges (11-6) and Many Clouds (11-9) in 2015.
  • Many Clouds was only the fourth horse since 1983 to carry more than 11st, the others were Don't Push It in 2010,Hedgehunter who carried 11-1 in 2005 and Neptune Collonges (11-6) in 2015. Ballabriggs carried exactly 11st in 2011.
  • Every winner since 1970 had a win over three miles to their name.
  • There has not been a winner of the Grand National under the age of eight for 75 years.
  • Eight of the last 17 winners have jumped over the Grand National fences previously.
  • Irish trained runners have won six of the last 18 Grand Nationals.
  • 24 of the last 27 winners were ridden prominently from the outset of the second circuit.
  • 16 of the last 26 winners started in the first eight in the betting.
  • The previous year's Irish Grand National has been a key race in the form.
  • Check for previous Grand National form.
  • There has only been one Cheltenham Festival winner to have followed up in the Grand National since 1961.
  • There has only been three French-bred winners of the Grand National in the last 103 years, but three in the last six years, Neptune Collonges in 2012 and Mon Mome in 2009 and Pineau De Re in 2014.

Have a look at hour our trends analysis forms in a snapshot via our Grand National Selector Tool.

We take a look at each aspect in detail below using trends gathered from the last 10 runnings of the Grand National:


It may surprise many to know that there has not been a single Grand National Winner in the last 68 years who was aged below 8 years old; nor has there been one older than 12 for the last 85 years. Those facts alone tell us that it is essential to look for horses aged between 8-12 and to draw a line through the rest.

Using this trend you can rule out the following Grand National entries from winning in 2016:

  • (26) Onenightinvienna - 7
  • (32) Vics Canvas - 13
  • (36) Vieux Lion Rouge - 7

Find out more about the age trend.


The Grand National is by far and away the toughest proposition a horse will ever have to face, it is therefore an obvious statement that the less weight a horse carries the greater its chance of running well. Since the WW2 only six horses have carried a weight of more than 11st 5lb and two of those were achieved by the legend of Aintree legends, Red Rum and another being last year with Neptune Collonges who won carrying 11st6.

Horses with some class will have a bigger burden than the rest, but even they with anything more than 11st 5lb will struggle to win the race. However, given the quality of the race is getting higher every year, this trend might not be as important as in the past, with five of the last seven winners carrying more than 11st.

Despite this, just the winner and Shutthefrontdoor carried 11st5lbs or more from the first eleven home and in 2014, just two of the 18 finishers carried more than that threshold so it's still very much a trend to keep an eye on.

Horses set to carry more than 11-5:

  • (1) Many Clouds 11-10
  • (2) Silviniaco Conti 11-8

Check the weights for the 2016 Grand National.

Handicap Rating

Despite being a handicap, meaning that all forty Grand National runners, in theory, should cross the line together, only those with some class can realistically win the Grand National. 21 of the last 22 Grand National's have been by a horse rated higher than 139 and any horse who lines up for the race with handicap lower than this is highly unlikely to succeed. Even 2009 Grand National winner, Mon Mome who was 100/1, had a rating of 148.

The last ten winners were rated between 136 and 160 so for the purpose of the trends we've ruled out the following:

  • (1) Many Clouds 165
  • (2) Silviniaco Conti 163

Get the odds for the 2016 Grand National.

Staying Power

There will be a number of horses, usually younger ones who will come into the Grand National without the benefit of a long run i.e that is a run of more than 3 miles, 1 furlong. These are usually horses of great potential, but rarely will one win over the Aintree four mile course. The last horse to win the Grand National without running a decent length chase was Gay Trip back in 1970.

Twelve of the last nineteen winners had won or finished place in a National of one description or another. Three of the last seven winners had run in the previous season's Scottish Grand National for example.

Those horses without a chase win over 3 miles and one furlong:

  • (4) Wonderful Charm
  • (5) Ballynagour
  • (6) O Faolains Boy
  • (7) Gilgamboa
  • (8) On His Own
  • (11) Rocky Creek
  • (16) Buywise
  • (19) Morning Assembly
  • (20) Double Ross
  • (22) Ucello Conti
  • (24) Le Reve
  • (26) Onenightinvienna
  • (28) Kruzhlinin
  • (29) Rule The World
  • (33) Black Thunder
  • (34) Ballycasey
  • (36) Vieux Lion Rouge
  • (37) Pendra
  • (39) Home Farm

Get the historic Grand National winning distances.

Proven Class

Although it happens now and again, it is a general trend that horses that win the Grand National have ran well or even won one of the top Grand National Trial races that are available throughout the season.

It can sometimes occur that these horses may well win one of these trials a couple of years before winning the Grand National, making it important to trace the very recent history of these races.

Nine out of the last ten winners all have at least one win to their name of a race valued £29,000, and we can also put a line through any horse who has not won either a Class 1 or Class 2 race:

  • (4) Wonderful Charm
  • (16) Buywise
  • (18) Aachen
  • (19) Morning Assembly
  • (25) Gallant Oscar
  • (26) Onenightvienna
  • (28) Kruzhlinin
  • (29) Rule The World
  • (32) Vics Canvas
  • (33) Black Thunder
  • (34) Ballycasey
  • (36) Vieux Lion Rouge
  • (39) Home Farm

Check the form for the 2016 Grand National.


Experience has been key for Grand National winners, with all of the last 27 winners having run in at least 8 chase starts before taking on the Grand National. Many Clouds became the first second season chaser to win the race since Numbersivalverde in 2006, both had ridden in 10 chases coming into the race, the least amount in those last 27 years.

No novice has won the race since Mr What in 1958.

Those horses with less than 8 chase starts or a Novice:

  • (26) Onenightinvienna - 4 chase starts + novice
  • (36) Vieux Lion Rouge - 6 chase starts + novice

Recent Run

10 of the last 10 winners have all had their last prep run for the Grand National within 53 days of the big race and only one winner in the last 33 runnings had not run in the last 50 days. A freshener seems to do the trick and horses coming into the race off a longer lay-off have struggled.

Those horses who haven't run within 53 days of the Grand National:

  • (3) First Lieutenant - 63
  • (4) Wonderful Charm - 120
  • (12) Sir Des Champs - 63
  • (16) Buywise - 70
  • (22) Ucello Conti - 79
  • (33) Black Thunder - 63
  • (37) Pendra - 112

Season Form

The nine of the last ten winners have all run at least three times over chase fences that season in the build up to the Grand National. Nine of the last thirteen winners had run over hurdles at some stage earlier that season, often getting a run in without effecting their mark. We rule out the following horses who have run less than three times this season, with an asterix against any who have had a run over hurdles this season:

  • (4) Wonderful Charm - 1
  • (10) Triolo D'Alene - 2
  • (14) Shuthefrontdoor - 2*
  • (28) Kruzhlinin - 2
  • (31) Katenko - 2
  • (35) Hadrian's Approach - 1
  • (37) Pendra - 2
  • (39) Home Farm - 2

Winning Form

The last ten winners had all won at least three times over chase fences, so with this criteria in mind, we have ruled out the following horses who have not won three times or more over chase fences:

  • (19) Morning Assembly
  • (26) Onenightinvienna
  • (29) Rule The World
  • (30) Just A Par
  • (32) Vics Canvas
  • (39) Home Farm
  • (40) The Romford Pele

Big Field Experience

All of the last ten winners of the Grand National had previously won or placed in a chase with at least 15 runners proving they could cope with the hustle and bustle of a big field such as they'll experience in the Grand National.

Those runners without big field win or place form include:

  • (2) Silviniaco Conti
  • (4) Wonderful Charm
  • (12) Sir Des Champs
  • (17 Boston Bob
  • (26) Onenightvienna
  • (28) Kruzhlinin
  • (36) Vieux Lion Rouge
  • (40) The Romford Pele


Thirteen of the last seventeen winners were bred in Ireland and although we've seen two French bred winners in the last ten years, the horse's progeny is still a factor you could use when selecting your shortlist.

Horses ruled out through breeding:

  • (2) Silviniaco Conti - FR
  • (4) Wonderful Charm - FR
  • (10) Triolo D'Alene - FR
  • (12) Sir Des Champs - FR
  • (15) Soll - GB
  • (18) Aachen - GB
  • (22) Ucello Conti - FR
  • (23) Unioniste - FR
  • (28) Kruzhlinin - GER
  • (29) Rule The World - GB
  • (31) Katenko - FR
  • (33) Black Thunder - FR
  • (36) Vieux Lion Rouge - FR
  • (38) Saint Are - FR

Grand National Trends Shortlist

  • The Druids Nephew
  • Holywell
  • Soll
  • Goonyella
  • Unioniste
  • The Last Samuri
  • Saint Are

Final Grand National Selections

It's a very solid looking shortlist on paper and we've narrowed it down further by omitting the French bred Unioniste and Saint Are as per the breeding trend for the final shortlist.

Horses aged ten or older have won 17 of the last 26 runnings which would be a positive for Soll, whilst five of the last fifteen winners finished unplaced in last year's Grand National which is another plus for Soll who was fifth in the race twelve months ago.

The Druids Nephew was a faller when travelling well in 2015 and is bidding to come back and win after a fall like Hedgehunter did in 2005.

All of the shortlist have been ridden prominently in races, although Goonyella may lack the pace early on and find himself well down the pack.

  • The Druids Nephew
  • Holywell
  • Soll
  • Goonyella
  • The Last Samuri

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