Charlie McCann unearths six Grand National myths ahead of the greatest steeplechase in the world which takes place on Saturday.
You should back Irish trained horses on soft ground in the National?
We haven’t had an Irish winner of the race since Silver Birch (2007) but they dominated the race from 1999 to 2007 winning six of the nine races during this period but on each occasion the ground had the word good in the official description.
In recent years we have had two heavy ground Nationals and both winners were trained In Britain. In 2001 Red Marauder won by a distance for the North when only four completed the course and in 1994 Miinehoma ploughed through the Aintree mud to give owner comedian Freddie Star National success much to the relief of the nation’s hamster population.
In 1998 Nigel Twiston-Davies saddled Earth Summit to beat Suny Bay in a memorable race but run in a time over half a minute slower than that taken by Miinehoma suggesting the ground was more testing than the official description of soft. Again the winner was trained in Britain and not Ireland.
So if the rains arrive at Aintree this weekend, don’t automatically think that will suit Irish horses.
Only outsiders win the National
In the last decade we have had a 100/1 winner (Mon Mome 2009) two 33/1 shots Silver Birch (2007) and Neptune Collonges (2012) and last year’s 66/1 winner Auroras Encore but we have also had three winning favourites Hedgehunter (7/1 2005), Comply Or Die (7/1 2008) and Don’t Push It (10/1 2010) although the last pair went off joint favourites.
Your horse must carry less than 11 stone
True no top-weight since the great Red Rum (12st) in 1974 has carried top-weight to victory but four of the last five winners have carried 11 stone or more and the handicapper has once again given the best horses, including top-weight Tidal Bay, every chance in 2014.
A grey horse never wins the National
Only three greys have ever won the National The Lamb (1868 & 1871) Nicolaus Silver (1961) but only two years ago Neptune Collonges (2012) got up in the shadows of the post to give Paul Nicholls his first success in the event. This year Walkon, Our Father, Rose Of The Moon and Swing Bill are greys likely to face the starter on Saturday.
French bred horses never win the National
No French bred horse won the National for 100 years from 1909 to 2009 and there was a racing myth that they didn’t stay the extreme near four-and-a-half mile distance of the race despite the fact that both Encore Un Peu in 1996 and Mely Moss in 2000 both finished runner up. Mon Mome bucked that trend in 2009 and Neptune Collonges doubled up for French bred horses in 2012.
This year at the five-day entry stage there were no fewer than 16 French bred horses declared including leading fancies Long Run, Triolo D’Alene and Prince De Beauchene.
Teenagers do not win the National
Sergeant Murphy (1923) was the last teenager (13) to win the National which doesn’t bode well for top-weight Tidal Bay or last year’s sixth Swing Bill. The oldest horse to win the race was Peter Simple aged 15 back in 1853