Article written

  • on 12.04.2012
  • at 01:06 PM
  • by KT

2012 Grand National Tips & Trends

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Paddy Power are offering a £20 Free Bet on the Grand National

Victor Chandler are paying 6 places on each-way bets

The following bookmakers are paying 5 places on each-way bets:
Bet365, SkyBet, Boylesports, Sportingbet and
Paddy Power.


There is no doubt that the john Smith’s Grand National creates a betting buzz like so other sporting event in the world. The race is steeped in history and is the ultimate test of skill, experience and endurance, for both horses and jockeys alike.

The 30 fences that the horses must jump at Aintree are like no others, and simply getting around the 4m4f unscathed is an achievement in itself, let alone winning the prestigious race! Lottery was the first winner of the Grand National, but since then there have been countless other memories; none more so that the great Red Rum, who won the chase on three occasions (in 1973, 74 and 77) and remains the only horse to do so.

In 1981 jockey Bob Champion completed an amazing story onboard Aldaniti, having battled back from life-threatening cancer only two years earlier. But regularly picking the Grand National winner takes much more than choosing a horse based on it’s name or the colours of the jockey’s silks.

Over the years some remarkable stats have emerged, and we can use these trends to narrow down the 40-runner field into a shortlist. For example, in the last 19 years, 17 of those winners had previously won a race over fences against 12 or more rivals. So why would stats like that be ignored? Here we take a detailed look through some of the other key trends in the hope of narrowing down a shortlist and tipping up the winner of the 2012 John Smith’s Grand National.




We haven’t had a 7 year-old winner for 72 years (Bogskar) and only 6 of the 38 runners aged 7 completed the course. 8-year-olds have struggled to in recent years, with only 1 winner (Bindaree in 2002) in the last 17 races.

Only only two teenagers have ever won the Grand National (last one in 1923) and they have never even placed since the 60s. So we are looking for horses aged 9-12.

This is a negative for:
- Alfa Beat
- Black Apalachi
- Tatenen
- Shakalakaboomboom
- On His Own
- Organisedconfusion
- Quiscover Fontaine
- Tharawaat
- Viking Blond
- Hello Bud


In the last 52 runnings, only the great Red Rum has managed to win carrying more than 11st 5lbs.

In recent years however the horses at the top of the handicap have been grouped together much more closely. Don’t Push It won off 11st 5lbs by 5 lengths a couple of years ago, and recent runners-up have carried 11st 6lbs so we might well see that trend broken very soon.

However for now we will keep the 11st 5lbs limit trend going until it gets broken!

This is a negative for:
- Synchronised
- Ballabriggs
- Weird Al
- Neptune Collonges
- Calgary Bay

Days since last run

The last 28 winners of the Grand National had all run within the previous 50 days of the race, highlighting that horses coming off a long lay-off struggle.

Of those left this is a negative for:
- Chicago Grey
- West End Rocker
- Always Right
- Cappa Bleu
- Treacle
- Arbor Supreme
- Le Beau Bai
- Giles Cross
- Vic Venturi


Since Gay Trip won the Grand National in 1970, every single winner had already won a chase over 3m or further. The Grand National is the longest race on the calendar and proven stamina is one of the most important qualities required from any potential winner.

Of those left this is a negative for:
- Seabass
- Becauseicouldntsee
- In Compliance


In the last decade, every winner had won just one (or less) chases that season. So in terms of the trends we will be excluding any horse that has won two or more chases this season, as the chances are they will have been penalised too much and will be too far up the handicap in a highly competitive race such as this.

It is also a myth that horses than run well at Cheltenham go on to run well in the Grand National. In fact since 1961, only one horse has won at the Cheltenham Festival and then gone on to win the Grand National in the same season.

Of those left this is a negative for:
- According To Pete
- Le Beau Bai
– Giles Cross
- Sunnyhillboy

At this point we have ruled out all of the negative trends applying to this year’s runners. This narrows the field down to just 11 runners: Planet Of Sound, Deep Purple, Junior, Rare Bob, The Midnight Club, Mon Mome, Killyglen, State Of Play, Always Waining, Swing Bill & Midnight Haze.

Now we will take a look at the positive trends to see if any of those remaining have trends going in their favour.


8 of the last 10 winners had contested races over the Grand National fences before (either in the race itself or otherwise), suggesting that there is definitely an ‘Aintree Factor’.

This is a positive for:
- Rare Bob
- The Midnight Club
- Mon Mome
- Killyglen
- Always Waining
- Swing Bill


In recent years with the weights being more closely bunched, 14 of 16 places in the past 4 yearshave been filled by horses carrying 10-11 or more.

This is a positive for:
- Planet Of Sound
- Deep Purple
- Junior

Official Rating

Since the weightings were bunched together more, those higher rated horses have much more of a chance and in the last 3 years, 11 of the 12 placing have come from horses carrying 144 or higher.

This is a positive for:
- Planet Of Sound
- Deep Purple
- Junior
- Rare Bob
- The Midnight Club
- Mon Mome

Irish-bred horses

Irish bred horses have the best record having won 9 of the last 11 races and filled in 28 of 40 places.

This is a positive for:
- Rare Bob
- The Midnight Club



That leaves us with a shortlist of 6 potential winners to choose from:

Rare Bob 40/1 (Paddy Power)
The Midnight Club 33/1 (Bet365)

Junior – 14/1 (Paddy Power)
Planet Of Sound – 33/1 (Paddy Power)
Deep Purple – 66/1 (Paddy Power)
Mon Mome – 50/1 (Bet365)


Silks Horse Form Age Official rating Weight Trainer Jockey
1 Synchronised Synchronised -P7311 9 167 11-10 J O’Neill A McCoy
2 Ballabriggs Ballabriggs 1121-4 11 160 11-9 D McCain J Maguire
3 Weird Al 8P-13P 9 159 11-8 D McCain T Murphy
4 Neptune Collonges Neptune Collonges 6-P422 11 157 11-6 P Nicholls D Jacob
5 Calgary Bay Calgary Bay F-8511 9 159 11-6 H Knight D Elsworth
6 Alfa Beat Alfa Beat 6741UP 8 156 11-5 J J Hanlon -
7 Planet Of Sound Planet Of Sound 35-23 10 156 11-5 P Hobbs R Johnson
8 Black Apalachi Black Apalachi U-022-2 13 156 11-3 D Hughes D O’Regan
9 Deep Purple Deep Purple U34-1F 11 154 11-3 E Williams J Moore
10 Junior Junior 321-82 9 153 11-2 D Pipe T Scudamore
11 Chicago Grey Chicago Grey -U3732 9 150 10-13 G Elliott -
12 Tatenen Tatenen 70-715 8 150 10-13 R Rowe A Thornton
13 Seabass Seabass 11111 9 149 10-12 T Walsh K Walsh
14 Shakalakaboomboom Shakalakaboomboom 7-1122 8 149 10-12 N Henderson B Geraghty
15 West End Rocker West End Rocker 1PB/P1 10 149 10-12 A King W Hutchinson
16 According To Pete According To Pete 37112 11 149 10-12 M Jefferson Harry Haynes
17 On His Own On His Own 4P1-B1 8 148 10-11 W Mullins R Walsh
18 Always Right Always Right 13-1PP 10 147 10-10 J Wade J Reveley
19 Cappa Bleu Cappa Bleu 2P/133 10 147 10-10 E Williams P Moloney
20 Rare Bob Rare Bob 345053 10 146 10-9 D Hughes B Cooper
21 Organisedconfusion Organisedconfusion 133F5 7 145 10-8 A Moore N Carberry
22 Treacle Treacle 51423 11 145 10-8 T Taaffe A Lynch
23 The Midnight Club The Midnight Club 6/B439 11 145 10-8 W Mullins -
24 Mon Mome Mon Mome F/52PP0 12 145 10-8 V Williams A Coleman
25 Arbor Supreme Arbor Supreme P2F/60 10 144 10-7 J O’Neill -
26 Sunnyhillboy Sunnyhillboy 37P91 9 142 10-5 J O’Neill R McLernon
27 Killyglen Killyglen 30341 10 141 10-4 S Crawford R Power
28 Quiscover Fontaine Quiscover Fontaine F-4910 8 141 10-4 W Mullins D Casey
29 Tharawaat Tharawaat P13077 7 141 10-4 G Elliott
30 Becauseicouldntsee Becauseicouldntsee 63F22 9 142 10-3 N Glynn
31 State Of Play State Of Play 44/P3/4- 12 140 10-6 E Williams N Fehily
32 Swing Bill Swing Bill 313P20 11 140 10-3 D Pipe C O’Farrell
33 Postmaster Postmaster 26611 10 139 10-2 T Vaughan -
34 Giles Cross Giles Cross 22-121 10 138 10-1 V Dartnall P Brennan
35 Midnight Haze Midnight Haze 17P-16 10 138 10-1 K Bailey S Quinlan
36 Vic Venturi Vic Venturi B/2110 12 137 10-0 D Hughes -
37 In Compliance In Compliance 1U0/P3 12 140 10-0 D Hughes L Aspell
38 Viking Blond Viking Blond -143P5 7 140 10-0 N Twiston-Davies
39 Hello Bud Hello Bud -5U654 14 137 10-0 N Twiston-Davies -
40 Neptune Equester Neptune Equester 315045 9 136 9-9 B Ellison -




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Synchronised Won 2012 Gold Cup. Would be first horse to win both races since 1934. Top weight and winning owner, trainer, jockey combination who won the race in 2010. Will stay and stay. One to beat.

Ballabriggs Last year’s winner. Would be first horse to win consecutive Nationals since Red Rum in 1974 and trained by Donald McCain’s father Ginger. Big run expected.

Weird Al Donald McCain’s second string. Pulled up in Gold Cup. Won Charlie Hall Chase earlier in the season but big question marks over the trip.

Neptune Collonges 11 year-old Grade 1 winner. Second place in Haydock National trial last time out off big weight.

Calgary Bay Return to form for this 9yo when won Grade 3 at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day. Also won National trial at Doncaster on last time out. Each-way claims.

Alfa Beat Irish Raider fell here last year in the Topham Chase over National fences. Winner of Kerry National last Autumn but not finished on last two starts. Long shot.

Planet Of Sound Grade 1 winner at Punchestown but that was 2 years ago and has failed to win in 4 attempts since. Second in Hennessy and shaped as though he’ll stay the longer trip in the National. Each-way chance.

Black Apalachi Second in Grand National in 2010. Long injury lay off before finishing second on first race back in Feb. Each-way claims at a big price.

Deep Purple Winner of the Peterborough Chase in 2009 but found it hard to get his nose in front since. Won the London National at Sandown in December. Could be an each-way shot at a big price.

Junior Hacked up in last season’s Kim Muir by 28 lengths at Cheltenham. Jumping is questionable but trainer knows how to win the race and is likely to be one of the front runners. Big chance if gets round.

Chicago Grey Winner of 4m race at the 2011 Cheltenham Festival so should get the trip. Lightly raced since with this race in mind and trainer won here in 2007 with Silver Birch. Big chance.

Tatenen One time beaten favourite for the Arkle won a decent handicap at Ascot in January where he seems to reserve his best form. Big price and a doubtful stayer, would be a surprise if he got close.

Seabass Irish Raider who has won on last seven starts including the Grade 2 Chase at Naas last time out. Lady jockey Katie Walsh to ride for father Ted (who won the race with Papillon in 2000).

Shakalakaboomboom Sole entry for Nicky Henderson who has surprisingly never won this race. 7th here last year in the Topham and has performed well this season. Chance.

West End Rocker Brought down in last year’s race but won the Becher Chase over the National fences here in December on heavy going. Will want some rain but a definite for the shortlists.

According To Pete Useful handicapper who has found some form this season winning the Roland Merrick on Boxing Day and also the Peter Marsh Chase at Haydock. Front runner who might run out of puff.

On His Own Halved in price since the news that stablemate Prince De Beauchene would miss the race. Ruby Walsh rides in a bid for his third win in the race but big question mark over trip.

Always Right Lighty raced 10yo who was 3rd in last season’s Scottish Grand National. Trip shouldn’t be a problem but has pulled up on last two starts on soft ground which would be a worry if the rain comes. Outside chance.

Cappa Bleu Third in the Welsh National at Christmas, is amongst the top band of fancies and could run a big race. Another who could do with plenty of rain in the build up.

Rare Bob One of four horses trained by Dessie Hughes entered in the race. Fifth here in the Becher Chase in December but plenty in the field have had the beating of him in the past. Each-way claims.


Organisedconfusion Winner of last season’s Irish Grand National and the mount of lady jockey Nina Carberry. Not shown a lot of form this season but been ticking over with this race in mind. Chance if fiunds best form.

Treacle The 2009 Munster National winner shouldn’t be too worried by the trip and was last seen finishing third in the Irish Hennessy. Could run a big race at genuine each-way prices.

The Midnight Club Sent off the favourite here twelve months ago when finishing a well beaten 6th. A bit slow over his jumps which would be of a concern and the betting suggests he’ll be out of the frame in 2012. Outside chance.

Mon Mome Winner of this race in 2009 at odds of 100/1 and then fell when returning in 2010. Missed race last year following that fall and hasn’t shown much form since. One of two C&D winners in the field.

Arbor Supreme Third attempt in the race and yet to complete, although in a new yard this season having moved to Jonjo O’Neill. Some very moderate efforts so far this season, easy to avoid.

Sunnyhillboy Winner of the Kim Muir Chase at the Cheltenham Festival last month and third in the Irish National last season. Each-way claims here.

Killyglen A faller here last season at 66/1, but looks set to go off a lot shorter price this year. A winner last time out in Ireland and another with each-way claims who could be subject to an Irish gamble.

Quiscover Fontaine French bred who has been hurdling this campaign. Fourth in the Irish Grand National and one of four horses owned by JP Mcmanus in the race. Big ask in this company.

Tharawaat No real form to speak of although he’ll want some cut in the ground. 38 lengths to find over On His Own from last time they met in January. Easy to avoid when looking for a bet.

Becauseicouldntsee Lively chance going into last year’s race but fell early on. The trip shouldn’t be a concern and had an encouraging run last time out finishing second in the Kim Muir.

State Of Play Placed on his three runs in the Grand National, but now the grand old age of 12. Only runs in this race these days off a career low mark in the National could be a lively outsider.

Always Waining Winner of the Topham Chase run over the National fences at Aintree last season. Not won since although did get round in the Becher Chase in December. Loves Aintree.

Swing Bill An outsider from the David Pipe yard. Fifth in last season’s Topham but pulled up in the Becher Chase on heavy ground. Fair to say he won’t be making many people’s shortlists.

Postmaster Much raced ten year old who will be amazingly running his 98th race under rules. The trip will be a concern for this genuine outsider. One to avoid in the office sweepstake.

Giles Cross A true stayer who won the Grand National trial at Haydock on heavy ground. Second in the Welsh National, if the ground comes up soft he’s sure to have a big say.

Midnight Haze Sixth in the Glenfarclas Cross Country at the Cheltenham Festival last month. Won four of his ten starts over fences but this looks a big ask and another of the big outsiders in the field.

Vic Venturi Another one of the old boys. A winner of the 2009 Becher Chase but yet to complete in two starts in the National and despite two point-to-point wins this year he’s an outsider here.

In Compliance Completed the course last year finishing 13th. Pulled up on debut this season and beaten 38 lengths by Killyglen on his last start. Easy to avoid in the betting and won’t make many shortlists.

Viking Blond Pulled up in the Welsh National and novices’ have a poor record in this race as a rule. Betting suggests he doesn’t stand much of a chance and one to avoid on Saturday.

Hello Bud Loves Aintree and finished fifth here two years ago. Getting on in years now and this season’s form suggests it’ll be a tall order for him to place again in 2012. Outsider.

Neptune Equester Just squeezed in at the weights, fifth in the Grimthorpe last time out but has won over three and a half miles on good to soft. Outsider.

  1. Have actually put a bet on National (1st time ever). Skipped over West End Rocker to choose Deep Purple. You know what will happen…

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