Virtual Grand National 2020 review from Wider Horizens, in conjunction with www.aracingfirst.com
A big well done to those in charge for putting on a Virtual Grand National in these testing times with the bookmaker revenue generated being raised for the NHS; a great effort on all parts.
As we’ve seen in the last 3 years, the Virtual Grand National has proven to be very accurate in predicting the actual result; and with many Grand National Stats and what we assume will be common sense algorithms to conclude the result, that’s what we’ve based our analysis on.
From the 40 runners our initial in-depth analysis reduced the field down to nine, removing a number of shorter priced horses and familiar names; none more so than Tiger Roll himself.
Here are a few of those runners and our reasoning for going against them.
He’d previously been in spectacular form going into the last two Grand Nationals, winning the Cross Country Chase at Cheltenham impressively. Defeated this year at Cheltenham and clearly not quite in the same form, he’s also a year older and on handicap ratings has a lot more to do this year. For example, Magic of Light 2nd last year is 4lbs better off this year and the 5th last year Anibale Fly has a 13lb pull at the weights. If judging from the Heart everyone would love to see a historic 3rd National in a row, but from the head he’s up against it this year and from a slightly cynical, if Tiger Roll won, then the Bookmakers / NHS would perhaps not show as big a profit, as the loyal Tiger fans will be with him all the way.
A number of horses had pretty hard races at Cheltenham, and assuming that will be factored in the likes of Bristol De Mai & Elegant Escape amongst others can be passed over.
Age is a barrier to success where 7yos at the lower end of the scale and 12yos at the higher end are ones to avoid on past results. This suggests Burrows Saint, Tout Est Permis and Pleasant Company are unlikely winners.
The Grand National is a real test and fitness and stamina are key element of success. A number of horses tend to be better for a run, so a break of over 50 days before running here can be considered a negative. This stat counts against the likes of Magic of Light, OK Corral (who’s stamina I also a slight question mark), Potters Corner and Walk In The Mil.
Our shortlist of nine consisted of, the following and was eventually whittled down to our final 3 selections.
5) Anibale Fly
Has run really well in the past two Grand Nationals, but has failed to win and is now a 10yo. Whilst he’s sure to run a really nice race again, we’d expect one or two to prove to be more likely winners.
12) The Storyteller
He did have quite a hard race at Cheltenham, but that was after a break so he does come here relatively fresh. The slight question marks are that he’s best on a soft surface and perhaps only just gets 3 miles, so he might not just get home over this extended trip.
Hugely impressive when winning the Bet365 Gold Cup Chase at Sandown at the end of last season, where he clearly thrived for the step up in trip, so stamina looks assured. Two slight negatives though are his recent form and the form of the Alan King yard who have only had 1 winner from their last 20 runners, a 4% strike rate, when they usually run at about 12%, albeit that period of time did include Cheltenham. The horse himself also seems to excel on quicker ground conditions.
15) Yala Enki
Hard to knock as he comes here in good from, has proven stamina and looks to have had a preparation geared towards a Grand National in April. He was in our final 4, but has just been over looked as he might just lack that change of gear most winners possess to win a National.
Ticks a lot of the boxes but following a successful campaign he’s now at his highest handicap mark and when looking back at last years Cheltenham Festival, he’s badly handicapped compared to Any Second Now who beat him comprehensively there.
25) Jury Duty
Another who ticks most of the boxes, but with a slight query over the trip as his only victory over a trip in excess of 3 miles was in a small 5 runner field. His jumping is also a slight concern as he’s unseated his rider in 2 of the most competitive races he’s run in previously, including in this race last year.
This leaves us with our Final 3 selections and advised Bets. The industry has limited bets to either £10 win or £10 each way, which is sensible with the nature of the race, being a Virtual Grand National, but we’re pretty hopeful of getting a good run for our money and hopefully showing a profit on the 3 bets.
All 3 bets advised Each Way with all bookmakers paying top 5 places.
29) Any Second Now @ 10/1
With three 8yo’s having won in the last 5 years, his age is a big plus. He’s proven his stamina with an impressive win at Cheltenham last year over 3m2f where he was at his strongest at the finish pulling clear by over 3 lengths. He has the ability to race up and around the pace which is a plus, as horses held up tend to struggle to make up the ground in this race. Whilst he unseated 3 runs ago, that was only due to being badly hampered by another faller when Any Second Now was still cruising through the race in a very competitive race. A nice couple of preparation runs over shorter distances will have him spot on for this. He’s classy, still open to more improvements, stays and jumps well and has an ideal profile to win.
32) Kidisart @ 50/1
Another 8yo, so a tick in the age box. He stays really well having improved last season when stepped up to 3 miles at Aintree and again last time when staying on really strongly over 3m1f at Cheltenham on soft ground, especially as he’d prefer a slightly better surface. He jumps well having never fallen and is a very consistent performer. Whilst some may argue he had a hard race at Cheltenham, he’s a horse that improves for racing and will only have hit race fitness for Cheltenham, with the potential of more to come. If racing hadn’t been cancelled, he’d have been an extremely strong fancy for this or the Bet365 Chase at Sandown over 3m5f at the end of the season.
39) Kimberlite Candy @ 16/1
Our third 8yo from the field, age box ticked. He’s an extremely strong stayer having won really well at Warwick over 3m5f on soft ground when running away from the field to win by 10 lengths, where the 2nd, 4thand 6th have all won since. That form negates the obvious rise in the handicap and he gets in here off a very nice racing weight. Whilst he hasn’t run since January, which is usually a negative, his form when fresh is excellent having won on his reappearance last season and run really well when 2nd on his reappearance this year. He jumps well having never fallen, can ace up with the pace and has a lot of similar credentials as One For Arthur who won this race in 2017 having won the same Warwick race on his previous start as well as gaining valuable course form over the National Fences in the Beecher Chase earlier in the season.