horse racing

What you should have learned from the 2015 Aintree Grand National Festival…

Seven vital facts you need to take away from the 2015 Aintree Grand National Festival

To be honest there is only one vital fact you need to take from Aintree this year and that’s the fact that MANY CLOUDS is a beast!

That. Was. Some. Performance.

Throw as many superlatives as you want at the horse but you won’t come close to describing that run. It was sensational.

OK the handicapper has been compressing the handicap for a few years now and that certainly helped matters (it’s also something that I now have to take into serious consideration when analysing the race) but weight compressions aside that win from Many Clouds was right out of the top drawer.

Very few horses are able to win a handicap from marks in the 160’s, especially a race of the magnitude of the Aintree Grand National, but Many Clouds managed it and he managed it with a mix of sheer class, dogged determination and with a heart as big as a lion.

His National win on Saturday was one mighty performance.

But apart from Many Clouds being a beast what else should we take from the three day extravaganza…

*Statistical analysis sourced from the excellent Proform Professional database


2015 Aintree Festival: The Fallout…


The Cheltenham Festival once again produced a steady stream of winners…

There were 21 races run at the Aintree Festival this season. 13 of those winners had their last start at the previous months Cheltenham Festival.

There were 65 win & place horses and 34 of them had their last start at Cheltenham.

The Cheltenham festival, naturally, supplied by far the most runners over the three days but backing them all would have given you a +£6.75 level stakes profit to Betfair SP.

The facts are running at the Cheltenham Festival on your previous start before coming on to Aintree is NOT a negative. Far from it in fact.


Willie Mullins couldn’t replicate his Cheltenham supremacy at Aintree…

He did have a winner – Nichols Canyon – but once again he did under-perform over the three days.

His overall stats were…

1/10 | 10% S/R | -£5.92 BFLSP – Win & Place 3/10 | 30% S/R

I caught an interview with him pre-race during the three days and he told the interviewer that…

“I don’t do too much with them between Cheltenham & Aintree, I prefer to save them for Punchestown, I can do more with them and work them harder then.”

Could this be the reason his runners don’t fire as strongly at Aintree?

He sent over a bit of a mis-mash squad to be honest and there weren’t quite the superstar names we could have expected but the fact remains that we need to very careful when looking to put our money down on a Mullins horse at Aintree in the spring. I’m not saying blanket ignore them (I didn’t) but pick and choose your targets at the very least.

The Mullins machine isn’t quite as well oiled at Aintree.

Sticking on the Mullins theme…


Champagne Fever again failed to deliver at the top level…

Fourth, beaten 32 lengths as 3/1 joint fav pretty much sums up his chasing career. He promised so much but so far has failed to deliver. He’s failed to deliver at the top level any way. That was his 5th Grade 1 Chase start of his 9 race chase career and his 5th defeat at the top level.

His five Grade 1 chases have resulted in a 14.5 lengths 3rd (8/15f), a head 2nd (11/4jf – beaten by a 33-1 outsider), 15.5 lengths 6th (5/4f), 10.5 length 4th (9/2 2nd fav) and this 32 length 4th (3/1jf).

He is becoming a serial underachiever.

Don’t believe the hype.

Sticking with underachievers…


Zarkandar once again disappointed over a staying trip…

…and he never really looked like getting involved in this one either.

I’ve had my suspicions for a while that he doesn’t properly stay three miles and I’m of the opinion that victory in France over three miles is giving his fans a bit of false hope. Personally I’m not one to take that sort of form literally. I’m far from convinced that a French 3 miles is the same test as a UK 3 miles. Thousand Stars would be another to back up that theory as he won a couple of ‘staying races’ in France but back over here he very much looked short on stamina over the 3 mile trips. There are firm suggestions that staying 3 miles in France is not always the same as staying 3 miles over here.

On the Zarkandar front it could even be argued that he isn’t all that comfortable over trips in excess of 2m1f. Looking at his races over further than that tells us he has a record of 2F1243442 (11121154 over shorter). The truth of the matter is more likely to be that 2m4f-ish trips are optimal for him and over 3 mile trips (on home soil) he is likely to be sucker-punched by at least one stronger stayer.

He’s one of those lovable rogues that should really come with a health warning.


Horses with very few runs on the board in the past 12 months struggled to land a blow…

Race fitness is vital at this stage of the season. You may think that coming in fresh against a bunch of horses who have been on the go all season would be a positive, but you would be wrong, it is the opposite.

34 horses lined up having had 0 or 1 starts in the past 12 months and all 34 failed to score. In fact only 3 even managed to place.

If we stretch those parameters a bit further, to horses that have had 3 or less runs in the past 12 months, you get similarly disappointing stats…

3/113 | 2.5% S/R | -£86.64 BFLSP – Win & Place 19/113 | 17% S/R 

It’s pays to be match fit when coming to Aintree in the Spring and those that haven’t seen much action in the past 12 months have struggled to land serious blows.


King’s Theatre offspring ran a big stinking blank over the three days…

22 runners and 0 winners.

Overall figures of…

0/22 | 0% S/R | -£22.00 BFLSP – Win & Place 4/22 | 18% S/R

Which made me have a look at the King’s Theatre offspring at Aintree in general over the past 6 season’s…

9/100 | 9% S/R | -£57.63 BFLSP – Win & Place 29/100 | 29% S/R

No sire has produced a bigger loss at the track with their offspring in recent season’s than King’s Theatre.

It’s worth digging a bit deeper but the general message is BEWARE of King’s Theatre kids at Aintree!


Silviniaco Conti reminded us why he is THE BOSS on flat tracks…

The facts are he just isn’t cut out for that Cheltenham Gold Cup challenge. Undulating tracks are simply not his thing.

Flat tracks, however, most certainly are!

He is now 7 wins and 3 places from his 10 runs on flat tracks. Nine of them have been Grade 1 contests. He is the flat track daddy in the three mile chase division. No question.

It’s also worth noting that he is so much better with a run under his belt. He is now 1133111111F1 when returning within 35 days of last start.

His record on a flat track and when returning within 35 days of his last start? A rather fetching 1311111. That’s not too shabby. Not to shabby  at all.

His Cheltenham Gold Cup runs are far from wasted, they set him up perfectly for this race!

Salute the Conti. He’s a machine on the flat tracks!

Ben (NTF)

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4 responses to “What you should have learned from the 2015 Aintree Grand National Festival…”

  1. I’d have thought the imponderable was whether The Druids Nephew will beat Many Clouds next year if he’s held up longer.
    The raw form says that MC could run up a sequence as he may only be fully mature next year. Phil Smith has said that he will only carry one pound more next year, so he can’t be handicapped out of the renewal, therefore it will need something to come out of the heavens, if TDN can’t take him.
    It’s a great prospect for racing over the next four years if MC can be kept sound and healthy. The ‘industry’ has a fantastic story to build upon with this year’s victory being the start of a saga, potentially. Let’s hope they don’t mur-der the chance!

    • Hi Chris

      The Druids Nephew definitely looked like he had more to give before his unfortunate fall/slip.

      The issue for him will be that he will be carrying significantly more next year as he was able to run from the same mark from which he won at Cheltenham.

      Lets hope Many Clouds is stays sound and is able to take a stab at defending his crown next year.

      Ben (NTF)

  2. I thought I best apologised for my doubting of many clouds, I had him as a non-stayer but I have been proved very very wrong.

    • Hi Ian

      I reckon Many Clouds probably proved plenty of people wrong on a number of counts with that victory. It was a simply outstanding run.

      Cheers – Ben(NTF)

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