Grand National Preview : The Last Samuri Can Get The Job Done At Aintree

Horse Racing Previews
Last Updated : 3rd April, 2018 By Peter Roberts

Event Venue: Aintree Racecourse, Saturday, April 14th at 17:15. Live on ITV.

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There are a number of trends that have become established in the Grand National over the last 20 years. There are statistics which suggest certain type of horses should be on your short list. Year after year the winning horse has several common attributes and the trend for this year’s race suggest The Last Samuri is the horse to back. You can place your bets on the most famous horse race in the world using your Grand National Free Bets and the selection is the joint fifth favourite. 

The National is the longest jumps race in Britain and Ireland. The fences are unique in that the top material of birch makes them appear totally different to fences on park courses and the Mildmay course at Aintree. There are 30 obstacles to be jumped in the National, including those with famous names like Becher’s Brook, Valentine’s Brook and the Chair. Fourteen fences are jumped twice and the Chair and Water Jump only have to be negotiated on the first circuit. 

A horse called Lottery won the first Grand National in 1939 starting the race as the 5/1 favourite. It was not until 1854 that another outright favourite obliged. With a maximum field of 40 runners the nature of the race led to many fallers and horses who had no luck in running during the mayhem. For many years the race was something of a lottery but it is now more akin to a high level handicap chase. One For Arthur won the 2017 Grand National. 

The weights are usually compressed so the best chasers have a chance and are not weighted out of the contest. The runners at the top of the handicap are now just below Gold Cup standard and some horses run in both races, though not always in the same season. The gap between the Cheltenham Festival and Grand National meeting is four weeks this year which is ample recovery time for horses to run at both. Golden Miller (1934) is the only horse to have won the Gold Cup (Native River winner) and National in the same year. 

Total Recall and Blaklion are vying for favouritism at about 10/1 with Paddy Power and both horses have the class to run in the Gold Cup. Total Recall was going well when falling three out in the Gold Cup in March and Blaklion is a winner of the RSA Chase, the championship races for staying novice chasers. That horse looked all over the winner rejoining the racecourse proper last year but faded into fourth place behind One For Arthur over the last two fences. Blaklion will be handled more patiently this time and can make the frame again.    

The race distance has been reduced by about a furlong to locate the start away from the packed stands. Horses and jockeys can get wound up in the atmosphere and sometimes the starts are messy and the race begins after a number of failed attempts. The run-in is the longest of any track in Britain so stamina is important but jumping is also paramount. THE LAST SAMURI (14/1 with Paddy Power) is proven in both respects and can win the National at the third attempt. Age and experience are also positives for the horse’s chances. Tip 

The Grand National conditions favour THE LAST SAMURI so the horse can win the race at the third attempt.  

Get odds of 14/1 on The Last Samuri with Paddy Power (18+ Ts & Cs Apply)

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  • The race is the longest in the calendar at over four miles and two furlongs.
  • It is run over two circuits of Aintree racecourse and there are 30 fences.
  • The last outright winning favourite was Hedgehunter in 2005.
  • The average price of the winner over the last 10 years is 32/1.
  • Horses have won at Starting Prices ranging from 7/1 to 100/1 this century.
  • Red Rum (1973,1974 and 1977) is the only three-time winner.
  • Tony McCoy was champion jockey 20 times but only won one National (2010).
  • Nicky Henderson has been the champion trainer three times but not won the race.
  • Leighton Aspell (2014 and 2015) is the only multiple winning jockey this century.
  • Horses aged 8 to 12  have won the National over the last 20 years.

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