Grand National Trial Preview: Tips, Betting Offers and Odds, Haydock, 15 February 2020
Heading into February and much of the racing world’s focus will of course be centred upon the looming Cheltenham Festival. There is, however, another major racing event on the horizon at this time of year and Haydock plays host to one of its key trials.
Here we take a look at the best odds and offers and provide our betting tips for the Grand National Trial.
This Grade 3, 3m4f contest was first run at Haydock in 1947. Open to chasers aged five and older, the race now offers over £40,000 in prize money to winning connections. Will one of these horses go on to win the big one at Aintree later in the year? Take a look at our Grand National offers and tips for the lowdown on the world’s most famous race!
Grand National Trial Betting Tips 2020
Odds correct at the time of writing and are subject to change.
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Free Bets, Enhanced Odds and Betting Offers
Latest offers for the race will appear here a few days before it runs. Alternatively, take a look at our betting tips and offers for the Ascot Chase! Also check out our main Grand National Betting Offers page.
Grand National Trial Tips and Betting Offers, 3:15, 15th February 2020
The Grand National Trial at Haydock is used by connections of many horses who are fancied to run well in the Grand National as a chance to get a challenging race under their belts in the lead up to Aintree. This is an important trial in terms of assessing performance but results at Haydock don’t automatically translate to Aintree. 1992 Grand National winner, Party Politics, is the last horse to win both races and he won the Trial after the main race!
Cyrname to Bounce Back from King George Let Down
Lord Du Mesnil goes into the race as the narrow favourite from The Two Amigos and the top weighted Elegant Escape. The seven-year-old’s billing as the favourite is justified given that he’s won his last three races, each at an increased trip and he has still be fairly treated by the handicapper with 10st 11lb to carry on Saturday.
The one concern is that this is a significant step up in trip even if he has shown his ability to run well on heavy ground at Haydock before. Vintage Clouds, by contrast, has bags of proven class over the longer trips, having run in some huge staying handicaps before.
He was well backed for last year’s Grand National but was never able to show what he’s capable of as he fell in running. It could be different this time around at Aintree and he can prove his staying credentials in the Grand National Trial at odds of 6/1 with Coral.
Arthur Shaping Well Again
One For Arthur is one of those in the field for the Grand National Trial who doesn’t yet have a place in the Grand National itself. He needs a number of horses to drop out of the running if he is to get a spot at Aintree but connections are hopeful given that the handicapper gave him the same rating of 148 from which he won the Grand National in 2017.
Having missed the entire season after his Aintree heroics, One For Arthur has fewer miles on the clock than many other 11-year-old chasers. Lucinda Russell and the others connected to him have been happy with his work so far this season and hopes are high that he will give a good account of himself in the Grand National even if winning it again looks a little beyond him.
One For Arthur certainly has the stamina and jumping ability to cope with the forecasted horrible conditions at Haydock on Saturday so looks well priced for an each way bet at 10/1 with bet365.
The Grand National Trial might not be the best indicator for success for the Grand National but it is a very good prize in its own right and, as always, with throw up some clues for Aintree. Both Vintage Clouds and One For Arthur have proven their class over this sort of demanding 3 miles 4½ furlong trip and they’re both fancied to run well on Saturday.
Previous Race Winners
- 2019 – Robinsfirth – jockey Sean Bowen, trainer Colin Tizzard
- 2018 – Yala Enki – jockey Charlie Deutsch, trainer Venetia Williams
- 2017 – Vieux Lion Rouge – jockey Tom Scudamore, trainer David Pipe
- 2016 – Bishops Road – jockey Richard Johnson, trainer Kerry Lee
- 2015 – Lie Forrit – jockey Peter Buchanan , trainer Lucinda Russell
- 2014 – Rigadin De Beauchene – jockey Robbie Dunne, trainer Venetia Williams
- 2013 – Well Refreshed – jockey Joshua Moore, trainer Gary Moore
- 2012 – Giles Cross – jockey Denis O’Regan, trainer Victor Dartnall
- 2011 – Silver By Nature – jockey Peter Buchanan, trainer Lucinda Russell
- 2010 – Silver By Nature – jockey Peter Buchanan, trainer Lucinda Russell
- 2009 – Rambling Minster – jockey James Reveley, trainer Keith Reveley
- 2008 – Miko de Beauchene – jockey Andrew Thornton, trainer Robert & Sally Alner
- 2007 – Heltornic – jockey Tom Scudamore, trainer Michael Scudamore
Grand National Trial History
First run at Haydock’s Merseyside venue in 1947, this race hasn’t enjoyed the smoothest of passages throughout its history. No fewer than 12 editions have been abandoned due to the vagaries of the British weather. In addition, no race was even scheduled between the years of 1985 and 1990.
The event then made a comeback in 1991 when the existing Greenall Whitley Gold Cup had its distance extended to 3m4f, effectively becoming a reincarnation of the pre-1985 contest. It took another five years before the actual title of the race reverted back to, “The Grand National Trial”, but it has remained in place ever since. The only variations in the event’s moniker have come through the variety of sponsors who have lent their support to the event. Hotel company, the De Vere Group and betting firms, Blue Square and Tote are among those to have backed this contest.
Whilst the demands of this marathon do provide a useful preparation ahead of the big one at Aintree, there aren’t many horses who have gone on to win the Grand National itself having landed this trial. Party Politics took this the year after his Aintree success, whilst the legendary Red Rum already had two Nationals in the bag prior to taking this in 1975. He did of course then go on to record a remarkable third National triumph in 1977.
Cool Ground (1991) and Master Oats (1994) are interesting in that they each recorded wins in this event and the Welsh National before going on to take the stayers championship of the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Goosander (1955 & 1957) and Silver By Nature (2010 & 2011) also deserve a mention as the only runners to win this twice. Having taken this at 12 years of age in 1958, Giles Farnaby is the elder statesmen on our list of previous winners. The top weight carrying performances belong to Solfen and Red Rum, who each shouldered a welter burden of 12st to victory.
It took a long time before the greatest jumps jockey of all time, Sir AP McCoy tasted success in the Grand National itself, and he never once came home in front in this trial throughout his career. Contemporaries Richard Johnson and Ruby Walsh recorded one win apiece but out in front with four victories is the less heralded Peter Buchanan.
Lucinda Russell was the lady to provide Buchanan with three of his triumphant mounts. Her hat-trick of wins in the contest put her in a three-way tie for the lead in the training ranks with Fred Rimmell and Neville Crump.