Identifying a Grand National winner in the early rungs of a National Hunt season is not a task for the faint-hearted, but for those willing to get involved, some lucrative prices can be taken advantage of.
It is possible in the case of many horses to identify if the Grand National is their seasonal target, with the likes of Prince De Beauchene, Teaforthree and Cappa Bleu almost certain to line up at Aintree in April, barring injury.
This knowledge is sure to be a key reason that this trio are among eight horses heading the ante-post Grand National betting at 25/1. with Ladbrokes offering the top industry price on Teaforthree, Colbert Station, Godsmejudge and Back In Focus from this group.
However, looking at the last two Grand National winners, finding a horse that is likely to encounter a drop in official rating between the season’s start and end is one of the main things to monitor.
In 2012, Neptune Collonges started the season with an official rating of 168, but had dropped to 157 when arriving at Aintree. In hindsight it is somewhat surprising that he was still as big as 33/1 in the Grand National odds on the day when considering this information.
The same is true of Auroras Encore in 2013, who won at 66/1, despite falling down the ratings from 147 to 137 on the back of a fairly uneventful season.
Therefore, pre-determining which horses will see their ratings tumble are the ones that it could pay to back now to win the 2014 Grand National.
Long Run has to be one example after flopping in the Charlie Hall Chase. Another poor run in the King George on Boxing Day could well bring a drop from his current rating of 171.
Join Together has already dropped to 146 after being rated at 150 for the last Grand National when finishing 12th.
He has been poor on his two starts since, but it is worth noting that his seasonal reappearance in France was in Grade One company.
Join Together is 33/1 in the early Grand National betting and he is now on the same mark from which he secured his last victory as a novice.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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