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.
  • Since 1970 all the winners, bar Rule The World (2016) have had a win over three miles on the roll of honour
  • There has not been a winner of the Grand National under the age of eight for 75 years.
  • Eight of the last 18 winners have jumped over the Grand National fences previously.
  • Irish trained runners have won seven of the last 18 Grand Nationals.
  • 25 of the last 28 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 2017:

  • (3) Shantou Flyer - 7
  • (12) Le Mercurey - 7
  • (19) Double Shuffle - 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 seven horses have carried a weight of more than 11st 5lb and two of those were achieved by the legend of Aintree legends, Red Rum..

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 eight winners carrying more than 11st.

Recently, Neptune Collonges carried 11st 6lbs to glory in the 2012 Grand National, while in 2015 Many Clouds defied a hefty weight of 11st 9lbs to storm to glory for Oliver Sherwood.

Horses set to carry more than 11-5:

  • (1) The Last Samuri 11-10
  • (2) More Of That 11-6

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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) The Last Samuri 161

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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.

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

  • (2) More Of That
  • (3) Shantou Flyer
  • (7) Wounded Warrior
  • (9) Tenor Nivernais
  • (12) Le Mercurey
  • (15) Regal Encore
  • (19) Double Shuffle
  • (20) Houblon Des Obeaux
  • (23) Ballynagour
  • (24) O'Faolains Boy
  • (31) Measureofmydreams
  • (33) Stellar Notion
  • (35) Cocktails At Dawn
  • (39) La Vaticane
  • (40) Doctor Harper

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.

Eight 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:

  • (18) Ucello Conti
  • (33) Stellar Notion
  • (38) Goodtoknow
  • (39) La Vaticane

Check the form for the 2017 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:

  • (21) Pleasant Company - 6 chase starts
  • (31) Measureofmydreams - 7 chase starts

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:

  • (4) Perfect Candidate - 55
  • (11) Drop Out Joe - 286
  • (15) Regal Encore - 70
  • (22) One For Arthur - 84
  • (23) Ballynagour - 70
  • (25) Highland Lodge - 126
  • (26) Bishops Road - 77
  • (33) Stellar Notion - 76
  • (34) Rogue Angel - 72

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. Eight 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:

  • (11) Drop Out Joe - 1
  • (16) Vieux Lion Rouge - 2
  • (25) O'Faolains Boy - 2
  • (28) Highland Lodge - 2
  • (31) Measureofmydreams - 2

Winning Form

Nine of 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:

  • (2) More Of That
  • (7) Wounded Warrior
  • (15) Regal Encore
  • (18) Ucello Conti
  • (19) Double Shuffle
  • (23) Ballynagour
  • (31) Measureofmydreams
  • (35) Cocktails At Dawn
  • (36) Thunder And Roses
  • (40) Doctor Harper

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) More Of That
  • (3) Shantou Flyer
  • (4) Perfect Candidate
  • (10) Blaklion
  • (12) Le Mercurey
  • (27) Lord Windermere
  • (35) Cocktails At Dawn


Thirteen of the last seventeen winners were bred in Britain and Ireland and although we've seen three 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:

  • (5) Saphir Du Rheu - FR
  • (6) Roi Des Francs - FR
  • (8) Wonderful Charm - FR
  • (9) Tenor Nivernais - FR
  • (12) Le Mercurey - FR
  • (14) Cause Of Causes - USA
  • (16) Vieux Lion Rouge - FR
  • (18) Ucello Conti - FR
  • (20) Houblon Des Obeaux - FR
  • (28) Saint Are - FR
  • (29) Vicente - FR
  • (32) Raz De Maree - FR
  • (39) La Vaticane - FR

Grand National Trends Shortlist

  • The Young Master
  • Definitly Red
  • Just A Par
  • Gas Line Boy

Final Grand National Selections

We have a solid list of horses on our shortlist using our Grand National Trends, but the two that stand out are The Young Master and Definitly Red, who both have tasted victory in some tough, competitive handicap chases previously in their career, but it's the latter of that pair that makes the most appeal.

A dour stayer, Definitly Red will head into the 2017 Grand National on the back of a cracking win in the Grimthorpe Chase, and has to be the one to back from a trends perspective, while The Young Master has experience over the Aintree fences, so has to stand him in good stead.

Just A Par and Gas Line Boy make least appeal of the quartet, with the former potentially having his best days behind him, while Gas Line Boy is hard to fancy having fallen in the race in 2015.

  • Definitly Red
  • The Young Master

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Winners Poll /
Who will win the 2018 Grand National?
The Last Samuri
Total Recall
Definitly Red
Minella Rocco
Gold Present
Cause Of Causes
Total Votes: 29
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