THE RANDOX HEALTH GRAND NATIONAL FESTIVAL 2017: HEAD OF HANDICAPPING BLOG
ONE FOR ARTHUR’S SUCCESS IN THE RANDOX HEALTH GRAND NATIONAL PROVIDES A WELCOME BOOST FOR NORTHERN JUMP RACING says Phil Smith.
Following in the footsteps of Auroras Encore (2013) and Ballabriggs (2011), the world’s most famous horse race has been won by northern trained horses on three occasions in the last seven years.
Much has already been written about the brilliant ride given to the winner by Derek Fox which indeed it was. It was an unusual National in that all bar one of the first twelve home got hold up rides. Look at the Raceform comments – “held up” was used four times, “mid div” (four times) and “towards rear” (thrice). Arguably Rogue Angel and Roi Des Francs at one point went too fast. This was not in the early stages but might have been towards the end of the first circuit and going out for the second one. It was noticeable that, after being badly hampered by a loose horse, Roi Des Francs was back in front in less than a furlong.
One For Arthur ran a very similar race to his one at Warwick. In my notes for that race are the comments that it was a very good pace given the heavy ground and that Vivaldi Collonges, Rigadin de Beauchene and Shotgun Paddy set it up for a closer. One For Arthur is not blessed with great pace. However he has two great qualities which will hold him in good stead next year. He jumps and he stays.
I have put him up 8lb for winning, from 148 to 156. In this year’s race that would have given him 11st 5lb. Would he have won carrying that weight this year? I do not know but I am sure he would have had a chance. That is the object of the official Handicapper – to give all of the horses an equal chance. Of course he is only eight years old. There has not been a younger Grand National winner since 1940. So there may be some more improvement in him for next year’s Randox Health Grand National.