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Saturday, April 14, 2012

Aintree Grand National 2012

Well, it's that time of the year again when everyone and their granny has a bet. I've an article in the Irish Independent today which I've reproduced below. It's never a race for heavy punting but it's great craic all the same.

Yesterday's inplay lays lost a couple of points - one or two of them were partially matched but for recording purposes, I'll put them down as losers.

I've a few for today:

I DON'T have much of a sweet tooth but I have to admit, the ads for Cadbury's Creme Egg are very catchy and readers are sure to be familiar with their slogan, 'How do you eat yours?'
There's countless ways to eat a Creme Egg and everyone has their own method. It's not dissimilar to the Grand National then; everyone has their own way of picking their horses and the selection methods I've seen down through the years range from the fun to the downright bizarre.
Whether it's pet names, superstitions or the colour of the jockey silks, everyone has their own way to make the list of 40-odd runners more manageable.
While it's never a race for heavy punting, my own preferred method is to go back over the lists of previous winners and losers to see if I can spot any trends.
Of course, trends and statistics can be bent and twisted to suit the user and, as the British writer Noel Moynihan once said, statistics will prove anything, even the truth.
But it's next to impossible to study this race as you would any other, so with a bit of caution I'm going to suggest putting a red line through a number of horses based on a certain stat.
The fact is the last horse to win the Grand National carrying more than 11st 5lbs was way back in 1977 and that horse happened to be the exceptional Red Rum.
This means I'll be opposing the favourite, Synchronised, which is set to carry top weight of 11st 10lbs, although if we take his Gold Cup victory into consideration, he's technically 7lbs well-in so perhaps he'll be the one to break the rules with Tony McCoy doing the steering.
As short as 6/1 in places though, the bookies are taking no chances and fresh in the memory is the hammering they took in 2010 when McCoy won his first Aintree Grand National on board Don't Push It, which was heavily supported on the morning of the race.
Some horses priced in single figures have actually won it recently (Comply Or Die and Hedgehunter in this century), but the whole fun of the Grand National is trying to get a nice each-way bet landed at a double-figure price, so I'm going to look elsewhere for a bit of value. With so many fallers each year, I always have more than one horse running for me and the first I've settled on is the front-running Giles Cross, trained by Victor Dartnall.
Generally speaking, prominently ridden horses perform better than those that are held up in the Grand National so I hope to see Paddy Brennan get a nice spot up the front early on and keep him out of the traffic.
If the ground is any way soft, it will help his cause and you could do worse things this weekend than back him at 18/1.
The other that will carry my money is West End Rocker, which is generally available at 12/1. He made an early exit when brought down in last year's Grand National but he's since gone on to prove himself over these fences by winning the Becher Chase back in December by an impressive 22 lengths.
A lack of a prep run due to unsuitable ground is a negative but he stays all day and he's another one which will appreciate a bit of cut in the ground.
Remember, all the bookmakers will be touting for your business today so shop around and take full advantage of the free bets and specials.
At 12/1, it's worth taking a chance on Bridle Belle for the Better Grand National Odds at Handicap at Lingfield (2.30). She won a class two handicap at Ripon last year but has been out of her depth in her latest three starts. She's back down to a more realistic mark and can make her presence felt today.
1.45 Aintree: Simonsig
2.20 Tramore: Boxer Beat
2.30 Lingfield: Bridle Belle (e/w)
4.15 Aintree: Giles Cross (e/w)
4.15 Aintree: West End Rocker (e/w)
- Wayne Bailey - Betting Ring
Irish Independent

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