Horse Racing: The John Smith’s Grand National 2012

April 3, 2012

Easter is upon us and the John Smith’s Grand National is now upon our doorstep. The National Hunt season draws to a close with the final hurrah at Aintree raceourse.

We have watched our favourites run all winter and enjoyed a fabulous Cheltenham Festival, now it’s off to Aintree to the most popular race of the year, over the testing (although not as testing, fence wise, as it has been over the years) Grand National fences and course. I run through my shortlist, and come up with a few for consideration. For the full Grand National card,

I have for years used trends as opposed to form as the approach to the Grand National. It has served me well, and the full set of trends even outlined the 2010 winner Mon Mome at 1001/, although, I left it out as a French Bred!!!!! I use the same approach for 2012 which culminates in a four runner shortlist and my bets for the Grand National 2012


I like the horse that is running for me to have stamina. Of course, it is essential the selection has it in abundance as they take on the four and a half miles. There are few opportunities to run the trip, so I look for runners that have won at least once over fences at 3 miles or beyond. This does little to shortlist in all honesty, it removes just four runners and our field is down to 36.


Not everyone will have this as a rule in shortlisting runners, but I personally like to have my runners experienced over the fences on the National Course at Aintree. There are chases that take place at the track that do not encompass these, so check carefully, as Aintree form doesn’t necessarily mean a run has been had on this course. Again, this filter isnt for everyone, but coupled with the above we are down to just 15 contenders.


Again, these are subjective and don’t narrow the field by much, but 10 previous chase runs is a minimum requirement, as is for the runner to be between the ages of 8 and 12. This narrows the field, but just a couple more and we are down to 13.


This is a big one, so many people claim that the winner will never come from a runner carrying a weight of 11 stones or more. Whilst it is true to say that only a handful of runners have managed in in the last 30 years or so, including Red Rum twice (11-08 & 12-00), and Don’t Push It (11-05), the quality of the field now is becoming better and better and the weights are tighter and tighter than they used to be. I think to rule out any runner above 11-00 is now amiss. I am happy to give a further 5lbs and look for runners with 11-05 and below as the marker. It is still a very tough ask to do so off any higher. By doing this, The field is now clipped to just 11. This is also the point at which 2011 Grand National winner Ballabriggs falls from the list.


It seems essential to me that my selection has made at least a couple of appearences in the current season and in doing so, not have fallen. In addition, a sure footed runner is key and so I also look to ensure there are no more than a couple of falls in the entire history of my selection’s career. Applying this rule, the 2012 Grand National field is now narrowed to just seven runners.


I am looking now at what conditions these runner prefer. We are only a week or so out from the race and can fairly confidently predict that the ground will be no slower than Good to Soft at worst. Given that this is the case, The Midnight Club, Rare Bob and the final 12yo left in my shortlist, Vic Venturi, drop out. The latter pair are both trained by Dessie Hughes. Vic Venturi was a full trends selection last year but got brought down, just as he did in 2010. It will be interesting to see what he could do if staying upright, but I do think that perhaps his chance has now gone. So I am  now down to just four runners running for me

WEST END ROCKER  16/1 @ Boylesports

Chase Runs 14
Runs over GN Fences 2
Wins over 3m+ 5
Wins over 4m+ 0
Best ground G
Form 1PB-P1
Wins/Races 1/2
Prize Money £56k
Falls 0
Days Since Last Race 133
Biggest Chase Win £56k
Prize Money £113k
Falls 0


Chase Runs 14
Runs over GN Fences 1
Wins over 3m+ 3
Wins over 4m+ 0
Best ground GS
Form 30341
Wins/Races 1/5
Prize Money £14k
Falls 0
Days Since Last Race 28
Biggest Chase Win £51k
Prize Money £105k
Falls 1


Chase Runs 33
Runs over GN Fences 6
Wins over 3m+ 3
Wins over 4m+ 0
Best ground GS
Form 41-844
Wins/Races 0/3
Prize Money £6k
Falls 0
Days Since Last Race 21
Biggest Chase Win £56k
Prize Money £268k
Falls 2

SWING BILL 66/1 SkyBet

Chase Runs 23
Runs over GN Fences 2
Wins over 3m+ 1
Wins over 4m+ 0
Best ground G
Form 13P20
Wins/Races 1/8
Prize Money £17k
Falls 0
Days Since Last Race 30
Biggest Chase Win £15k
Prize Money £89k
Falls 1

The statistics for the four runners are lifted directly from the fabulous GRAND-NATIONAL-GUIDE

Good luck, whichever way you bet for the Aintree Grand National 2012.


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One Response to Horse Racing: The John Smith’s Grand National 2012

  1. Harry on April 11, 2012 at 10:05 am

    Great blog, thanks for the tips. Now the decision whether to back e/w or not!

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