This year, the Irish Grand National will play a vital role in the year’s Trainer’s Championship, which both Willie Mullins and Gordon Elliott desperately want to win. Mullins has 4 runners, which Elliott has an incredible 13. Last year was similar, however, with Elliott running 9 horses but the race ultimately going to Jessica Harrington’s Our Duke.
Whilst Harrington’s can hardly be called a small yard, it has been worth looking beyond the obvious powerhouses in this contest in the past. In the last 10 years, only Mouse Morris has won the race twice. 5 of the last 10 winners were their yards’ sole representatives at the track that day, and these horses (96 of them in total) were, as one might expect, underestimated by the market (Betfair SP’s would have suggested that they would account for 3.3 winners – although the Betfair place market would have suggested 13.9 places, despite only 9 of them actually making the frame).
It’s quite incredible that neither Elliott nor Mullins has ever won this race despite the attractive prize money on offer and the fact that both have won the English equivalent. Mullins has fired 23 darts at the race in the last 10 years and has had just 2 placed horses to show for it, despite 7 of his runners going off at 10/1 or less (none of these 7 even made the frame). Elliott, meanwhile, has had 20 runners in the last 10 years and has come away with just 3 places. He hasn’t trained as many contenders at the top of the market as Mullins has (just one horse with a starting price of 10/1 or less), but last year his runners took up around 30% of the total book and just one made the frame.
This is not a critique of either Mullins or Elliott – the reason for their ducks in this race aren’t clear and it’s never an easy task to win a National of any description, but it may be worth looking beyond the obvious big names (particularly in a race which attracts once a year punters who are likely to back horses from iconic yards, causing their prices to contract). Indeed, at the time of writing, 7 of the top 8 in the market are trained by either Mullins or Elliott. It may pay to look beyond the obvious.
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After some top quality action in Newbury this weekend (and a few Cheltenham festival clues), it’s back to the midweek racing with only 29 days to go until the highlight of the season.
As ever, here’s our update on the trainers operating at high strike rates over the past couple of weeks:
John Gosden has had 3 winners and 2 placed horses from 5 runners in the last 14 days, with form of 21211. He runs one horse today at Wolverhampton:
5:40 Wolverhampton – Orchid Lily
Mrs R Dobbin has had 4 winners from 7 runners in the last 2 weeks, although her good form stretches back slightly further than that, with form of 1211141F51 since January 26th. She has two runners today:
2:00 Catterick – Jack Devine
3:35 Catterick – Monfass
Ed Walker has had 3 winners from 6 runners in the last 14 days. He runs one horse today:
8:10 Wolverhampton – Bold Prediction
Rebecca Bastiman has had 3 winners and 2 placed horses from 7 runners in the last 2 weeks. She runs two today:
7:40 Wolverhampton – See Vermont
8:40 Wolverhampton – Gone With The Wind
J Scott has had 4 wins and a place from 10 runners in the last 2 weeks (in fact, he has had 4 wins and a place from 7 runners in the last 7 days). His form in the last 7 days reads 11118P2, with the horse than finished 8th having had a starting price of 50/1 and the horse than pulled up having had a starting price of 100/1. He has two runners today:
3:50 Plumpton – Two Hoots
4:20 Plumpton – Shoofly Milly
Dr Richard Newland has had 2 wins and a place from 4 runners in the last 7 days (2 wins and a place from 5 runners in the last 14 days). His form over the last 7 days reads 4211. He has one runners today:
2:35 Catterick – Aaron Lad
As we recover from an incredible weekend at Leopardstown, it’s time to settle back into midweek racing, so, as usual, here’s our update on the trainers who have been in hot form over the last two weeks.
Robin Dickin has had 4 wins and 3 places from his 8 runners in the last 14 days, with form of 111342131. He runs two horses on Monday:
2:30 Southwell – Myroundorurs
4:35 Southwell – Tara Well
Rose Dobbin has had 6 wins and 3 places from her 13 runners in the last 14 days. Her more recent record is even more impressive, with form of 1211141 since the 26th of January, and 3 wins from 4 runners in the last 7 days. She runs two horses on Monday:
3:50 Newcastle – Log On
4:20 Newcastle – Le Gavroche
Kevin Ryan has had 3 wins and a place from 8 runners in the last 14 days (including 2 wins and a place from 6 runners in the last 7 days). His two runners so far this month have won. He runs one horse on Monday:
5:45 Wolverhampton – Al Khan
Anthony Honeyball has had 3 wins and 2 places from 8 runners in the last 14 days (all in the last 7 days) with form of 11288621 (the two horses to finish 8th had starting prices of 33/1 and 25/1). He runs one horse on Monday:
3:00 Southwell – Don Lami
John Gosden has had 3 wins and 3 places from 9 runners in the last 14 days (with his two runners in the last 7 days finishing 2nd and 1st at 17/2 and 5/1 respectively). He runs one horse on Monday:
7:15 Wolverhampton – Natch