Grand National Trial Preview: Tips, Betting Offers and Odds, Haydock, 16 February 2019
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
Odds correct at the time of writing and are subject to change.
- Red Infantry to win at 14/1 with Coral
- Chef D’Oeuvre each way at 16/1 with bet365
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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 Betting Tips and Race Preview
British horse racing is still working hard to cope with the effects of the recent equine flu outbreak. The shutdown was thankfully short but the preparations for the big races still to come have certainly been impacted. Many trainers will be unable to run their leading charges in the coming weeks but the field for the Grand National Trial at Haydock remains strong. 16 horses are set to go to post for this Grade 3, 3m4½f. Connections of them all are hopeful of a big win in Aintree in a couple of months but who will come out on top here?
Not Simply a Warm Up
The Haydock Grand National Trial is an historic race which was first run in 1948. Over that time it has sent some quality performers to the Grand National at Aintree but winning here is no guarantee of a run, let alone a win, in the big one.
Yala Enki, for example, won last year’s renewal without even having an entry for the Grand National. He does have an entry this time but at 100/1 to win at Aintree connections are much more interested in the £57,000 up for grabs for the winner of the Grand National Trial.
This is very much a worthwhile race in its own right and certainly offers us a very interesting betting heat. There are some helpful trends to aid punters so we should be looking at horses who have won between two and four times over fences, are aged nine or younger and are carrying a maximum of 11st.
Red Infantry Ticks All the Boxes
Ian Williams has been concentrating on Red Infantry’s chances of winning at Haydock but his connections must have more than half an eye on the Grand National. He holds an entry for Aintree and is getting some support at a general price of 66/1 which may could well come in after his performance at Haydock.
After winning at Haydock earlier in the season and then running a mighty race to finish second at Sandown in the London National, Red Infantry’s performance last time out in the Peter Marsh Handicap looked as though the handicapper may have got the better of him.
That’s not an assessment shared by connections who believe he still has some big wins in him. He has enough stamina to get the trip, has won at Haydock before and is carrying less 10st 12lb so is well priced at odds of 14/1 with Coral.
Another Big Haydock Performance From Chef D’Oeuvre
As well as passing the tests laid out above, coming into the Grand National Trial in good form is a positive. For those reasons, connections of Chef D’Oeuvre are looking forward to another big performance from the eight-year-old at Haydock.
He won a handicap last time out at Haydock where he made the most of a lower mark having stepped up in class and could repeat the trick on Saturday. Winning is a big ask at 16/1 with bet365 but he may just claim a place carrying just 10st.
Previous Race Winners
- 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.