Grand National Trials
There are any number of chases that could be described as Grand National trial races that are run throughout the National Hunt season. Each will have a major bearing on the Grand National odds. We highlight several of them here and include horses that have run well in them and gone on to Grand National success.
List of Grand National Trial Races
|17/04/2017||Fairyhouse||Irish Grand National||Our Duke 9/2 Fav|
|04/11/2017||Wetherby||Charlie Hall Chase||Bristol De Mai 6/1|
|02/12/2017||Newbury||Ladbrokes Trophy||Total Recall 9/2 Fav|
|09/12/2017||Aintree||Becher Chase||Blaklion 7/4 Fav|
|06/01/2018||Chepstow||Welsh Grand National||Raz De Maree 16/1|
|27/01/2018||Doncaster||Sky Bet Chase||Wakanda 8/1|
|18/02/2018||Haydock||Grand National Trial|
|04/03/2018||Kelso||Totepool Premier Chase|
|13/03/2018||Cheltenham||Festival Handicap Chase|
|15/03/2018||Cheltenham||Kim Muir Challenge Cup Chase|
|16/03/2018||Cheltenham||Cheltenham Gold Cup|
The Irish Grand National
The Irish National raced at Fairyhouse and over a distance of 3 miles 5 furlongs, is a race that has produced dual winners of both the Irish and Aintree national, but neither of the last four winners have won in the same season, mainly due to the two races being run so close together. Bobbyjo won the Irish National in 1998 and followed that up with victory at Aintree a year later. Numbersixvalverde did exactly the same, winning at Fairyhouse in 2005 and at Aintree in 2006.
The race was won in 2017 by Jessica Harrington's Our Duke.
17th April 2017 - Fairyhouse - Ladbrokes Irish Grand National - Grade A - 3m5f
|1st||Our Duke 9/2||7||R Power||J Harrington|
|2nd||Bless The Wings 12/1||12||J Kennedy||G Elliott|
|3rd||Abolitionist 14/1||8||R Blackmore||E Holden|
Charlie Hall Chase
This race had been won in 2008 and 2009 by the Welsh based trained Evan Williams with State Of Play, who went on to finish 4th in the 2009 Grand National and in 2010 with Deep Purple. Last year the spoils went to Bristol De Mai.
4th November 2017 - Wetherby - bet365 Charlie Hall Chase - Grade 2 - 3m1f
|1st||Bristol De Mai 6/1||7||D Jacob||N Twiston-Davies|
|2nd||Blaklion 5/1||9||G Sheehan||N Twiston-Davies|
|3rd||Definitly Red 8/1||9||D Cook||B Ellison|
Although it is unusual for Ladbrokes Trophy winners to go and win the Grand National, there's plenty of runners who will race in both races during a season. Bindaree, Red Marauder, Earth Summit and Rough Quest have all run in the Hennessy and then gone on to win the Grand National in the same season.
2nd Dec 2017 - Newbury - Ladbrokes Trophy (Handicap) Grade 3 - 3m2f 110yds
|1st||Total Recall 9/2||9||P Townend||W Mullins|
|2nd||Whisper 8/1||10||D Russell||N Henderson|
|3rd||Regal Encore 66/1||10||R McLernon||A Honeyball|
|4th||Braqueur D'or 33/1||7||H Cobden||P Nicholls|
Despite being run in early season, this Chase is always a good guide for the Grand National and has produced a couple of recent winners. Silver Birch won this in 2004 and went on to win the 2007 Grand National and Amberleigh House trained by Ginger McCain won the Becher Chase in 2001 and the 2004 Grand National.
9th Dec 2017 - Aintree - Becher Handicap Chase - Listed - 3m2f
|1st||Blaklion 7/4 Fav||9||G Sheehan||N Twiston-Davies|
|2nd||The Last Samuri 7/1||10||D Bass||K Bailey|
|3rd||Highland Lodge 12/1||12||H Brooke||J Moffatt|
The Welsh National
Raced at the Chepstow racecourse and over a distance of 3 miles and 5 furlongs at the end of December, this is an excellent Trial for Aintree. It is a top class race that usually attracts a top class field which has produced three winners of both the Welsh National and the Grand National in recent times, Silver Birch who won the Welsh version in 2004 and the 2007 Grand National. Bindaree actually won the 2002 Grand National before winning the Welsh National in 2003. Before them the great Earth Summit had won the Welsh National in 1997 and four months later triumphed at Aintree.
6th Jan 2018 - Chepstow - Coral Welsh National - Grade 3 - 3m5f 110yds
|1st||Raz De Maree 16/1||13||J Bowen||G Cromwell|
|2nd||Alfie Spinner 33/1||13||R Patrick||K Lee|
|3rd||Final Nudge 14/1||9||A Coleman||D Dennis|
Sky Bet Chase
Formally known as the Great Yorkshire Chase, despite the Listed contest only being run over three miles, it's often on attritional ground run in January and it attracts horses looking to up their handicap mark to gain entry to the Grand National.
27th Jan 2018 - Doncaster - Sky Bet Chase - Listed - 3m
|1st||Wakanda 8/1||9||H Brooke||S Smith|
|2nd||Warriors Tale 12/1||9||S Bowen||P Nicholls|
|3rd||L'Ami Serge 13/8 Fav||8||D Russell||N Henderson|
Haydock Grand National Trial
As the name would suggest the Grand National Trial at Haydock is seen as an important trial race for the Aintree Grand National a few months later. Cool Ground won this race in 1992 before going on to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup, while 1992 Grand National winner Party Politics went on to win this trial in 1993, before finishing second in the 1995 National.
18th Feb 2018 - Haydock - Grand National Trial - Grade 3 - 3m4f
Raced over 3 miles, 1 furlong at Fairyhouse in February, this race is becoming an increasingly important Grand National trial. It is named after 1999 Grand National winner Bobbyjo and it was won in 2012 by Prince De Beauchene, who was quickly installed as a leading fancy for the Grand National.
25th Feb 2018 - Fairyhouse - BobbyjoChase (Grade 2) - 3m1f
The Eider Chase
Raced over four miles at Newcastle in February, this race is becoming an increasingly important Grand National trial. It was won in 2008 by Comply Or Die who of course went on to win the 2008 Grand National just two months later.
25th Feb 2018 - Newcastle - Eider Chase (Handicap) - 4m1f
Formerly the Racing Post Chase, it is raced over 3 miles and 18 fences. This Grade 3 Chase was first run in 1988 and was won by the David Elsworth trained, Rhyme And Reason, who went on a few weeks later to win the Aintree Grand National. Although not a prolific producer of National winners, it did produce a second in 1996, when Rough Qest won the race. Its most famous winner however was of course the great Desert Orchid who won in 1988 then went on to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup a year later and the Irish Grand National in 1990.
25th Feb 2018 - Kempton - BetBright Chase - Grade 3 - 3m
Raced over three miles, two furlongs at Doncaster, this race can be an important pointer for the National. Little Polveir finished third here in 1987 before going on to win the 1989 Grand National, while the first three from that 1987 race each went on to win the Scottish Grand National. Grand National winners have been scarce since but contenders are worth looking out for.
4th Mar 2018 - Doncaster - Grimthorpe Chase (Handicap) - 4m1f
Festival Handicap Chase
There are generally a number of Grand National entries trying their luck in the Festival Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival. The race name was changed in 2012, with a number of staying chasers also entered in the Grand National.
14th Mar 2018 - Cheltenham - Festival Handicap Chase - Grade 3 - 3m110yds
Kim Muir Challenge Cup Chase
Run at the Cheltenham Festival, this Class 2 Handicap Chase is for amateur riders but has produced several top quality Grand National horses in the past, particularly over recent years. 2009 Grand National winner, Mon Mome was second in this race in this in 2006, while Character Building was amongst the favourites for the Grand National after winning this race in 2010. Other top Grand National horses to have run well in this include, Cloudy Lane and Parsons Legacy. 2010 winner was the Donald McCain Jr trained Ballabriggs, who went on to win the 2011 Grand National.
16th Mar 2018 - Cheltenham - Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Handicap Chase - 3m1f 110yds
Cheltenham Gold Cup
The Cheltenham Gold Cup has recently become a trial for the top Grand National fancies. Although none of those horses entered in the Grand National are given any hope of winning the Gold Cup, there is a current trend for trainers to give their Aintree hopefuls a last run out in this most competitive of races.
17th Mar 2018 - Cheltenham - Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase - Grade 1 - 3m2f 110yds