It doesn’t seem that long ago that we were just starting to get a feel for what this National Hunt season would bring.
But as is so often the way, we’ve blinked and it’s already time to look ahead to the big spring targets.
And there are few tastier than the world’s greatest steeplechase, the Grand National.
The upcoming Classic Chase should offer up a few pointers with the Grade 3 contest once again boasting a few potential Aintree hopefuls.
And ahead of the West Midlands track’s big day we’ve undergone a close examination of recent trends to offer up our own insight into the 3m5f slog.
A full quota of 20 horses are set to line-up with Doctor Harper and Houblon Des Obeaux currently disputing favouritism.
The latter will run off joint top-weight and with just one top-weight winner in the last 10 years we’re going to ruthlessly cross Venetia Williams’ charge off our list.
And in another fell swoop we’re also going dismiss the lower-rated horses given the fact that seven of the last 10 renewal victors were rated 133 and above.
The result of this move leaves 2013 hero Rigadin De Beauchene (sorry Venetia), Spookydooky and Kingswell Theatre out in the cold.
However, perhaps one of the most significant trends concerns how active these runners have been recently.
Horses that have run in the last 50 days have taken each of the last 10 Classic Chases and applying that logic means we’ll have to wave goodbye to lively contenders Shotgun Paddy, Viva Steve and Vivaldi Collonges.
With no particular strong trends on age we’re going to ignore that statistic and instead concentrate on arguably the first place you’d look on a racecard – form.
Eight of the last 10 Classic Chase winners finished in the first three on their completed start and given everything we know there’s one horse in particular that catches our eye.
Tom Symonds’ KAKI DE LA PREE has finished in the first three on each of his six previous starts over fences.
His one victory over the larger obstacles came at a left-handed track and don’t let that strike-rate put you off.
Eight of the last 10 winners of this race had won between one and three chase wins and this ultra-consistent sort could well provide the answer this weekend.
Click here for the latest Classic Chase odds.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing