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Grand National Analysis From The Eye-Catcher Pro – John Burke

Now the Grand National is not race to be taken seriously from a betting perspective but it’s a bit of fun and that’s what betting on horses should be all about.

The race has changed in recent years due to changes in the Aintree fences and the handicappers in encouragement of higher class horses running in the race. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that five of the last seven winners of the race carried between 11-00 & 11-6 as class now does seem to come to the fore in the race these days. Now the going look like it will be on the testing side on Saturday so it’s possible that the higher-weighted will be disadvantaged.

What do the recent race trends have to say?

Here are my four key ones:

  1. Age: 8 to 11 year-olds
  2. Won A Race 3m 1f+
  3. Runs in 90 Days: 1 to 3
  4. Handicap Chase Wins: 1 to 3

Trainer Gordon Elliott has a strong hand in the race. The first is the 8-year-old Tiger Roll who last season won the 3m Munster National and the 4m National Hunt Chase at the Cheltenham Festival. He isn’t the biggest horse in training but as he showed at Cheltenham if he gets in a good jumping rhythm he’s a really decent horse. He won the Cross-Country race at the Cheltenham Festival and Davy Russell takes the ride. Jumping could be an issue as he’s known to a belt a few.

The other Elliott horse is Ucello Conti, who I haven’t backed yet. The 10-year-old has still yet to win for the trainer but has run some tremendous race in big field handicap chases including over the National fences and was still going well enough at Bechers second time around when unseating his rider last year. He will come into this year’s race fresher than last year and his second in the Paddy Power Handicap Chase at Leopardstown over Christmas showed the old ability remains. He did run poorly and was pulled up in the Thyestes Chase at Gowran Park on his last start but I suspect something was amiss with him that day.

Warriors Tale has been purchased by Trevor Hemmings and he’s not been seen since finishing second to Wakanda in the Sky Bet Handicap Chase at Doncaster. He was only beaten a head that day and runs off just 2lb higher here. Stamina for this marathon trip has to be proved and he’s yet to win further than 3m but if he stays he’s an interesting one at a big price. Yet to race on heavy ground but has won twice on soft. Drying ground would be in his favour from a stamina perspective.

Milansbar was given a superb front-running ride by Bryony Frost to win the Betfred Classic Handicap Chase at Warwick and was runner-up in the Midland National at Uttoxeter on his last start. He ticks my four key trends boxes and soft or ground or heavy wouldn’t be an issue for the 11-year-old. If Bryony can get him into a good jumping rhythm I think he can get into the places.

That’s my four for the shortlist but at the prices, it’s got to be the following three.

Ucello Conti – 20/1 or better

Milansbar – 33/1

Warrior’s Tale – 50/1

Good luck with your bets

John

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John Burke

I have a MA in International Politics and having spent a number of years working in political campaigning but I eventually I realised that politics was not the world where I wanted to work I had been interested in horse racing since the late 1980s but in the early years I was merely just betting and watching racing like most people as a bit of fun and a hobby, then the hobby becomes a passion and that’s what happened to me with horse racing. I soon realised that to make money from my hobby I had to learn as much as I could about the sport and betting in general. The whole process took time but after a number of successful years of betting, I decided in 2011 to take the plunge, gave up my full time day job and decided to bet on horse racing as a part time business and I haven’t looked back since. I like to specialise in the better class of races and I love to solve the puzzles posed by big field handicaps the latter races often provide punters with great value betting opportunities. Whilst most of my time is spent reviewing previous races I like to keep things as simple as possible as even the biggest field handicaps can usually be pruned down to half a dozen strong contenders with the right sort of approach.

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