Grand National Meeting 2014: Day 2

Grand National Day 2

It’s Grand National Meeting 2014, Day 2 and we’re concentrating on just 3 races with a full stat analysis and suggested betting options.

14.00….Top Novices Hurdle (Grade 2; Class 1)  (4yo+)

  • Seven of the last 15 winners posted a top-six finish in the Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.
  • The last four Supreme winners to run here have all been beaten but four runners-up have won since 1999, all owned by J P McManus.
  • The first and the last of those (Joe Mac and My Tent Or Yours) were surprisingly the only two winners in that time period to have won a pattern race earlier in the season.
  • Of the last 17 winners, all but four had won or finished second on their last hurdles start. The one qualification to this rule of thumb is that Supreme runners should be considered irrespective of whether they finished in the first two or not as three of the four that didn’t had run with credit in finishing between fourth and sixth in the Supreme (the other exited at the first flight)
  • The EBF Novices’ Hurdle run over 2m1f at Cheltenham in December in which Ballyalton beat Garde La Victoire has been the most significant pointer outside of the Supreme recently as three winners since 2002 doubled up here.
  • My Tent Or Yours won at the age of 6 last year but eight from the last 10 were 5 year olds from just under 50{70aeb3532cb26dbe277d25ea128ebb74de84b9bd22e1583b0eb1b73768e061f6} representation.
  • Seven of the last 11 Top Novices’ hurdle winners started their career on the Flat and six of those bypassed the Cheltenham Festival suggesting that connections had identified Aintree would suit from an early stage and a plan was formed accordingly.
  • Ex-bumper horses, however, have won three of the last four runnings but it should be noted that all three were trained by Nicky Henderson who excels with speed horses.
  • Philip Hobbs has been the other trainer to note by virtue of his three successive wins from the turn of the century.
  • This is another of those races which repeatedly fails to attract a strong Irish challenge who have won just twice in 38 runnings.
  • My Tent Or Yours won at the age of six last year but eight of the previous ten winners were five-year-olds from just under 50{70aeb3532cb26dbe277d25ea128ebb74de84b9bd22e1583b0eb1b73768e061f6} representation over that period.
  • Four four-year-olds have won with the 6lb age allowance going back to 1979, two of which were trained by Martin Pipe.
  • The front four in the market have won 18 of the last 23 runnings and the last front runner to make all was 17 years ago.


Baltimore Rock has been progressive over hurdles, running best race yet when winning the Imperial Cup impressively at Sandown last month. Open to further improvement and worthy of the utmost respect now upped in grade and at least a bit of value at around 10/1 with Skybet.

Josses Hill will go off as favourite and will be difficult to beat…..he satisfies most of the criteria above plus is trained by Nicky Henderson, but at 7/4 is not the value we are looking for?

The best Irish showing may come from King Of The Picts who improved to win a Grade 3 at Tipperary in October and has held his form well in strong races since and another with EW claims at a best 20/1 with Bet Victor, but likely to find at least a couple too good.

15.05……Betfred Melling Chase (Grade 1)

  • During the last 19 runnings, the favourite or second-favourite has collected on 14 occasions so this has been a punter’s race for sure.
  • Only two winners bypassed the Cheltenham Festival specifically for this prize, Blazing Walker in the inaugural running and the Irish-trained mare, Opera Hat, in 1998.
  • The last winner not to have previously won a Grade 1 race was Fadalko during the Foot-and-Mouth ravaged spring of 2001.
  • Ten of the last 11 winners had won a Grade 1 race earlier in the same season.
  • The last 11 winners ran in either the BetVictor Queen Mother Champion Chase or the Ryanair Chase.
  • The Ryanair Chase has featured four winners since it was first run in 2005 whereas 12 of the last 19 winners posted a top-three finish in the Champion Chase.
  • Three of the last seven winners either won or finished second in the Ascot Chase back in February won by Captain Chris


Rajdhani Express is our selection being a progressive 7yo who ran well at the Cheltenham Festival last time out. His Ryanair third was a highly encouraging Grade 1 debut and Nicky Henderson has won the last two runnings of this contest. He quickly proved himself a smart chaser last term, winning 3 times. Fresher than most is ours for the shortlist.…..and best priced 5/1 with Skybet.

16.15……Doom Bar Sefton Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1)

  • Of the 26 winners exactly half had run at the previous month’s Cheltenham Festival
  • Between 2008-2011 all four winners bypassed the Cheltenham Festival
  • The best guide outside of the Cheltenham Festival has been the Prestige Novices’ Hurdle (won by Toubeera) run at Haydock in mid-February having featured four of the last 13 winners.
  • Seventeen of the last 19 winners had won at least twice over hurdles and winners of at least four races earlier in the season.
  • Nineteen of the last 21 winners had run at least four times over timber so experience counts.
  • Over the last two decades as many as 12 Sefton winners had previously won over at least three miles.
  • Jonjo O’Neill (two wins and a second), Alan King (two wins) and Nigel Twiston-Davies (two wins and two thirds) have the best record.
  • Three Irish-trained horses have won of which two were mares…….all three bypassed the Cheltenham Festival.
  • Need to have won over 3 miles
  • Trained by Jonjo O’Neill, Alan King (no runner) or Nigel Twiston-Davies


SEEYOUATMIDNIGHT  extended his winning run under Rules to three with victory at Haydock and is definitely our leading contender here having earlier beaten the odds-on Racing Pulse by nine lengths at Musselburgh.

He’s one of Timeform’s top rated and at 9/2 with PaddyPower that looks a decent bet with only 7/2 available elsewhere?

For some nice EW value  we’ll look for a little more value….Jonjo’s Capote takes a serious step up in class and is unbeaten, 2 from 2 and available around 10/1 with bet365…..however we’ll side with PORT MELON for our EW punt. He won both point starts, and looked a smart prospect when third in Grade 2 at Cheltenham on Rules debut, however was withdrawn from the Albert Bartlett after bolting…..given another chance at  a best EW of 20/1 with bet365

Are you ready for tomorrow……’s our Grand National fancies……see  full review

Our best pick is JonJo’s Burton Port at a best priced 20/1 with PaddyPower but all these fit the bill from the above considerations……..

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