Grand National Account Bet from

£40 Win DARKNESS  20/1 +
£30 Win  L’AMI   22/1 +
£15 Each Way IDLE TALK 66/1

£100 Staked on the Race


24/1 Betfair
22/1 William Hill – Sportingbet
20/1 -Corals -Ladbrokes -Tote


28/1 Betfair
25/1 Paddy Power
22/1 William HillBet365
20/1 Corals -Ladbrokes


100/1 + Betfair
66/1 William Hill -Corals – Ladbrokes -VC- S James – Skybet



GRADE 3 (CLASS 1) (6yo+)  4m4f

7/1 My Will , 8/1 Butler’s Cabin , 10/1 Rambling Minster,
12/1 Black Apalachi , 12/1 Hear The Echo , 12/1 State of Play, 12/1 Big Fella Thanks, 14/1 Comply Or Die , Parsons Legacy 14/1 Darkness, 16/1 L’ami, 16/1 Irish Invader, Southern Vic 16/1 Kilbeggan Blade, 20/1 Snowy Morning , Himalayan Trail, 25/1 Offshore Account , 25/1 Cornish Sett , 25/1 Brooklyn Brownie , 33/1 Cloudy Lane, 33/1 Chelsea Harbour, Knowhere 33/1 Preists Leap , 33/1 Mon Mome , Silver Birch , Reveillez, 33/1 Golden Flight , 33/1 Battlecry, 33/1 Can’t Buy Time, 33/1 Maljimar , 50/1 Stan, 50/1 Eurotrek , Companero, 66/1 Ollie Magern, 66/1 Fleet Street, 66/1 Idle Talk , 66/1 Patsy Hall , 100/1 Fundamentalist , 100/1 Musica Bella , 100/1 Arteea , 100/1 Kelami, 100/1 Zabenz, 100/1 Iron Man , 500/1 Cerium


DARKNESS 20/1  Win Bet

IDLE TALK 66/1 Each Way Bet

L’AMI 20/1  Win Bet



To check live best bookmaker prices click below—john-smith%27s-grand-national


This Grand National Preview is based on the following

* The 15 Grand Nationals since 1994
* The 64 Similar races at this time of year

The 64 similar races are used as a Guide to check statistics from. The Grand National is Unique and should be seen as such. Using the 64 similar races allows us to test theories out and test the strength of the statistics. If a Grand National statistic is confirmed and is also backed up in the 64 similar races then it can be seen as stronger and more relevant.

64 Similar Long Distance Chases

* Since 1993 there has been 68 Handicap Chases
* That’s 64 races between February and June since 1992
* That’s 64 races over distances of 3m 7f or more
* That’s 64 races in Class 2 or Higher Grade
* The 15 Grand National races are in this total
* So to are 16 Scottish and 15 Midlands National
* It includes 13 Eider Chase’s and other marathon races
* These 64 are the closest similar races to the Grand National

There are some strong angles in these races that are also mirrored in the Grand National. Some of the better trends in the National are also backed up with the results of these other 64 races as well and that should allow us more confidence in ruling horses out

E X P O S E D    H O R S E S

Horses with 21 or more National Hunt runs I call Exposed.
I use the 21 race cut off point as the mark at where a horse goes from being unexposed to being exposed. An exposed horse often struggles to do things that a lighter raced and potentially improving horse is able to do. There are some excellent trends with Exposed horses in the Grand National and All other 64 races at this time of year


It takes longer for an exposed horse to achieve a level of
form and fitness that you normally need to win a top class
long distance chase. In 64 similar races 20 winners were
exposed but those with under 5 runs that season were awful. They almost always fail to win. I love this statistic because if you look at exposed horses that had under 5 runs that season in the Grand National they had a 0-136 record and it wasn’t as if several came second. Only 1 of these managed to finish 2nd in the race. That was What’s Up Boys in 2002 a horse that won the Hennessy and placed in the Welsh National before finishing 5th in the Cheltenham Gold Cup that year. I’d strongly oppose these underraced horses

* Exposed horses with 1-2-3-4 runs this season want avoiding

* In the Grand National since 1992 they have a 0-136 record

* In 68 Handicaps they have a 3- 314 record

* Those with under 4 runs that season were just 1-188

* Those with under 5 runs that year struggled in many areas

* Those that were aged under 10 were 0-105

* Those that had Past Group 1 form were 0-135

* Those that were not 1st or 2nd last time were 0-241

These horses are unlikely winners of the Grand National
because they fail one or more of the above statistics.



* We know horses with 21 + runs need 5 runs that season
* Those less exposed get away with slightly less runs
* Horses with 13-20 runs can get away with fewer
* They do however need to have at least 3 runs this season
* In 64 races those that did not won Nothing
* They had a 0-134 record in all 68 races
* The Following Horses are Unlikely winners because of this

REVEILLEZ  and MALJIMAR fail this statistic

Time to take a quick Time out as we have said goodbye to a lot of strongly fancied horses here so lets makes sure that one has not slipped through the net. I don’t think they have.

I don’t mind losing MY WILL at this stage as two runs this
year and 11st 4lbs just look too much for any horse. We’ve
not seen a winner that had 1-2 runs this season when they
had 13 or more runs in any similar race so MY WILL with
32 runs and a tough weight to carry and just doesn’t appeal. CLOUDY LANE also fails my statistic as he fell at the first fence last time meaning he has just had 4 runs this season. That’s not ideal but more importantly for me is that it means that he hasn’t run really in 77 days and I am shortly going to explain that its a big problem. So to is stamina as he did not look like he stayed in last years race when beaten 33 lengths and that was when he was 20lbs well in last year. He lacks size and is now forced to carry 11st 10lbs and I am happy to ignore him as well. COMPLY OR DIE won this last year but he had 11lbs less weight to carry and not once has he looked the same horse this year and he does not appeal to me at all failing several angles and carrying a tough weight.

BLACK APALACHI has also been rejected at an early stage
but I have other problems with him anyway. He’s only won
on soft and heavy ground. He won a Graded Chase in Ireland
last time but horses that win non handicap Graded Chases
have a poor record in all 64 similar races and there were just 5 runners that day. We know horses in this race that came from a race with less than 8 runners are 0-103  in the Grand National. He fell at the second fence in last years race and the key issue for me is that when he did that last year he had 8lbs less weight yet still started at 66/1 and he looks short to me at 14/1 considering he has a weight only Red Rum has carried in decades and his general profile is unsafe. The last 11 winners all ran from ratings at least 6lbs lower than his and I just think there are too many doubts about him as a horse with 11st 5lbs.

BUTLER’S CABIN has been rejected. As an exposed horse
with 4 runs this season he fails an important trend but
other things bother me as well. He’s ran 23 times before
yet has had no form in Grade 1 class. That seems strange
to me and I think it’s a sign that he may lack the class. If you go back to the last 15 Nationals you will see that no exposed horses won without Grade 1 form in the past.
Horses that had 21 or more career runs yet lacked form
in a Grade 1 race were 0-100 and BUTLERS CABIN fails
that. You can also argue that a handicap mark of 147
seems very harsh as he is rated only 134 at the moment.
Last year he fell at Beechers second time round before
stamina became an issue. Not everyone believes he will
stay this trip and whilst its an open issue there is a doubt and the fact he is more exposed this year would worry me greatly especially when he’s had just 1 run since December because of the bad weather. I do respect him but he doesn’t have a winning profile for me.

HEAR THE ECHO has also been rejected as an exposed horse that has had just 4 runs this year. I can understand
why connections were angry that he was given a handicap
mark of 153 and that’s higher than all recent winners and
pushes him to 11st 5lbs. There are several other little issues with him as well that lead me to think its fine to eliminate early on. I don’t see it as an advantage that he comes from 2m 4f last time as no past winner did. Equally a small field Graded Chase has not provided a recent winner either. He hasn’t placed this year. He has already fallen in 3 of his 14 chase runs and a combination of factors trouble me about his chance and he isn’t for me and I don’t see him wining.

KILBEGGAN BLADE is a fancied runner rejected by my earlier statistic. He may be the one from my list of early negatives that could upset the analysis but I do have some
concerns. Like Butlers Cabin He is exposed and lacking
any Grade 1 form and we know horses in the National like
that were 0-100 and that suggests there is a Class doubt.
Its also interesting that he’s only 3 times ran in Graded
Class before. All 3 runs were in Long distance Graded
Chases like this one and he Pulled up all three times.
Could it be these races don’t suit him or is he a small
field horse. Either way he has never looked like winning
a race like this and I wonder whether the lack of Grade 1
form for an exposed horse is a Clue that he may not have
the class. His W W W 2 preparation isn’t really the norm
in the Grand National even though most were hurdle runs.
Go back 12 months and he was an outsider and out of the
handicap in the Scottish National and Pulled up and now
people are expecting him to win an English National a
year later when all he has done is run in once Chase in
a year and three hurdle runs. I don’t think he is the one
and whilst I may be wrong he doesn’t appeal to me.


In the Grand National the record of  English horses that
had an absence of 7 weeks or more is a worrying 0-116
and that implies that you do not want an English horse
coming back from a long absence. The same is true in
all similar long distance chases as well. I would not say
a horse with an absence of over 60 days couldn’t win but
its a significant problem to overcome and a 0-116 record
in this race shows this. These horses fail this.


STATE OF PLAY doesn’t do it for me. He’s now reached the
tipping point where he moves from unexposed to exposed
status. He has to do that with just two runs this season and no horse has done that anywhere close to as exposed as he is and throw in a weight above 11st to add to the problem and a longer absence than any past winner has had and it suddenly looks a difficult task and that’s before even going down the French Bred argument I am avoiding this year

Time to consider what Age is suitable for a Grand National
Bet. I agree with the trends that argue 6 and 7 year olds are too young. They  haven’t won in 70 years and very few even finish the course  so I am ignoring all horses that age. The main horse this affects is BIG FELLA THANKS. He has only had 6 chase starts and fell in one of those and that is very inexperience yet he still has to carry a bigger weight than most past winners and all this for a horse that was running in a Novice Chase for the first time just over 5 months ago. I doubt he has the profile to win. He lost all 4 of his early chase runs and he just looks weak and I couldn’t overlook an Age trend that’s lasted 70 years with this horse.  If you think about it he isn’t actually 7 for another 24 days and that’s not been picked up anywhere. CAN´T BUY TIME is also rejected as a 7 year old and he is another who is not actually 7 years old until April 29th. I don’t think a 6 or 7 year old will win.

Horses aged 13 can be opposed as well but the only horse
who fails that EUROTREK has been accounted for. I think
its worth looking at some of the Eight year olds in this race. Horses aged 8 haven’t the best recent record. They won with Party Politics in 1991 but since then they have a weak 1-79 record. I think this age group are slightly inferior to the horses aged 9 and 10. What strikes me about some of the 8 year olds this year is that some of them are not actually 8 for a while. The past 8 year old winners like Bindaree and Party Politics were all foaled early and had also reached their 8th Birthday by the time the race was run. In this race IRON MAN fails that and is only a very old seven year old and much as he probably won run he wont win if he does.

I would have to take out the Seasonal debutants and the
horses with one race this season. These types simply don’t
win this race or any similar long distant handicap chase
and It would amaze me if one won this race this year so
these horses are rejected.


You need to be against some of the impossible to fancy
rank outsiders who have little hope of winning a race like
this. It is not time effective to write long paragraphs about why 200/1 chances are statistically weak so I will just list some of the huge priced rags that need a miracle to win

FLEET STREET looks too inexperienced and complicated for a race like this and was after all a Novice last season. MUSICA BELLA and STAN make no appeal. There is no sign FUNDAMENTALIST or PATSY HALL can win this. Its almost impossible to see OLLIE MAGERN win. I find it hard to go with MON MOME. Although beaten miles in last years race he did have excuses and has a better profile this year but I don’t think he stays this far. All his long distance chase form in recent years has been disappointing. His run in this race last year suggests he isn’t good enough. His recent form suggests he isn’t at his best and whilst I am ignoring the fact he is a French Bred horses like him that were exposed lacking Grade 1 form do have a 0-100 record in this race suggesting they lack the necessary class and the 2008 renewal suggests he is not the winner. CHELSEA HARBOUR got round in 9th last year but was beaten 56 lengths and that was from a 10lbs lower mark. He has to try and win this carrying a bigger weight than any past winner. He also looks badly handicapped and hasn’t had a preparation similar to any recent winner and he has far too much to do.


SNOWY MORNING was a gallant 3rd in last years race beaten just over 5 lengths. He was well treated last year off 145 but this year he has to race off a mark of 156 and that means a weight of 11st 8lbs a near impossible task. Since 1992 horses with 11st 3lbs or more are 0-77 in this race so 11st 5lbs will take an immense effort and as his
preparation has been unorthodox and mirrored by none of the recent winners he wouldn’t be my choice.


BROOKLYN BROWNIE does appeal to a few people and there are worse bets at 33/1  but he does not look classy enough for me. Every recent winner of this race had ran in Graded Class before and he has not done that. He’s never been out of Listed class over hurdles or fences and that suggests a class gap he may struggle to make up. There has been 100 exposed horses in this race with no Grade 1 form and none of them won and that’s just considering Grade 1 form. This horse has no form in any Graded race. Look at the 60 horses that finished 1st 2nd 3rd and 4th in this race in the last 15 years. You will find only six horses that had no Graded Class form before. The only one that was exposed was Blue Charm in 1999 who was second in the 1999 Grand National. Its far from ideal. He has never ran a long distance chase before beyond 3m 2f and that’s not an ideal preparation and neither is winning a 4 runner race last time in 0-115 class. I would also be extremely worried that he has ran just once since November 2008. I don’t think he is good enough.


This horse has a strange profile and certainly not the
norm for a Grand National winner. He is exposed yet has to come from an 18f race and a small field chase and has won his last 3 races. If you take the 64 similar handicaps between February and April that include this race. If you look at exposed horses like IRISH INVADER you find that those that ran at only 2m 6f or less last time were just 1-75 and that’s a worry. That sole winner was Bobby Jo in the 1999 Grand National who ran in a 2m hurdle before winning it. Horses that were exposed and that came from Chases over 2m 6f or under had a 0-67 record and that has to be a concern. It would be more forgivable had he been an unexposed type but this is a horse with 28 career runs. He has been on the go since July and has ran 7 times since September last year more than all past winners and winning 3 races this year hasn’t been the norm in recent years. You can also fail him on the statistic that shows exposed horses in the National that had never ran in a Grade 1 race before had a 0-100 record. There is not much 3m handicap chase form in his profile and no form at longer  and because he is exposed I am not prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt in overcoming an unusual preparation and statistically he just is not there to consider as a selection.


He was bought by the Owner of Monty’s Pass the 2003
winner who wants to try and win the race  for the second
time. He bought the horse out of Sue Smith’s yard. I’d
worry that the horse only has 8 chase runs. That’s pretty
inexperienced especially as he has only completed in 6
Chase runs. You can argue he jumped badly the only time he had these fences in the Beecher Chase but I’m ignoring that as he hated the ground that day and he has jumped well enough to win a Midlands National. Eight Chase runs though is not an advantage in a race like this and he has not shown much at all this year although he has been running mainly over hurdles. He is one of those horses that I want to shortlist and I think he has a chance but his inexperience does worry me. So to does the lack of Graded Form in his profile. We know very few horses that were placed in this race had never run in Graded Form before.

I see the Grand National winner coming from 5 Horses



If you ignore the fact that SOUTHERN VIC has fallen on his only run at Aintree you can give him more than an outside chance of proving Ruby Walsh wrong. He would be in the top 2 or 3 profiles in the race. He has a reasonably similar profile to the 2002 and the 1997 winners much as he’s older and not identical in profile. His sire won the race last year. You would be happier on softer ground but I don’t see him completely out of this on good ground. Friendless in the betting since rejected by Ruby Walsh he’s now backable at 33/1 and that’s a big price. SOUTHERN VIC has a better chance than that. He is “shortlistable” and worth considering for a saver in the race.


RAMBLING MINSTER has a reasonably similar profile to the 1998 winner Earth Summit much as he is older and doesn’t fit the Earth Summit profile like a Glove. Statistically he does not sail through the requirements to win this race with flying colours. We know exposed horses that have no Grade 1 form in the race are 0-100 and he fails that. He has won twice in a row which hasn’t been the norm in past years and he will have to raise his game again to win this. That said I think he has a big chance and Brings Guaranteed Stamina to the races and that’s something I need. RAMBLING MINSTER is in the Top 4 profiles in the race and will go well and could win and very nearly made my shortlist


DARKNESS 20/1  Win Bet

IDLE TALK 50/1 Each Way Bet

L’AMI 25/1  Win Bet

L’AMI 25/1

L’AMI has had two chances to win this race but he shouldn’t be judged harshly on that. He fell early in 2008 but that was a one off and he is a proven safe jumper. He was well beaten in the 2007 race but he had just had a hard race in Kauto Star’s first Gold Cup and don’t forget he had 11st 8lbs that year a weight that hasn’t been carried for decades. He is a French Bred and many people say French Breds don’t win this race. I don’t see that as a good trend anymore. Since 2000 there were 3 French Breds that were runner up in the race and a further two were 3rd and that’s a stat waiting to be busted in my view. L’AMI has won on soft ground at Cheltenham over 4 miles and carrying a big weight so its far from sensible to assume he cant stay this with a very good Racing weight. Its no wonder McCoy waited for a long time to prefer Butlers Cabin. I think he has that wrong and I bet it was a marginal decision. I do
like his profile. He was 2nd in the Cross Country at Cheltenham just as Silver Birch was in 2007 before winning this and running his profile in the last 15 Nationals has produced 5 winners.

* Exposed horses with 5-6 runs this season
* Having ran within 7 weeks
* Starting under 50/1
* Having had Past Grade 1 form before
* Carrying under 11st weight
* Since 1996 5 winners had that profile
* L’AMI has a great chance to win this

DARKNESS and IDLE TALK were both placed in the 2006 Sun Alliance Chase and the similarities don’t end there. They both come from the Strong Gale line and although many see that as a concern with limited Stamina I am far from sure that’s right. Many Strong Gales stay very well. You can point to GVA Ireland winning a Midlands Grand National in 2006 on Heavy Ground over an extended 4m 1f and with 11st 5lbs on his back and he was a “Strong Gale”. So to was Mini Sensation who won over 4 miles on Soft Ground and won a Welsh National on Heavy ground. How about Shotgun Willy who has a second in the Scottish National and won a Red Square Vodka over 3m 5f. Plenty of these horses stay well and I hope this pair do as well as they are the outstanding candidates for me and big prices.


This horse should not be 50/1 . Back in 2006 IDLE TALK
was 2nd in the Sun Alliance won by Star De Mohaison.
Interesting that in 3rd place that day was DARKNESS a
horse I also feel has a big chance. This horse’s jumping
went to pieces back in 2007 when he fell in this race and
the two runs before that and in the Scottish National. He
was too inexperienced to have a chance in the 2007 race.
Since 2008 the horse has ran in 8 more Chases and has
not fallen since and he has had Yogi Breisner helping
him jump and concentrate. He has jumped well since then and looks accomplished and He managed to jump round without a problem in this race last year.  He was 14th in this race last year. He was going sweetly in the first half dozen before he felt the pinch and eased home in his own time. He may not have stayed. That could be his biggest problem but that’s far from Proven and I’d also argue he was out of form at the time – had more weight than this year and had a much busier season taking in some big races. Trevor Hemmings his owner loves this race and is on record saying that they left the Grand National behind in 2008 after a hard race at the Cheltenham Festival as this is a horse that doesn’t want a lot of racing. This year He is Fresher and ran well in the Grimthorpe Chase last time out. He has a lot of class for a lightweight. He  hasn’t been trained to show his best this year until today.  The only trend he fails today is my opening one showing that exposed horses need 5 or more runs that season. IDLE TALK  does fail that with him having just 4 runs this year but I am prepared to overlook it as he is 50/1 and a Class horse with a Lightweight. I think there are several winners similar to IDLE TALK we can draw comfort from. In 2004 Amberleigh House won this race when exposed. He had Past Graded form. He came here beaten 27 lengths into 5th in the Grimthorpe Chase before the National and he won having 5 runs that season and
10st 10lbs. IDLE TALK comes from the Grimthorpe Chase as well and achieved more in  that race.  He has 5lbs less weight than Amberleigh House did in2004. Whilst IDLE TALK has just 4 runs this season and Amberleigh House had 5 runs it is also relevant that IDLE TALK is 2 years younger and as a 10 year old is a much better age. There has been several low weight exposed horses with Graded Class that have won this race like Bindaree (2002). I would like him
to show he can stay and that he’s a Born again Chaser
that’s thrown in off a career low mark. That may be a
bit of wishful thinking but at 50/1 and 66/1 I think it
is a brilliant risk to find out.

D  A  R  K N  E  S   S


* Not the best Jumper
* Will he handle a big field ?
* Has he enough Stamina ?

I felt he had a superb profile but my biggest worry was
his jumping especially in a big field and my next concern
stamina. First of all if you look at the last 15 renewals and horses that had his profile its very interesting

* Horses with 13-20 career starts
* Horses that came from a Class 2 Handicap
* Horses that ran 32-49 days ago
* There were only 5 National horses with that profile
* They finished W W W 6
* Comply or Die won in 2008 with the same profile
* Silver Birch won in 2007 with the same profile
* Red Marauder won in 2001 with the same profile

DARKNESS comes out very well on those simple stats. He is a horse with a serious chance. Whilst we are discussing
his positives I will stay there. DARKNESS is now rated 151
yet is allowed to run in this race off a mark of 143 so is well handicapped and officially 8lbs well in. In terms of ability DARKNESS is easily good enough to win a National off this mark having won a Feltham and placed in a Sun Alliance. This was a serious Novice Chaser two years ago. He has a lot of class. Injured in 2006 Normally I’d be worried that he has had just 3 runs in 3 seasons but as he is not unexposed that does not worry me. You only have to go back to Comply Or Die who won last years race having had just 4 runs in the previous 2 years when unexposed and he was placed in a Sun Alliance as DARKNESS was as well. This horse has a serious chance. He missed Cheltenham this year which is probably an advantage. He could easily win this. Looking at some of the Negatives. Sometimes his jumping is a bit shaky and he wouldn’t look the most likely to get round and I accept that and know its a risk. Some people point to the fact that He has a PU PU record in both long distance handicap chases He has ran in before but that doesn’t worry me. He had any number of excuses for those races. He was injured in the Scottish Grand National in 2006 and trying to win a Welsh National this year with 1 run in over 2 years was a near impossible task. It doesn’t worry me at all but I feel you can argue that he is not proven in a big field and there is a lot of small field races in his form. It could be an issue and it is a
worry. You can argue that he isn’t a certain stayer and there are potential cracks in his breeding and that’s also a doubt. In conclusion a brilliant profile – doubts about jumping – big fields and his stamina but those concerns are factored into the price and I think if he stays upright he will win.


Check For Best Prices at