Aintree Day 3 bets/preview

One day it will all come together on this blog where instead of mentioning horses as savers I put them up as main bets. It is of course all hindsight but on another day Theinval could have been a main selection at 12s and so could RE in the Topham. I wont show you my note pad for race two, and the 10/1 shot that i circled as the EW bet. Having been ‘battered’ at Cheltenham taking on the short priced novices/non handicap horses, esp in hurdles, I have changed approach and backed them here. Idiot. 

It was officially a 5 point loss on the day however I know a few of you backed Theinval and RE (like me) on the back of the write ups which was good. They turned out to be decent ‘saver ‘ bets. Fairy Rath ran a cracker at 33/1 and for a moment it was very very exciting. Anyone that follows me on twitter may have read my tweets pre Don Cossaks romp from paddock side. I have never seen a better looking horse parade around in my life to date. He was head and shoulders above the rest and I ended up having a decent bet on him on that alone. Al Ferof was rather poor. 

Anyway, onto day 3. 

I will leave the Grand National to the end. I have gone through every horses (a few days ago) with a stats/trends reason for why they can or cant win.

Race 1

You have to know what you are good at in this game and I have to say I am not very good at Novice Hurdles, as my record would show. I wont ‘advise’ in this race but for what it is worth I have 1 point on Days of Heaven 6/1 and 1/2 point EW on As De Mee at 12/1. If I wasnt going to the track today I wouldn’t be having a bet in this race as part of my usual punting day. 


Race 2 

Same again really. My confidence is a bit knocked with taking on or backing the shorties as I havent got one of those calls right this week. Having said that I have gone all out on Gods Own and had my biggest single bet of the week on him at 7/4. 2.5 points. A bit stupid really but he is tactically versatile and should run well. On all known figures and form he is picking these up and carrying them over the line. The concern, and why it is probably a stupid bet (that many points anyway) is because he does like to jump RH every now and then. It wasnt too bad at Cheltenham or too severe and I would like to think it wont cost him here, but it might. 


Race 3 

Cool Harden 1.5 point win 11/4

This looks to be between the top two. Provided his last race hasn’t taken anything out of him (you never really know until they run) Cool Harden should go very close. A relentless galloper there is every chance he gets loose on the front end here and dictates. His old rival Zarkandar will give him most to do. I still cant get that Ascot run out of my head where he curled up when hitting the front. Of course he could very well overturn the form here but I will stick with CH. The pace angle as much as anything makes him a bet, as well as the fact that he loves a fight and will try to the line. 


Race 4 

What an awful awful race. I cant really make a strong case for anything in this. Most of them , including the fav, have to prove their stamina. As such I wouldnt want to take 9/4 about Buywise but given the number of questions about every other horse he is the right fav. Maybe this is another of those shorties I have got wrong and he will romp home! If he stays then he probably will, and there doesnt look to be loads of pace here which will help his cause. The way he has finished a few of his races suggests this trip will be fine, and maybe what he needs. We shall see. 

Wonderful Charm is the only ‘profile’ qualifier from the stats guide and as such I have had 1 point on at 5/1. I am yet to be convinced that he stays – well, I dont think he does. But having put the profiles together I would be rather annoyed if the only qualifier in this race bolted up! One of those just in case bets! 

For my sins I have also backed Raajih 1 point at 20/1. This race has a strange feel and this horse will relish the ground and he 100% stays. He makes his stable debut and while I dont think many improve for leaving Gordon Elliot I found him to be an interesting runner. But no more than that! 


Race 6 

Another race where I dont have any dogmatic views but my bets, because I am going to the races, are below. If I was sat at home I dont think I would be having that much of a play in this. 5 of the 6 winners to date ran in a race worth £35K or more to the winner LTO. The form of Gordon Elliot and the record of the latter two trainers in this race made me plump for these three. 

The Game Changer 8/1 1 point win 

Ballyglasheen 1/2 point EW 40/1 

Chieftan’s Choice 1/2 point win 20/1 


Race 7 

Another bumper. I will be backing the two Alan King runners that are shortest in the market (he has three, I dont think the one that Moloney is on has a chance but I could be wrong) and also the Peter Bowen runner. If I am down on the day by this race I fully expect to be down even more come the end of this race! 




Rocky Creek 1 point EW 10/1 5 places, Paddy Power 

Portrait King 1/2 point EW 80/1, Ladbrookes 5 places

Mon Parrain 1/2 point EW 50/1 6 places BetVictor 

Royale Knight 1/2 point win BetfairSP 

Knight In Milan 1/2 point win BetfairSP 


5 points staked. I like to have a few running for me in this race as it just makes it more fun, provided 1 or 2 are still in contention turning for home. 

One way or another these horses are a near enough perfect profile fit, based on the stats in the free guide and a few others I have used. The profile I discovered is responsible for all of the last 10 winners and 14 of the last 18.

In addition to those above other likely winners on my longer shortlist were: First L (falls down on a few things as you will see below), Balthazar King (should run a cracker but could be too fresh for his own good, if settles should be top 6,could win), The Druids Nephew (only falls down on age, and another 8 year old will win this at some point, not that I will even be on them!), Godmejudge (yet to place this season and out of form, if puts it all together would go well), Al Co, Saint Are (tried and failed in race before, 1 day too long away from race track!), Oscar Time (age, but could run a blinder and Top 6 would not be a shock), Soll (stamina to prove having had 1 previous go. He will complete I think, may want it softer, but couldn’t necessarily put you off)

Rocky Creek looks bomproof as an each way bet and barring accidents I would be shocked were he not in the top 5. He has a touch of class and having deliberated it for a while is the most likely winner. He was 8 last year and that is a good enough reason for why he faded at the elbow. With one more year under his belt, and some cracking form to boot, he must run a big race. 

Portrait King is a decent fit. He may not be quick enough, he may not have the class needed, but he ticks plenty of boxes and I suspect Condon will try and ride him handy. If he gets into a good position early, and can hold it, and jumps, then we may well have something to cheer. At 80/1 I had to have an EW bet. 

If the real Mon Parrain shows up, and he stays, he will be in the money. He is just as likely to be pulled up and tailed off. It depends on his mood. But at 50/1 you can take that chance. 

Royale Knight will stay I think, if he can jump around. He does make the odd error hence win only. As likely to go very close and to not go very close at all! Same can apply to Knight In Milan. Both of these may not be good enough and I have more serious jumping concerns over KIM as well as stamina. But he ticks all the boxes of mine and had to have something on him. 

I would hope I have at least touched on the winner with the selections and the ‘shortlist’ but it is the National after all. If something else does win I will know why i didnt back it….

Runner by runner… a stats analysis

Why your horse cant win!… 

Lord Windermere

  • Too much weight. No horse has won this carrying more than 11-6 since 1997. 0/57, 6 places
  • Ran in G1 or G2 LTO: 0/144, 14 places

Many Clouds

  • Same reasons as above. Too much weight, hard race in G1 LTO.


  • Too young. 7 year olds: 0/36, 0 places. 8 yo 1/104, 12 places
  • Ran 63 days ago. 61 days+ are 0/127, 10 places

Rocky Creek

  • Only 14 career starts under rules (15 with Point to Point). 0-18 career starts are 3/289. Since 2002 they are 0/138, 8 places.
  • Other than that stat he has a flawless profile. Although he emptied quite quickly last year he kept plugging on. Is he a much better/stronger horse this year?, yes I think so. He was 8 last year which was a tough ask. Decent chance.

First Lieutenant

  • Yet to ‘place’ this season. 1/189, 14 places, had not placed that season
  • Never won a handicap. 1/175, 11 places, had never won a handicap.
  • Having run over 25F is a must. All 18 had done so. 2/134, 11 places had ran over 25/26.5F in their career. However 16/18 had ran over at least 27f. He has never ran over that far.

Balthazar King

  • Ran 148 days ago. Those retuning after 61 days are 0/127, 10 places
  • That is his only flaw in an otherwise perfect Grand National ‘profile’. As a horse, he has a great record after a break and fitness won’t be a problem. He ran a cracker in this race last season and there is no reason to think he won’t do so again. Whether he is a bit fresh after the break (hard to settle) I don’t know, or whether the lack of race fitness catches him out near the end who knows. They tried same tactic in 2013 but he pulled his chance away after such a break. If he settles he should be in the top 5 and he is probably the best jumper in the field and bar being brought down will complete.


  • An 8 yo – 8 or younger 1/150, 12 places. All those places have been with 8yo’s. 1/104, 12 places.
  • Only 1 run this season. 0/164, 14 places. Ran fewer than 3 times this season
  • Ran 152 days ago. 0/127, 10 places ran 61+ days ago.
  • Plenty of doubts, even if I thought he had a great chance all the value has surely gone in his price. Like all racing fans I hope he wins it for AP, but he won’t be carrying any of my money.

Pineau De Re

  • 12 yo. 1/75, 3 places
  • Has yet to place this season. 1/189, 14 places.
  • Tough ask to repeat his victory last year. That race looks to have left his mark. If that was his highlight, it isn’t a bad one. He would deserve a happy retirement after this race. Having won this race you could clearly make a case for him again, but it is a tough ask as a 12yo to win this race. His lack of form this year would be a concern.


  • 8 yo – you know the stats!
  • Only 13 rules races, 16 with PtP. 3/289, 0/138, 8 places, fewer than 18 career starts. 15/15 had at least 19 National Hunt Starts.
  • Never won a handicap. 1/175 had not.
  • Only placed 4 times in chases. 2/258 had placed fewer than 6 times in chases. 0/82, 2 places, since 2010
  • Not for me! (famous last words)

Spring Heeled

  • 8 year old.
  • Only 2 runs this season. 0/164 had fewer than 3 runs

Rebel Rebellion

  • Yet to win over 24f under rules. Has won a Point to Point over 24f, but the HRB stats do not cover those races. 0/180, 9 places, hadn’t won over 24f under rules.
  • Hasn’t ran over 25f in his career. 0/89, 5 places. Hasn’t ran over 27f, 16/18 had.
  • All the stats and his profile suggests that he doesn’t have the stamina for this test.


  • 8 year old. 1/104, 12 places.
  • Yet to run over 27f. Not essential but 16/18 had done so. 2/134, 11 places had ran over 25/26.5 f. (also having won over 24f)

Mon Parrain

  • WINNER??
  • Well – he is the first of those that gets near to being a ‘bombproof’ profile horses.
  • He has yet to run over 27F in his career so that counts against him. But I wouldn’t want to discount a horse just on that stat, given he has won over 26.5f.
  • He was second in a Topham in 2011, but a distant 11th in the Becher Chase this year. He is also French Bred – but having done appallingly French Breds have won a couple of recent renewals. He is a moody bugger, and may well not stay. But he is 50/1.
  • One for the shortlist from a stats/trends profile perspective. He usually runs prominently, which is where you want to be. An interesting contender.

Carlito Brigante NON RUNNER

  • Much like the horse above , this one has yet to run over 27f.
  • The other major niggle – stamina. He made his debut on the flat (0/18 1 place) aged 2. Now in the stats guide I said those that made their debut aged 2 or 3 are 0/43, 1 place. That is true for UK/Irish form. It has just dawned on me that is doenst cover French form. And indeed Neptune Collognes made his debut in France in National Hunt aged 3. So, I will ignore this stat I think.
  • He is also Flat Bred. And you couldn’t really say he was well handicapped.
  • I suspect that he wont stay but at what is likely to be 100/1+ on the day, and even bigger on Betfair, I will probably have to have £5 on, ‘just in case’!


Night In Milan

  • Another for the profile shortlist, and this time he ticks EVERY stats/trends box that I have used.
  • The doubts? – well like most horses in this race, you are guessing a bit with stamina. He will also wear blinkers I suspect. 16/18 didn’t wear any headgear, but blinkered runners are 2/79, 5 places. It’s not like he isnt used to wearing them in quite big fields. He is also a prominent racer usually, which is a bonus. He may give us a good run for our money for a circuit and a half – then anything could happen! It will be his first taste of the fences as well, which isnt a negative according to the stats, but you never know how horses will react to them.

Rubi Light

  • Yet to win over 24f. 0/180. Yet to run over 25f, or 27f.
  • Surely he isnt going to stay??!!

The Druids Nephew

  • 8 year old. 1/104, 12 places. 18 rules races, 20 career runs with PtoPs.
  • An 8 year old is obviously going to win this race again at some point in the future. Maybe this year is the year, given how many are running. That is his only flaw, along with not having had 19 runs in National Hunt races. This is many people’s fancy and if he can get over his age, he ticks near enough every other box. I suspect an older stronger horse will outstay him.

Cause of Causes

  • 7 yo – 0/36, 0 places. Again, maybe a 7 year old will go in one day but the fact none have placed since 1997 shows what a tough task it is for a horse of this age.
  • That is the only ‘stat’ that he falls down on from what I can see. If you are happy to forgive his age there is nothing I could say to put you off from a profile perspective.


  • Winner? Maybe not
  • I have to thank this horse for making me dive back into the stats. I had erroneously not looked at the ‘Placed That Season’ stats – which show that horses yet to place in the season of the race are only 1/189, 14 places.
  • Bar that stat he ticks every other box and was on my original shortlist. Connections would have wanted him to show more this season and you would have to worry about his form going into this. Maybe two superb runs in Scottish Grand Nationals and a slog at Sandown have taken it out of this young horse. (first S National win was aged 7). If, and it is a big if, he bounces back to any kind of form, he would run a cracker. But, plenty of doubts at the moment. He will relish the ground and you could make valid excuses for each of his runs this season. Not for me, I don’t think.

Al Co

  • I think he has only won or placed in 5 chases. Under 6 are 2/258, 0/82, 2 places since 2010.
  • He was pulled up in the Becher Chase and didn’t really seem to enjoy the experience. But, from a stats/profile perspective he only falls down on that stat above. He is a hold up horse which I don’t like around here, and I don’t think Denis O’Regan will be gunning him to the front! We shall see how he goes. There isnt too much I could say to put you off if you are happy to overlook the ‘placed in chases’ stat. (Places is according to bookmaker terms, so if it is a 7 runner race they need to have finished in the top 2 etc)

Monbeg Dude

  • Winner?
  • Well he does tick every box, there isn’t a negative in his profile from what I can see. As such he has to be considered.
  • The only question you have to ask yourself is why should he finish closer than he did in last year’s race – 22L 7th. Baring accidents why should he finish ahead of Rocky Creek and BK?

Corrin Wood

  • 8 year old. Ran 84 days ago. Only 14 rules races. Ye to win or place in at least 6 chases.
  • No, not for me!

The Rainbow Hunter

  • Only 1 run this season, and that was a PU. 0/164, 14 places, ran fewer than 3 times in the season of the race. Also hasn’t placed this season, 1/189.
  • Other than that he ticks every other box I think. He did unseat rider in this last year – and the year before. Two unseats in two Grand Nationals. Not for me.

Saint Are

  • Tentative as ran 61 days ago, which is only 1 day over the boundary. The rest of his profile, from a stats perspective, looks fine.

Across The Bay

  • Yet to place this season (1/189, 14 places, had not)

Tranquil Sea

  • 13 yo (12+ 1/75, 3 places)
  • Only 1 run this season (0/164 fewer than 3)

Oscar Time

  • 14 yo.
  • That is his only downfall from the stats that I can see. He has finished 2nd and 3rd in this race and while the suspicion is he doesn’t quite stay you could get a decent run for your money at 50s.

Bob Ford

  • 8 yo; yet to have 19 career NH starts (18),

Super Duty

  • Only 2 runs this season, yet to place this season.

Wyck Hill

  • Only 2 runs this season (0/164 fewer than 3)

Gas Line Boy

  • Only won or placed in 5 chases. Yet to win a chase at C2 or higher.

Chance Du Roy

  • 6th in race last year, only had 2 runs this season, yet to place. Ran 62 days ago.

Portrait King

  • Winner??
  • Can’t be faulted from a stats/profile perspective. This former Eider Chase winner may want it a tad softer, and may well not be up to the level required. But he should stay, and at 80/1 I will have to have something on him EW.


Owega Star

  • 8 year old, yet to win over 24F. Next.

River Choice

  • 12 yo, yet to win over 24f

Court By Surprise

  • Off track 154 days, only 2 runs this season,


  • Only 1 run this season, yet to place this season.


  • Only 1 or placed in 5 chases. Only 16 NH starts
  • Other than that a decent profile fit. And if he goes or at 16/1 or shorter he fits the Pipe Micro system of which his record in the national is 1/5, 2 places. 44L 7th in this in 2013, but wasn’t trained by Pipe then.

Ely Brown

  • Ran 70 days ago, only 1 run this season, didn’t place. Yet to win or place in 6 chases. Nope.

Royale Knight

  • Winner?
  • Looks like the perfect profile fit to me from the stats I have used. All 13 British winners ran in a C1 or C2 LTO, however the record of C4 LTO is only 0/17 or so, with C3 being 0/50+. He may not have the class for this but if jumping round I am confident he will stay based on all evidence to date.

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7 Responses

  1. Thanks josh brilliant write up as always. i agree with you rocky creek mon parrain iv also done a small each way on al co scottish national winner and sol has a decent profile. bet365 are doing place a e/w bet and they refund half your stake cash but must be done before 12 for existing customers. good luck everybody

    1. Cheers Rob, yes totally agree, I couldnt put you off either of those. Every horse is allowed to fall down on one or two stats, especially when they are more ‘minor ones’ and horses have won from those that they fall down on. Good Luck. Yes good shout about Bet365.

  2. A word of warning, hirses that ran well at Cheltebgam often under perform here. It happens year after year.

  3. Fantastic write up Josh!!! I am just having a pint of Doom Bar in front of the Band – I have a Big Word for Action Master in the 3:25 66/1 each way – Massive chances for a nice Each Way touch – You heard it here first !!! Half a score each way – You know the drill

  4. The grand national has changed so much in the last few years that stats that go back 10+ years are irrelevant.
    The great trainer Luca Cumani once said regarding Weight was this.The only people who should be concerned about weight are those on diets.Many Clouds won the form race of the national hunt season(the Hennessey) and laughed at the weight it had to carry.Class horses who can truly stay(not many stay beyond 3m) will always laugh at a few pounds in the saddle now that modified fences have taken out the lottery of the race.11 st 9lb too much weight.You are having a laugh.

    1. Totally agree with the weight and how race has changed, clearly the class horse in race but I didnt think, as an 8 year old, he would do it that easily. Weight, age and hard race in a G1 was enough to put me off…but can see why you back him from a form perspective. That is racing. Clearly weight was no issue to him given how he ran and should not be a deciding factor in the future. Still, given he is first since 1974 to carry that weight it is still some achievement. A great performance.

  5. Paul Cokerill..have you actually looked at that in any detail ..think you will find that you heard that crap from the media ..horses that ran at Cheltenham previously do well ..Royale Knight was my bet in the National ..Peter Bowen has an exceptional record from Mayl through to August ..take note.

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