Grand National winner tip goes to Blade runner

All new customers are eligible for a free �25 matched bet! This Saturday at 4.15 pm sees the 162nd running of the greatest steeplechase contest in the horse racing world – the John Smith’s Grand National. Forty brave horses and jockeys will attempt to negotiate 30 fences over a trip of 4� miles

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• 1st Kilbeggan Blade (27/1)

• 2nd Southern Vic (35/1)

• 3rd Himalayan Trail (33/1)

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• 4th Kelami (339/1)

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This Saturday at 4.15 pm sees the 162nd running of the greatest steeplechase contest in the horse racing world - the John Smith's Grand National. Forty brave horses and jockeys will attempt to negotiate 30 fences over a trip of 41/2 miles. It is my task to provide a few pointers into this weekend's race at Aintree, with a view to marking your card and, hopefully, picking the winner.

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Last year I followed a rather basic formula regarding recent trends of previous National winners and our selection, King John's Castle, finished second at 20/1. Therefore I have decided to follow the same selection process this year in a hope that we go one better!

The first trend to look at is that of the weight carried to victory. Over the last 15 years only one horse has carried more than 10stone 12lb to victory (Hedgehunter in 2005). This gruelling race obviously takes it toll on horses at the top of the handicap and it appears that the horses lower down the handicap carrying less weight fare more favourably. If we are to follow this trend than we can narrow the original 40 horses down to 22.

A further trend is that over the same 15 year period, only one winner has not been in the nine-12 year-old age bracket (in 2002, the race won by Bindaree). Once again, if the trend is to followed, out of our 22 horses, 18 still remain in contention.

As we know, the National is run over 41/2 miles and obviously stamina is a real concern. Every winner for almost four decades has won a previous race over three miles or further in its career. Our 18 horses now become 15.

Rather surprisingly, due to the huge obstacles that the horses will encounter, five of the last six winners have run over the smaller hurdles during the season they won the National. This now takes us to only four horses from which to choose.

Of those that are left, I feel that Kilbeggan Blade, off 10stone 7lb, is very well weighted and has the necessary stamina to defy his odds of 27-1. Ridden by Graham Lee he has an exceptional chance as the ground will not be a worry and he is a proven jumper. He has already beaten the fancied Rambling Minister this season and is better off at the weights. Of the others, Southern Vic (35/1), trained by Ted Walsh, who won the race in 2000, was a class act a few years ago. If he can return to his best then he also has a great chance. I think that Himalayan Trail (33/1) and Kelami (339/1) are lively outsiders who could give us a good run for our money.

In what is a very open race this year, My Will, trained by Paul Nicholls, is the ante-post favourite at 8/1 following his impressive run in the Cheltenham Gold Cup behind Kauto Star. However I feel that these odds represent little value.

Comply Or Die, winner of the National last year, takes his chance again this year but would have to become the first horse since Red Rum (1973 and 1974) to complete back-to-back wins. In addition, this year he will have to carry 9lbs more than he did when victorious last year.

I know that all of the above may seem a very simplistic way in which to choose the winner of the National. However these trends are obviously there for a reason and should clearly not be under-estimated.

Let's hope for a great race with hopefully some financial reward at the end of it, but more importantly that all of the horses and jockeys that take part return safe and sound.

Betfair, the world's largest betting exchange, have kindly donated 4 x �25 win bets on each of our selections. Any winnings will be donated to a local charity that we are supporting in 2009. Our thanks goes to Betfair for their support.

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