Thursday, 23 May 2019

Beginners Guide to Betting the Grand National

The Grand National is one of those races that doesn't need an introduction. Taking place at Aintree, Liverpool it is the world's most famous steeplechase. It is viewed by millions of racing fans who keep coming back for more. 

What makes the Grand National different from many horse races is that the whole family love to bet. Everyone sits around the box (TV) in the corner ready for the race to begin. This year, our household will be like so many across the UK. Checking the colour of their horse, remembering its name and, of course, taking note of the betting odds. 

I'm sure you are like me, calculating the winnings before the first fence has been jumped.

(In fact, even before the race has started.) 

That reminds me, set the reminder on your phone for 5:15 pm, Aintree, Saturday, 6th April 2019. 

Get seated. A nice cup of tea and a couple of biscuits to mop up any spillage from your saucer as the excitement builds. Now here's the important part. The Beginners Guide to Betting on the Grand National. Here you can bet on the Grand National and claim a free bet. It's important because so many bookmakers want you to bet with them so you can receive bigger odds or bonuses by shopping around. 

Let's take a quick review of the betting for the 2019 Grand National. The likely favourite is Tiger Roll who won the Grand National in 2018. Could this horse be another Red Rum who won three times in the 1970s? Only time will tell, but he's here with a favourite's chance. Tiger Roll could be worth a bet at 10/1

Other fancies include Rathvinden, who is in good form after winning comfortably on his return to racing at Fairyhouse in February. Bookies have this bay gelding, trained by Irishman Willie Mullins, priced 12/1. You have to go back to 2005 when Hedgehunter won for the stable. A long time between drinks! 

A horse which may go well at speculative odds is Elegant Escape. This seven-year-old may be a touch immature for a race of this stature. His trainer, Colin Tizzard, is still looking forward to his first National winner. On the plus side, this rare talent has won the Welsh National, which is often a good indicator of a horse's chance, and he's earmarked as a possible Gold Cup winner.

Anibale Fly finished fourth in last year's National. Can Tony Martin's charge defy the weights after that sparkling effort? This gelding is owned by legendary punter J P McManus who won with Don't Push It (2010), the year Tony McCoy finally won got the monkey off his back to taste victory in the getting steeplechase of them all. 

Whichever horse you bet, lady luck can decide your fate. The likes of Foinavon, who won at odds of 100/1 in 1967. His owner gave him so little chance he went to a different racecourse to watch a different horse! For those betting for the first time, here are a few pointers. Even though it doesn't seem very scientific you may get lucky by following a favourite name, colour or number. Remember there are 40 runners! (In case you have a penchant for the number 53). The betting odds are often shortened toward the start of the race, so take a price when placing your bet. Simply say: ''Can I take the price, please!'' and you are likely to see the benefit come to the starting price (SP). 

Other than that, please, if you are sitting next to your old gran and her horse hits the front, watch out for that boiling cup of tea. 

Good luck.

Tuesday, 30 April 2019

Sundew Inks a Spectacular Win in the 1957 Grand National

The 1957 Grand National was the 111th staging of the annual Grand National steeplechase at Aintree Racecourse, located in Liverpool, England. The widely watched championships were won by Sundew, a 20/1 shot who'd already shown a great deal of racetrack prowess in a couple of other preceding equestrian meets. 

The event’s overall winner was spectacularly ridden by Fred Winter, the proud product of Frank Hudson’s terrific training genius. It is actually one of the most accurately predicted wins that did not disappoint the optimistic guess of fans. The top pair's resounding victory also doubles up as one of the best winning margins ever. 

It happened to be Sundew's third round to try the international race's widely coveted jackpot, having fruitlessly fought for similar honours previously - in 1955, and again in the 1956 Nationals. 

The event attracted an odd number of thirty-five horses, unlike the modern day customary count of forty contenders. While much of the occasion's facts and figures remain shrouded in mystery, a fair number of snapshots still immortalize the thrilling racecourse spectacle. 

A rather striking aspect of that year's clash was that all the participants finally managed to safely return to the stables. This places the 1957 Grand National among the most casualty-free of all such meets that have been held since their inception, well over two centuries ago.  

The winning jockey - Fredrick Thomas Winter - entered British National Hunt's racing annals as the only guy to win the Grand National both as a jockey and trainer. It's a genuinely infrequent exploit attained by very other riders and trainers in the favourite game's richly variegated history. 

In particular, the iconic equestrian maverick emerged four times victorious in the British jump racing champion. As a further testament to his limitless gaming prowess, the unbowed equine sporting ace reigned eight times as a National Hunt winning trainer.

Thus his 1957 National victory atop Sundew did not come as a totally unforeseen achievement...for, even as his entry odds quite easily prove, the successful runner had severally shown a great deal of really promising sprinting éclat in key preceding tourneys.

His most illustrious racetrack feat probably came in 1962, when he inked a pretty unforgettable victory on Mandarin; during the Grand Steeplechase de Paris at the famous Auteuil. All these impregnable stunts were despite the fact that the industrious jockey was a bit unwell, and his horse wasn't in the best shape either.

Born on 20 September 1926, the English equestrian legend went down history books as one of the most finessed horse riders to ever achieve unimaginably huge gaming fame at a really tender age...hence becoming all the more commendable when you consider the fairytale-like additional that he doubled up as a trainer as well. 

The always triumphant man of horses would eventually breathe his last in 2004, aged 77 years. Adoring tributes swiftly began to trickle in from all the four corners of the earth, fittingly commemorating the awards-decorated life of a truly iconic man of extraordinary horse-riding talent. 

Even today, Fred Winter still occupies a highly prestigious slot in the whole history of British horse-gaming fraternity for a multiplicity of notable reasons. 

He was, for instance, the only professional rider to clinch first-place titles in three of Europe's most important equine championships. For these uncommonly outstanding racing milestones, Winter was declared CBE in 1963. And remains an exceedingly auspicious description he shares with very few other equestrian champions, even among the present crop of 21st-century gaming celebrities. 

For a swift recap, the leading horse in the 1957 Grand National Sundew, aged years then. The second place went to a fairly unknown horse dubbed Wyndburgh, ridden by Jockey Michael Batchelor. Clear details about the respective prize monies pocketed by the respective top finishers do however remain rather scanty up to the current moment. 

The third position went to Tiberretta who was steered by Alan Houghton. The fourth place was claimed by Glorious Twelfth/Jumbo Wilkinson and The Crofter/Jimmy Power pairs respectively. 

Hart Royal, Virginius, and Rendezvous III are listed among the memorable day's most notable non-finishers. However, as has earlier been noted above, the time-honoured race did not witness that many mid-circuit mishaps leading to fatalities.

Tuesday, 2 April 2019

1967 Foinavon Wins Grand National at Odds of 100/1

1967 Foinavon Wins Grand National at Odds of 100/1
Held on 8 April, the 1967 Grand National became the 121st staging of the renowned Grand National steeplechase at Aintree Racecourse, close to England’s Liverpool area. While archival details of the preceding and succeeding Nationals remain scanty, this one remains toweringly popular simply because it was won by a rank outsider at the dismal odds of 100/1. 

As luck would rarely have it, Foinavon happened to be the only horse to successfully outmanoeuvre a pace-crippling melee at the twenty-third fence… bagging the year’s Grand National jackpot. 

Going by a booming voice record of commentator Michael O’Hehir detailing the infamous 23rd-fence chaos of 1967, the winner wasn’t anywhere close to victory initially. First to be hampered by the hellish mayhem was Rutherfords, then Castle Falls and Rondetto. Third to suffer was Princeful, followed by Norther and Kirtle Lad and Fossa and everyone else…till Foinavon went off on his own – easily winning the momentous race. 

Owing to the ensuing ill turn of events, all of the earlier stages of the clash was inconsequential, although 28 out of the enrolled 44 contesters rushed safely past the 22nd fence. There was however a notable fatality that took place at the third, in which Vulcano got mortally injured and later euthanized. 

Popham Down, a notorious runner who had given dreadful hints by unseating his rider at the opening fence, was the cause of all these wide-ranging misadventures. Veering rather dramatically toward his right-hand side at the fateful fence, he slammed Rutherfords out of place and pace, unseating Jockey Johnny Leech. 

A chaotic pileup arose and within few seconds, the rest were caught up in the unfolding pandemonium. It was utterly impossible for previous trailblazers to jump over the disaster-prone fence and the melee brought the entire showdown to a near halt. The final champ was the luckiest horse in entire clutter – upsetting all betters’ fortunes and giving lucky bookmakers an instant reason to smile all the way to the bank. 

It was as such an unbelievably fortunate coincidence for the outright undistinguished Foinavon to clinch the year’s loftiest accolades, despite his being the slowest horse in the whole contest. BBC’s commentator’s shrieks of sheer wonderment split the air as the fluking galloper sprinted toward the finishing line, well over 100 yards ahead of the chaotic pileup behind. 

Foinavon’s owner had travelled to Worcester on the very racing day, and didn’t expect to receive any inspiring news from Aintree. And as the actual running began and entered the troubled fence, the slow-moving galloper was so much behind such that jockey John Buckingham had sufficient time to skirt around the growing tumult.

Being the only horse to safely go over the 23rd fence, Buckingham was taken aback to find himself enjoying a whopping 30 lengths lead. And while 17 of the fallen pairs remounted successfully to give him considerable chase, none was able to catch up with the lucky duo, who dashed past the finishing line with a 15-length winning margin. Josh Gifford, a leading favorite from the outset, pursued the luck-enabled champion with relentless fury but just couldn’t cover the distance between them quickly enough. 

After the surprising developments, Michael O’Hehir opined that Becher’s Brook and the Valentine’s – such strangely luck-bringing obstacles – might one day come to be renamed Foinavon. And quite strangely, in 1984, a bunch of Aintree executives renamed the fence Foinavon fence. 

The horse had been turned down by three jockeys, terming him a poor nonstarter with infinitesimal chances of success. Even the ultimate jackpot-winning Buckingham seems to have unenthusiastically opted for the unpromising choice for want of better mounts. 

The second place went to most hardworking chaser after the luck-favoured winner, Josh Gifford and Honey End. The third rank was grabbed by Brian Fletcher’s Red Alligator, then aged 10 years. The fourth and the fifth slots went to the Greek Scholar/Terry Biddlecombe and Packed Home/Tommy Carberry pairs respectively. 

Elsewhere, 1967 doubled up as the first year when Red Rum first appeared at Aintree, aged only 2 years…and in a 5-furlong sprint, held a day before the National event. The then debuting mount would visit the same grounds for his unprecedented 3rd Grand National title ten years later.

Wednesday, 27 March 2019

Tiger Roll - Grand National

Could Tiger Roll be the next Red Rum
Already a four-time winner at the Cheltenham Festival, as well as a Grand National winner, Tiger Roll has carved his name, indelibly, into the annals of history. However, still only a nine-year-old, and officially 8lb ‘well in’ for his attempt to become the first back-to-back winner of the Grand National since Red Rum in 1974, Tiger Roll is a top-priced 9/2 to defend his crown. 

When the Grand National weights were revealed on February 12, Tiger Roll was allotted 11st 1lb, commensurate with an official handicap rating of 159 but, following an effortless, 22-length victory in the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase at Cheltenham on March 13, his rating was raised to 167. However, no penalties are applied to horses who have won since the publication of the Grand National weights so, with British Horseracing Authority (BHA) handicapper Martin Greenwood freely admitting that he has ‘possibly underestimated’ the level of the Cheltenham form, the continued support for Tiger Roll is, perhaps, understandable. 

Indeed, Tiger Roll has the potential to become the shortest-priced favourite for the Grand National for a good many years. That said, the shortest-priced favourite in the history of the Grand National was Golden Miller who, in 1935, was sent off at 2/1 after breaking the Aintree course record the previous year; he unseated jockey Gerry Wilson at the open ditch known as ‘Booth’ on the first circuit. The shortest-priced winner of the Grand National, though, was Poethlyn, who was sent off at 11/4 favourite in 1919; he had also won the previous renewal, known as the ‘War National’, staged at Gatwick Racecourse in 1918. 

Before you steam into Tiger Roll, it is worth remembering that several horses have threatened to start the Grand National at, frankly, ridiculously short prices, only for punters to come to their senses on the day of the race. In 2008, Cloudy Lane, trained by Donald McCain, went into the National chasing a four-timer and seemed likely to be sent off at around 7/2, before drifting to 7/1. In 2015, it was a similar story with Shutthefrontdoor, trained by Jonjo O’Neill; seeking to give Sir Anthony McCoy his second National winner on his final ride in the race, Shutthefrontdoor came in for sustained public support before drifting to a more realistic 6/1 at the ‘off’. 

It is also worth remembering that plenty of recent Grand National winners, including Bindaree, Hedgehunter, Comply Or Die, Ballabriggs and Many Clouds, have tried and failed, to emulate Red Rum. Hedgehunter and Comply Or Die did, of course, finish second on their second attempts, in 2006 and 2009, respectively. Both horses were 10-year-olds by that stage, with Hedgehunter carrying 12lb, and Comply Or Die 15lb, more than they did the previous year so, having already won off his revised mark, which is 9lb higher than last year – and being only a 9-year-old to boot – Tiger Roll may yet be making headlines, once again, on April 6.

Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Richard Johnson – Grand National

If and when Richard Johnson lines up for the 2019 Grand National
If and when Richard Johnson lines up for the 2019 Grand National, aboard Rock The Kasbah, trained by Philip Hobbs, he will break the record – which he already holds jointly, with Sir Anthony McCoy – for the total number of rides in the celebrated steeplechase. 

However, Champion Jockey-elect Johnson will, no doubt, be hoping to bring to an end his unenviable record of 20 rides without success. Johnson, 41, made his first attempt in the Monday National – so-called after it was postponed by 48 hours following a coded IRA bomb threat – in 1997 but was unseated by his mount, Celtic Abbey, at The Chair, towards the end of the first circuit. 

Indeed, it was another five years, and another five rides, before Johnson completed the National Course. However, when he did, he looked briefly as if he might end his Grand National ‘hoodoo’ before it was even worthy of the name. In 2002, Johnson led over the final fence on the well-fancied What’s Up Boys, trained by Philip Hobbs, and was 3 lengths clear at the Elbow. Yet, he was run down by Bindaree, to whom he was conceding 16lb, in the last 75 yards and finished second, beaten 1¾ lengths. 

Johnson completed the National Course again in 2003, finishing tenth of 14 finishers on Behrajan, trained by Henry Daly, but failed to do so for another six years. In 2010, he completed the National Course for just the third time ever, but his remote ninth of 14 finishers on Tricky Trickster provided little, or no, consolation in the race won – at the fifteenth time of asking – by his arch-rival Sir Anthony McCoy on Don’t Push It. 

Johnson pulled up at The Chair on Quinz in 2011 but completed the National Course for the next three years running. He once again finished out with the proverbial washing on Planet Of Sound in 2012 and Balthazar King in 2013, but returned to partner the latter into second place, beaten 5 lengths, behind Pineau De Re in 2014. 

Balthazar King was consequently well fancied for the 2015 Grand National but fell heavily at the Canal on the first circuit. Johnson was again out of luck in 2016, pulling up Kruzhlinin at the third-last fence and, after riding in the Grand National for 20 consecutive years without success, did not have a ride in the race in 2017 or 2018. 

Few would deny that Johnson deserves to win a Grand National, but his overall record at Aintree – two second places and 14 non-completions from 20 rides – hardly inspires confidence. However, Johnson is on the record as saying that if he does take a ride in the Grand National he wants to do it on a horse with a ‘good chance’ so, maybe, just maybe, Rock The Kasbah can provide the ‘jewel in the crown’ of his glittering career.

Monday, 25 March 2019

1968 Red Alligator Shows His Teeth to Rivals

Red Alligator wins Grand National 1968
The 1968’s event marked the 122nd staging of the Grand National equestrian race that occurred at Aintree Racecourse, a few miles away from Liverpool in England. According to detailed archival records, the lively occasion took place on the 30th of March…and was won by Red Alligator by a legendary 20 lengths – one of the most resounding victory margins in the entire history of the centuries-old gaming meet. 

The teeth-brandishing Alligator was adeptly steered to the aforementioned historic triumph by the unflinching Brian Fletcher. The same champion jockey would again propel Red Rum to typically picture-perfect exploits in the 1973 and 1974 Nationals. 

The most conspicuous participator was Tim Durant, atop Highlandie – the oldest rider to ever successfully complete the Aintree circuit at 68 years of age! 

It was an also exhilarating victory for the 9-year-old horse …a comparatively tender age for a winner in such a noteworthy international competition. The young victor was owned by one fella named Mr J. Manners, a comparably less known horse handler of little regional fame. 

The successful contester had been trained by one Denys Smith of Durham County. Denys did not expect his marvellous prodigy to bring him such exemplary honours. He however later confided to journalists that he knew his modest protégé to be a petite beast of immense ability and firm discipline. 

Placed at the impossible odds of 100/7, it had been clearly indicated that not many locals and global sports fans anticipated the pair’s record-breaking performance. Another astonishing aspect to the whole victorious mix was the fact that Brian Fletcher was only 19 years at the time he achieved this spectacular feat. 

As grateful racing history shows, Brian would go ahead to clinch equally stunning exploits a couple of years later. For instance, t6he same rider steered the variously honoured Red Rum to a picture-perfect victory – a maiden success for the then still-inexperienced galloper…duplicating the same feat not many years later, to give the now-well-known sprinter the indelible intercontinental fame we know today. 

Denys Smith – the colourful event’s winning trainer – died in November 2016 aged 92, and with an elegant racing record to his name. Operating from his renowned base in Bishop Auckland in County Durham, the lately-fallen sporting hero gave the racing world more 1,600 winning horses from his famous stables. What made him an especially remarkable equestrian dealer was that he issued great gallopers for both flat and jump racing events.

Derek Thompson, a longstanding assistant to the unbeatable Smith of the 1968 Grand National fame, averred that his boss was one of the finest sporting icons in the whole of the English equine-gaming fraternity…and that he was really lucky to have had the chance to serve as his assistant at the Bishop Auckland training premises. 

Red Alligator had emerged third in the previous year’s National version. He also had been tipped as a top favourite in 1969 but he succumbed to encumbrances at the nineteenth fence. Owned by the not-very-well-known James Manners, the triumphant rider had fruitlessly run for the grand title the previous year on the same runner…but his little chances were ruined by the so-called “Foinavon pile up”, someplace around the 23rd fence. 

Due to ensuing melee, the popular jockey remounted but was not able to reclaim the lost preliminary pace due to the ensuing mayhem – finishing third to Foinavon. The greatly endowed horse was said to have been taken to the stalls for prescriptive drugging and did not achieve any record really close to his earlier Aintree glory of the preceding year. 

The ensuing general lack of success notwithstanding, the horse’s 1968 victory was grandly commemorated by a local brewing giant - where trainer Denys Smith had been a passably honoured patron of longstanding…naming the drinking joint after the admired equine instructor. 

And as a lasting testament that endures to this, you’ll find therein the trainer and winning horse’s photos posted on whatever visible remains of the time-dulled walls of the olden beer-dispensing facility. 

Although Brian Fletcher’s gallant attainment in the year’s Aintree clash is a feat of no mean repute, posterity will best remember him for more vivacious accomplishments in 1973 and 1974…. when the incisive man of horses piloted Red Rum to immortalize his name with two consecutive Grand National titles. His performance in the 1975 National didn’t fall short of lasting accolades, too.

Wednesday, 20 March 2019

The Complete Grand National 2019 Guide

The Complete Grand National 2019 Guide
Around 600 million people across the world will tune in to watch the drama unfold at the 172nd annual Grand National on April 6. It is the richest jumps race in the world, replete with a £1 million prize purse, and it attracts all the leading long distance chasers in the business. The National transcends the sport of horseracing and stands as one of the great sporting events in the entire calendar. Even people with minimal interest in the National Hunt scene will enjoy a cheeky flutter and the anticipation will continue to mount as we approach the big day. 

Race Features

The Grand National at Aintree captures the imagination due to the epic nature of the trip, which is run over a gut-busting 4 miles and 514 yards. The horses must clear 30 fences over two laps. These are not just any fences, they are fearsome, treacherous fences like Becher’s Brook, The Chair and Canal Turn – so gruelling they have names. The Chair is the 15th fence and, at 5ft 3ins, it is the tallest in the race. The runners must clear a 6ft open ditch as they take off and land safely on the far side, which is 6ins higher. Two jockeys lost their lives at this fence in the 19th century. 

Canal Turn provides a number of problems for jockeys and their mounts due to the 90-degree turn that immediately precedes it. Several horses refuse to jump the Canal Turn and it has witnessed several pile-ups over the years. Becher’s Brook is the 6th and 26th fence, named after the jockey who fell from his mount there in the first ever Grand National and took shelter in the brook. No wonder 63% of the horses do not complete the race.  


The Grand National is famous for its huge field of leading jumpers from across Great Britain, Ireland and further afield. A total of 112 entries have been received for the 2019 renewal, but a maximum of 40 runners will start the race. This year Tiger Roll fever is certain to sweep the nation. Gordon Elliott’s star nine-year-old is bidding to become the first runner since the legendary Red Rum in 1974 to win this famous race for the second year in a row. It is a monumental ask, but he just won a second consecutive Cross Country Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, finishing a comfortable 22 lengths clear of the chasing pack. Tiger Roll has proven himself to be a brilliantly versatile horse and he will try to defy a weight of 11 stone 1 pound to win the race. If you check out the sports spread betting markets, you will see that Tiger Roll is out in front, ahead of the likes of Anibale Fly. However, it is more than a decade since a favourite won the National, and we have seen several long odds victors in recent years, so many punters will prefer to look at long shots. It always descends into a thrilling war of attrition and it will be fascinating to see who prevails this year.

Prize Money

£1 million prize purse is on offer for the Grand National, but only 25% of the runners will receive a piece of it. The winner is given £561,300, which could be a life-changing sum for some of the smaller owners. The runner-up takes home £211,100, while the third-placed horse is given £105,000. That drops to £52,700 for fourth, £26,500 for fifth, £13,200 for sixth, £6,800 for seventh, £3,600 for eighth, £2,000 for ninth and £1,000 for the horse that finishes 10th. 

Stats and Trends

Punters love to lump on the favourite at the Grand National, but it is worth noting that these horses are only successful 15% of the time. Spectators at Aintree witnessed 7/1 favourites romp to victory in both 2006 and 2008, but since then the long-shots have ruled the roost and Tiger Roll will now aim to defy that trend. The shortest-priced winner was 11/4 shot Poethlyn in 1919. Contrast that with 100/1 hopeful Tipperary Time, who won in 1928 as one of just two horses that finished the race. 

Peter Simple is the oldest horse to ever win the race, at the ripe old age of 15 in 1853, while five different five-year-olds have won the race, but none since 1909. Nowadays horses aged 10 or over have the best recent record. Horses that either won or placed last time out have also flourished here, and you should look for runners that have secured victory over hurdles at some point in the season. Irish raiders have dominated in recent years, which is positive for connections of Tiger Roll, but trainer Gordon Elliott will have a strong hand as he will not want to put all his eggs in that basket. 

Horses aged eight or lower have struggled recently, as have those aged 13 or older, so the sweet spot really is 9-12. Normally you want the horse to be well rested, as runners that have raced in the previous 50 days struggle with this epic trip. Runners that were tested to their limits at Cheltenham usually flop in the National, but Tiger Roll might be excused as he coasted to victory. Twenty-six of the last 27 runners were officially rated 137 or higher, which is also worth keeping in mind. Twenty-five of 27 winners had previously won over a distance of at least 3 miles, so you should look for horses that can handle a long trip. At least 10 chase starts has been the minimum requirement for National winners over the past decade.

Sunday, 3 March 2019

How Is Betting on the Grand National Different to Other Races?

The Grand National Is Unlike Any Other Race
In the coming weeks, you will start to hear more about the Grand National. It starts with a whisper but grows day by day until 5:15 pm 6th April when when it becomes a roar. 

The Grand National isn't like any ordinary race. It has a history, reputation and story that's literally embroidered into the heart of horse racing. Say the name: ''Red Rum'' and someone will tell you a story of a horse that won the Grand National three times in the 1970s, trained by Ginger McCain. Then, you will hear a personal story about betting on Red Rum, perhaps themselves, a Dad, uncle, grandparent, the spouse. Stories passed on from generation to generation. Remember when... 

There can't be many people who don't have something to say with pride. 

The Grand National is one of those races where anything is possible. Or, perhaps, we should say, almost anything is possible. There have been five 100/1 winners in the history including Foiavon 1967, who is one of the most famous winner simply because he is a winner that shouldn't, perhaps, have won. 

As with so many aspects in life, circumstance ruled the day and the most unlikely of horses won. Whether a horse price over 100/1 will ever happen, only time will tell. I guess it is possible. Certainly the favourite don't have the best record. The number of the jolly, old favourite who fall at the first fence is unknown to me but I get a feeling it has been a bad starting point for many. 

Horses priced around the 14/1 mark always reminded me of a fair betting guide. Something with a bit of a price, a fighting chance, and often a horse with experience or strong credentials. It will be interesting to see how this year's race pans out. 

The race doesn't seem to capture the sparkle of yesteryear but it is a lot safer than the old days which just isn't acceptable this day. 

Will I be betting on the race? 


I don't know anything about National Hunt horses and I don't like betting for ''fun''. I find losing money frustrating at the best of times and I would rather spend it wisely on a two-year-old race which I understand and appreciate. 

There will be plenty of punters betting for their lives and even more having a flutter for the first time. It is the type of race where you can get lucky. It's strange how often first-bettors have a bit of luck. As with most bets, I would rather a have my ounce of favour with a big priced selection than a 6/4. Not that we are going to see a horse priced one and a half to one in the Grand National. You have to go back to 1960 for a horse to be priced 13/2 favourite. Merryman II took the honours from trainer Neville Crump. 

From what I can see, the shortest priced horse to ever win the National is Poethlyn who was priced 11/4. It would take something exceptional to have such a short priced horse theses day. So in conclusion, there is every chance a big winner could take the Grand National this year. Whether a huge price or a favourite, have a small bet and just hope it is your lucky day.

Tuesday, 5 February 2019

Record 47 Irish-Trained Horses Among 112 Initial Entries for 2019 Grand National

Irish-trained horses have won eight of the last 20 runnings of the Grand National, and Emerald Isle raiders account for a record high 47 of the 112 initial entries for the Aintree showpiece on Saturday, 6 April 2019. 

That equates to just shy of 42 per cent of potential runners, although a maximum field of 40 can go to post in the extended 4m 2f Merseyside marathon. Last year, Ireland had the first four home in the Grand National and all of those horses could line-up again. 

Despite Oddschecker reporting odds being slashed for no Irish runners at Aintree due to Brexit, the 2018 winner Tiger Roll heads the ante-post betting with most bookmakers. History is against Gordon Elliott's Gigginstown House Stud-owned gelding, however, as he seeks to emulate Red Rum and be only the second dual Grand National winner in modern times. 

Tiger Roll is something of a Cheltenham Festival specialist. Like erstwhile stablemate Cause Of Causes before him, he won both the four-mile National Hunt Chase as a novice over fences and later the three and three-quarter miles Cross Country Chase. 

A similar campaign is on the cards for Elliott's plucky long-distance horse, who previously won the Triumph Hurdle over 2m as a juvenile. Tiger Roll seems to come alive in the spring, but winning back-to-back Grand Nationals would definitely be a career best.

Pleasant Company, who was a diminishing head runner-up for Willie Mullins 12 months ago, again looks to be trained with the race in mind. As with Tiger Roll, bookies' ante-post prices vary for the Malcolm Denmark owned 11-year-old who has twice completed the unique Grand National course with its spruce covered fences. 

Leading Irish owner JP McManus often has more than one iron in the fire at Aintree, and potentially joining last year's fourth Anibale Fly - who again looks sure to be high in the weights - could be Enda Bolger's Cross Country specialist Auvergnat. 

The French-bred nine-year-old proved his stamina on the Bank Course at Punchestown on his first try over four miles back in April when prevailing by a neck over stable companion Josies Orders. Auvergnat has since followed in the hoofprints of Tony Martin's Anibale Fly by winning the valuable Paddy Power Handicap Chase at the Leopardstown Christmas Festival. Both of these McManus owned Irish raiders are available at a general 33/1 in the 2019 Grand National betting prior to the weights being published on February 12. Others sporting his famous green and gold hooped silks could also line-up on Merseyside. 

Besides Tiger Roll, Elliott's County Meath stable holds 21 further entries including last year's third Bless The Wings, who is now aged 14. Of those, 11 are Gigginstown owned and they feature the 2018 Irish Grand National winner General Principle.

Just like Tiger Roll at Aintree, he prevailed by a head in the Fairyhouse Easter Festival feature. Irish National runner-up Isleofhopendreams and the fifth horse home Folsom Blue, now both 12-year-olds, get entries here too. 

Mullins only has 10 for the Grand National, and joining Pleasant Company and Isleofhopendreams is Rathvinden - the National Hunt Chase winner from the 2018 Cheltenham Festival. Both Rathvinden and General Principle are 33/1 chances for Aintree. 

Pairofbrowneyes and Polidam are seasoned handicappers from County Carlow handler Mullins' stable, and his potential Grand National team also includes former Ladbrokes Trophy winner Total Recall. 

Joseph O'Brien still has his whole training career ahead of him, but the son of all-conquering Flat racing master Aidan has a potentially well-weighted sort in Vieux Movran. The 10-year-old French import was second to Auvergnat in Paddy Power Chase - improving from fifth last season behind Anibale Fly and running off 4lb higher.

A number of the Irish jumps scene's smaller yards are also represented by initial Grand National entries. Sandymount Duke and Magic Of Light hail from the stable of Cheltenham Gold Cup-winning trainer Jessica Harrington. 

Henry de Bromhead has a couple for Gigginstown entered too in Valseur Lido and Sub Lieutenant. Ross O'Sullivan, husband of former crack women's amateur jockey Katy Walsh, also has two in Baie Des Iles - who got round Aintree and was last of 12 to finish last year - and Irish Grand National seventh Call It Magic.

Thursday, 24 January 2019

Horses that Made Some Neighs in Belmont Stakes

Belmont Stakes 2019
Among all racehorses in Belmont Stakes Race, Justify is the top star nowadays. It is a big kahuna horse that has been skillfully ridden by Mike Smith and carefully trained by Bob Baffert. It’s famous for being undefeated, keeping its career record of 5 starts – 5 wins – 0 seconds – 0 thirds. 

There are many other racehorses, however, that made neighs in Belmont Stakes Race, as well. In no chronological order, the following are other racehorses that are justifying their potentials. against Justfiy’s title. 

Blended Citizen 

After nine races with Kyle Frey as its jockey and Doug F. O'Neill as its trainer, Blended Citizen finally had a first-place finish at the 2018 Peter Pan Stakes at Belmont Park. He finished the run through drawing off handily in the final half-furlong, earning a 110 Equibase Speed Figure, which is the second-best of his career, in the 1 1/8-mile race.

A manifested relationship for Belmont’s dirt track, constant Equibase Speed Figures, and a fitting stamina pedigree are the said reasons for Blended Citizen to be menaced as one of Justify’s challengers in Belmont Stakes.


Bravazo might be one of Justify’s big opponents, especially with the guidance of its trainer, D. Wayne Lukas and its jockey, Luis Saez. Bravazo. Bravazo placed sixth in the Kentucky Derby and was known to be one of those 20-horse field’s biggest long shots. Not only that, but he also became the second placer in Baltimore for the Preakness. 


You might guess it right. Gronkowski is named after Rob Gronkowski, one of the New England Patriots Tight end. Gronkowski wasn’t able to join Kentucky Derby due to being infected. However, now he is restarting to train for Europe's Burradon Stakes with its trainer Chad C. Brown and is ready to take a dominant run again with his jockey, Jose Ortiz. 


Hofburg placed seventh at the Kentucky Derby while being ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr. and trained by William I. Mott. Many surmised that he might be one of those spoiler candidates with pretty good odds with it. If only basing in a purely physical perspective, Hofburg may compete against Justify well. Noble Indy Noble Indy is the second horse of trainer of Todd Pletcher in the Belmont Stakes Race. While being ridden by its jockey, Javier Castellano, 

Noble Indy

kept on either setting or stalking the pace in his last five races until he won the Louisiana Derby on March 24, last year. 

Noble Indy is one of those underrated horses with great potentials that can place second after Justify or even take advantage of a normal performance by the favorite and pull off an upset win. 

Restoring Hope 

Restoring Hope with its jockey, Florent Geroux finished 12th in the 5th of May Pat Day Mile, last year. Similar to its name, Restoring Hope is restoring hope for his trainer, Bob Baffert. Baffert has recently left anticipating comments about what will Justify face in competition with Restoring Hope. 


Tenfold became known to have auspicious talents after winning its first two starts at Oaklawn Park at the distance of 1 1/16 miles. Although just being fifth in the Arkansas Derby, Tenfold will sooner or later hit the top with Victor Espinoza, a three-time Preakness winner, as its jockey.

After which, it came back a longshot Preakness Stakes competitor and rallied impressively through the stretch to finish third, with only three-quarters of a length behind Justify. Continuing this and with the help of its trainer Steve Asmussen, Tenfold might be at the top of the Belmont Stakes stretch. 

Vino Rosso 

Although Vino Rosso barely reached the top in many of his races specifically for the Wood Memorial Stakes by NYRA Bet, still it performed with a sharp three-length win to qualify for the Kentucky Derby. In fact, Vino Rosso raced wide throughout in the Derby with John Velazquez as its jockey and Todd Pletcher as its trainer. It was never been contended until it continued on through the stretch to finish ninth. It’s one of those horses with a potential to post an upset win. 


Currently, Justify has a dominant history of Preakness Stakes victory which can be found in any sports tv sites like the ones in has been no horse that had come within 2 ½ lengths of Justify in Preakness Stakes yet. In addition, he has been speculated to have a great opportunity to become the 13th Triple Crown winner in United States Thoroughbred racing. That’s why winning against Justify would be really a hit.