February 6, 2008 at 17:29 #6546
Does Weight Matter in the Grand National?
We get so much twaddle written about why you should not back top weights or those carrying 11st or more. Surely they should look in to the reasons why those horses do not win before making such sweeping statements.
In the past some 40 runner races only had one or two 11st plus horses and 38 below 11st. So bit of a miss match there.
Then there were the automatic top weights from Czechoslavakia with SP’s of 200/1 or more, no surprise they did not win.
If we take recent renewals, Royal Auclair finished 2nd under a big weight, Montys Pass was placed after he won it and Hedgehunter 2nd after winning when carrying 11st, Whats Up Boys was 2nd.
Between 2 and 3% of those carrying 11st or more have won the race and between 2 and 3% of those carrying less than 11st have won, since Corbiere. (Sorry, lost my workings out I did a year or two ago).
These days, very few top quality horses run when at the top of their game. Usually they are on the downgrade or old and exposed (unlikely to improve) by the time connections allow them to run. Where are Miko De Beachene and Halcon Genelardais? I suppose they will get their chance when thoroughly exposed or on the downgrade too.
So to recap:
a) There have been far more horses running with less than 11st than above.
b) Some top weights have been automatic top weights with little chance of winning.
c) Trainers are reluctant to run the top quality horses until later on in their carreers when they are exposed or on the downgrade (easier for the handicapper to know how good they are).
Horses who carry 11st or more who are not on the downgrade and will be suited to the race conditions, should still be considered to have winning potential.
So we should be looking for a horse who stays well but with a bit of speed, goes on good and good-soft, of good temperament, jumps well, with experience of the National fences, likely to run, with at least fair recent form, is reasonably or well handicapped and improving.
<b>It does not matter at all if that horse carries 11st 12lbs or 10st.</b>
Let us look at this years 11st 12lbs to 11st range concentrating on the negatives:
Beef Or Salmon: downgrade, jumps poorly, wants bottomless ground.
Celestial Gold: been injured, probably on downgrade.
Turpin Green: very poor temperament.
Hedgehunter: has had an injury and yet to show he is back to his best.
Hi Cloy: won’t stay.
Knowhere: doubtful stayer and jumper but improving.
Mr Pointment: ticks most boxes, has limited experience but that does include a win in the Beecher and runs well in big fields. Stays 3m2f well but untried over further. SHORT LIST.
Ollie Magern: probably will stay, exposed.
Forget The Past: Doubtful stayer and on the downgrade.
Monkerhostin: exposed, doubtful stayer and jumper, hated the course last year.
Turko: recent breathing op seems to have rejuvinated him, doubtful stayer and temperament.
Foreman: won’t stay, on downgrade.
Madison Du Berlais: genuine and consistent, already stays longer than anticipated (3m2f) doubtful whether will stay further. Probably exposed now.
Rule Supreme: downgrade, jumps very poorly.
Billyvoddan: yet to prove he is back to his best, doubtful stayer, temperament.
Joe Lively: novice but jumps well, is getting plenty of experience but not in big fields. Improving and should stay. Main target Sun Alliance, LONG LIST if getting there.
Knight Legend: jumps very poorly, very doubtful stayer.
Simon: jumps better than form figures suggest but is a bit small. Possibly still on the upgrade and has the right stamina / speed balance. Running well last year before falling when in with a good chance. SHORT LIST.
Opera Mundi:on the upgrade before last time, stays 3m well, 4m4f is a doubt and so is the going if there is not much give underfoot. Best to wait to see the going.
Ungaro: back to form, goes well on good going, jumps o.k. Yet to prove he stays further than 3 miles and not certain starter. LONG LIST if getting there.
Iron Man: doubtful temperament and jumper.
Thisthatandtother: now 12 year old and thoroughly exposed. Proved last year he jumps well but also that he does not stay.
Dream Alliance: ran too bad to be true in Welsh National (jumped and travelled poorly after being hampered early). Improved effort 2nd in Hennessey. Needs to jump better and return to form. Watch him at Exeter Sunday.
Fundamentalist: not jump well enough to win a National, also doubtful stayer.
Butlers Cabin: finished distressed when winning at Chelters and Ire National on good. Has not always impressed with jumping or temperament. Ran poorly last time.
Slim Pickings: Ran a great race in last years race, but despite that can make the odd blunder, less exposed than most with Aintree experience. LONG LIST.
Of the 11st plus brigade only Mr Pointment and Simon reach my short list.
Joe Lively, Ungaro and Slim Pickings are in the long list, first two unlikely to run.
I took 33/1 Simon and 25/1 Bewleys Berry before they reappeared this season and have just taken 17/1 Mr Pointment.value is everythingFebruary 6, 2008 at 20:33 #140771FriggoMember
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What must be remembered Ginge is that weight matters more over extreme distances than it does elsewhere. If you were to read Timeform’s guide to handicapping horses, they will tell you that 4lbs equals a length in a 5f sprint, whereas over long distances "pounds per length is significantly less than 1.0".
The reason that highly-weighted horses do not fare so well in the National, IMO, is that the ratings they are given correspond to their differences over closer to 3m, and thus the longer you go beyond that the more advantageous it is to those recieving weight. Where there may be 10lbs difference between a 140 and a 150 horse over 3m, there possibly should be only 6lbs or less between them over the unique 4m4 of the Aintree showpiece to equalise their relative abilities. As a result, the 140 horse will be at an advantage, and history would tend to agree with that. Increased weights over this trip will also inevitably place more emphasis on stamina than in any other chase, and so you’re now looking for a real dour stayer with class beyond his OR to win the National off a big weight. This is correspondingly rare.
Of course, this approach needs tweaked slightly now due to the bottom weight habitually coming in at over 10st. I still think horses carrying over a stone more than the lightest-burdened will struggle, but it may take a number of years for a reliable trend to really show up.February 6, 2008 at 23:41 #140815
I agree with most of what you say about the longer the trip, the longer each lb is worth Friggo. But most of this has already been adhered to in the framing of the weights by the handicapper.
For those to say horses carrying less than 11 st have a much better chance than those carrying more, is clearly misleading. When there have been a lot more runners carrying less than 11st. Would you say 38 against two is a fair race?
Taken as a percentage, the difference is negligable. And there are other unrelated reasons for it to happen too.value is everythingFebruary 6, 2008 at 23:49 #140817
I wouldn’t back top weight in the national with your money Ginger let alone mine.February 6, 2008 at 23:52 #140819carvillshillParticipant
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I’d be inclined to put a line through anything carrying more than 11-4. Couldn’t have Mr Pointment on my mind- too much weight and insufficient experience.February 7, 2008 at 00:16 #140828
I wouldn’t back top weight in the national with your money Ginger let alone mine.
By top weights Zoso I mean 11st plus, not just the top weight.
I too would not back Beef Or Salmon with your money. In fact if I had my way he would not be allowed to run, for his and others safety, not a good enough jumper.value is everythingFebruary 7, 2008 at 00:35 #140830
The best way to approach the national is just rule out the majority of the field by trends. Normally only leaves you with 4 or 5 horses. Pick the 2 you like out of those 5 and then pick one with a nice name.
Have a few quid on, dont go crazy and enjoy the madness and hope you get lucky.
Works for me anyway. I would never have a serious punt on this race. Would much prefer a 5 runner race at Southwell.February 7, 2008 at 00:42 #140832
I’d be inclined to put a line through anything carrying more than 11-4. Couldn’t have Mr Pointment on my mind- too much weight and insufficient experience.
I see you agree with me Carvills that Bewleys Berry is a good bet.
Yet you are writing off the chances of Mr Pointment.
Bewleys Berry is 3lbs better off for a length in the Beecher. Now, I can conceed a lb is worth more over 4m4f than 3m2f, and Bewleys Berry should on form reverse the placings. But, Mr Pointment improved quite a bit there and is far less exposed than Bewleys Berry (far more likely to improve again). Has the stature to carry big weights. O.K. he is not a certain stayer but neither is Bewleys Berry. The Nicholls horse has a good record in big fields and jumps well, things that although not entirely disolve his inexperience, go some way to rectify it.
Don’t get me wrong, I do think Bewleys Berry has the better chance but "put a line through Mr Pointment", surely not.
Gingevalue is everythingFebruary 7, 2008 at 04:38 #140843jodami16Member
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If the top weight argument is to be believed then you could instantly forget backing all runners above about 11-4 but you must remember the great place reckord of horses with high weights in recent years. Royal Auclair was mentioned, What’s Up Boys very nearly won with about 11-6 (with about 100 yards to the rest). Suny Bay (in that quagmire) carried 11-12 to second and that was before the weights were compressed! Earth Summiy may have struggled if he’d been carrying the weight Smith would give him today. Hedgehunter of course The list goes on.
There’s no reason to be completely put off. And to the point of Beef or Salmon’s jumping – Red Marauder was the worst jumper in training and he won.February 7, 2008 at 07:49 #140850Fist of Fury 2k8Member
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Red Maurader was a class act who was thrown in as he had lost his form. Happy to say I dug hum out and he stayed on his feet.
The National is often won by a horse who has ran a big race lost form and come back on National day.
The one I like and have already taken 50/1 about is Sir Rembrant 3rd in the gold cup and one of the National favourites when he went lame in 2006.
Still retains some of his ability winning at Cheltenham for his new trainer and ran well for along way in the Hennessy against Denman.
I couldn’t fancy Bewlys without fancying Mr Pointment. doesn’t seem logical to me.
I don’t particalary like Bewlys style of jumping and he lost more than a few lengths in the bechers when he was wrong more than once. He made up a lot of ground on the long run in but Mr P had done it the hard way plus the minute Bewly got there he stuck his head out and was never going to get beat.
To say he is inexperienced is cool. I can live with that. but what is more important is he was awesome at Aintree and jumped from fence to fence and never looked in danger of falling.
Knowing a horse takes to Aintree is better than 15 chases round park courses in my book and you can be sure PN will improve him further by the time Aintree comes round.
I think he’s nailed on for a place and took the 14/1 about him this morning.
He could be the one horse who could make a mockery of the stats which I tend to ignore and base a horse on a horse and not what Red Rum did years ago. Looks a bit special Aintree wise to me.
John Quinn may be coming round to the idea of not waiting to next year with Charachter Building. He wont be getting any 10s5lbs next year if he wins the Irish National. He’s thrown in and gets 9lbs for 3/4 length with Butlers Cabin.
I backed Jonjos for fun at 20/1 a while back but the horse is a law unto himself. He will either love the place and run a blinder or pull himself up after 2 fences. I think Mr Spock would have trouble working him out….. too risky to bet too risky to leave out.February 7, 2008 at 08:11 #140852yeatsParticipant
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Of course you are talking sense Gingertipster although it would appear pissing against the wind with some on here It seems the Grand National brings all the nutters out with their superficial stats.
I mean, you don’t half read some crap, no horse a stone above the bottom weight, nothing younger than 9, nothing older than 11, no horse has won with a weight as high since Red Rum.
As well as the reasons you mention, absolutely no account is taken of the way top weights are now favourably treated and the weights compressed when they weren’t previously. Unbelievably some folk only take into account the winning horse with their stats, coveniently forgetting fine weight carrying performances recently by placed horses such as Whats Up Boys, Royal Auclair, Hedgehunter and Suny Bay.
Stats like that are for mugsFebruary 7, 2008 at 08:52 #140856
Stats like that are for mugs
Some may say the Grand National is for mugs.
But its a traditional race and a big event in the racing calendar and its great to have the winner of the national.
I would simply follow stats put a line through most of the horses and come out with a few that I think fit the last decades trends correctly. It would be my opinion that anyone who wasted too much time studying a 40 horse race that is guaranteed to be full of unpredictable events who is in fact the mug. A 40 horse race could waste 6 hours + of your life to study correctly and your selection may well fall at the first.
I would rather spend my time studying the 8 runner novice hurdle at Sedgefield than seriously working on the national but that is me and we are all different.
Stats, nice name, pin, office sweepstake are all likely to be just as effective as form study in the national. I will remain a mug when it comes to the national and am happy to be one.February 7, 2008 at 09:14 #140860davidbradyMember
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yeats – whilst I agree with you that the weights are framed differently and also that the race itself has become more of a standard long distance Handicap Chase as opposed to the real test if was in the past, the horses you mention as having run a big race under a big weight had all proved their class prior to their National run:
Hedgehunter: won the previous years National, ran 2nd in both the Irish Hennessy & Cheltenham Gold Cup that season
Whats Up Boys: won the Hennessy and 4th in Welsh Grand National the same season
Royal Auclair: 3rd in the Hennessy & 4th in the Gold Cup that season
Suny Bay: won the Edward Hanmer (when it was worth something) and the Hennessy earlier that season
Now I know that horses are prepared differently for the race than in previous seasons – I don’t think we’ll see a Hennessy winner win the National ever again – but horses like Mr Pointment & Bewleys Berry don’t have the top class form in the book which would make me think they have the ability to lump more than 11st around Aintree for 4.5 miles.February 7, 2008 at 09:43 #140868Fist of Fury 2k8Member
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Stats are taken from the over running of the race which was at one time considere a total Lottery. No time for them and here is why.
Lets start of with this stat eliminate everything over 20/1
Most winner are 20/1 or less last year 33/1 winner I know little about Red Maurauder 33/1 then you have to way back to Little Polvier 28/1
If that stat is to be believed we are down to an 8 horse race already
we have 3 horses carrying 11st or over
we are down to 5
Only 1 horse has been placed in years and went on to win
we are down to 4
Only 3 fav have won in 21 years so it’s goodbye to him
we are down to 3
We now have the first three in the national aren’t stats wonderful
But wait best age records 9 and 11 which leaves zero as they are all 8 year olds.
Stats? you can do anything with them and are strictly for the birds as the man says.February 7, 2008 at 20:21 #141047
I think Fist some stats can help find the winner / the horse value to win, but not to totally dismiss a horse due to one stat.
But some stats are totally misleading, like this one.
Gingevalue is everything
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