Grand National News
Definitly Red Given Top Weight In Grand National
The Grand National weights were revealed in London on Tuesday 13th February. The conference didn’t exactly go smoothly, as a major power cut disrupted the announcements, and a backup generator failed to provide the power. Spectators were lead over the road for drinks to fill the gap, before the weights were finally given.
Phil Smith drew up and outlined the handicaps for the Grand National event for his 20th and final year. This year 90% of horses came in with a rating of 135 or more, up from 88% the previous year. The medium rating was 145, which is around the usual.
The Grand National is one of the biggest steeplechase events of the year, and, unlike many Grade 1 races, entrants are given a handicap according to their speed, pace, form and many other factors. The handicap’s aim is to even up the playing field so that, in theory, all horses have an equal chance of winning. In reality, favourites still emerge.
This means that betting is slightly different. The most valuable bets lay not necessarily with the fastest or strongest horse, but with the horse that is most likely to overcome their handicap. The weighting affects the Grand National odds.
Weights are assigned to each horse according to their ability, and lead is added to their pockets to bring the weight up to spec. This year it is Definitly Red, clear winner of the Cotswold Chase last month, that carries the most weight, with 11st 10lb. Whether or not he shows depends on his run in the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Current favourite Blaklion, whom trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies recently compared to Red Rum, was given a weight of 11st 6lb and will be mounted by Sam-Twinston Davies. Grade 1 winner Bristol De Mai came in at 11st 9lb, and will be at Aintree, but has been confirmed as racing in the Bowl.
Legendary Irish trainer JP McManus will put forward a possible seven entrants this year, including Irish Gold Cup winner Edwult (11st 9lb), Cheltenham Gold Cup runner-up Minella Rocco (11st 7lb), and last year’s Grand National runner-up Cause of Causes (10st 12lb).
Total Recall has received a lot of positive attention recently, and his handicap for the Grand National reflects this. He has added 9lb to his weight since his last outing, for a total of 11st 1lb; his single figure odds currently stand at 14/1 on BetStars.
Entrants have a good chance of running if they make it into the top 70, which represents a handicap weight of about 10st 2lbs. Anything less than that might not make the cut. There are currently around six horses at the 10st mark, so the advice is to get racing and try to get the points up to stand a chance of competing.
The Grand National Festival will take place over three days at Aintree. The Grand National itself is the main event, and this year it will feature a maximum 40-strong field. The race starts at 5.15pm on Saturday 14th April.