This supports a broader trend relating to the world’s greatest steeplechase, which is that there’s no substitute for experience. Five of the first 11 past the post last year were also 10-year-olds and over.
This year’s renewal on Merseyside promises to be as open as ever. Couple that with the above stats, and it begs the question should punters be looking to back older horses? Taking this veterans angle, here are four horses over the age of 10 that could go well in the 2018 Grand National and may be worth an each-way punt.
With 2017 winner One For Arthur and runner-up Cause Of Causes both ruled out of Aintree this year, that leaves the third horse past the post Saint Are as the best performer from 12 months ago set to go again. Trained by Tom George since the start of the 2014/15 season, this 12-year-old has had seven career starts over the special Aintree course.
Saint Are has placed in two Grand Nationals – also back in 2015 when he was second behind the late, great Many Clouds. He has also fallen at the first fence and been pulled up in the race too, but races off the same mark as last year and that gives him claims of making the frame yet again at 50/1 with Paddy Power's Grand National latest odds.
Gas Line Boy Last year’s Grand National fifth Gas Line Boy also holds an entry in the Topham Chase over those unique spruce fences during the Aintree Festival. If taking up his engagement in the big race once again, then the 12-year-old gets in off an official rating of 4lb higher than 12 months ago. The Ian Williams trained 12-year-old won the Grand Sefton Handicap Chase held over 2m 5f on the National course. That is the same distance as the Topham, but 33/1 Grand National chance Gas Line Boy has already demonstrated he can handle the marathon trip.
One For Arthur landed the Classic Chase on route to Grand National glory last season, so Warwick successor Milansbar is another thorough stayer to consider. The Neil King trained 11-year-old doesn’t have any Aintree experience but is set to be partnered by popular rising star jockey Bryony Frost in the big one. While prominent racer Milansbar needs a few more horses to drop out to be sure of a run, he should sneak in off a nice racing weight of 10st 5lb. Although only fifth in the Eider Chase at Newcastle after his Warwick win, he was also second in the Midlands Grand National and these displays over 4m plus show no doubt about Milansbar’s Aintree credentials at 33/1.
Winning the Welsh Grand National as a 13-year-old was hugely impressive from Raz De Maree and connections will be hoping it’s third time lucky at Aintree. Trained in Ireland by Gavin Cromwell, he also finished runner-up to subsequent Cheltenham Gold Cup hero Native River at Chepstow during the previous season.
No 13-year-old has won the Grand National in the postwar era, but 40/1 chance Raz De Maree hasn’t finished outside the first two when completing three of his four starts this campaign. He was unlucky when unseating while avoiding a fallen horse at Aintree last year and Raz De Maree was also eighth back in the 2014 running.