Grand National 2020 – Who ‘would’ have won
With the sad news that there will be no 2020 Grand National, we will never know what might have been but using a point-based simuation based on past results we will attempt to unlock how the mystery might have played out.
The following differentials will earn runners points:
- Win last time out (10 points). The vast majority of recent National winners won their last start.
- Aged 8-11 years old (10 points). The last horse outside of this age group to win was Amberleigh House in 2004.
- Weight (1 point for each lb below 11st 12lbs to a maximum of 10 points). Although the burden of big weights isn’t what it quite was with the course changes, the majority of winners do race from lower down the weights.
- Won or placed over 3m3f or further (10 points). Every winner since Many Clouds had gone beyond 3m2f into marathon territory and run well.
- Irish Trained (10 points). The last two years have seen 1,2,3,4 and 1,2,3,5 finishes for Irish trained runners. Irish runners similarly dominated Cheltenham handicaps.
- Course Experience (5 points). Although 10 of the last 12 winners were running in the race for the first time one must consider experience over the Grand National fences a plus.
- Trainer with previous National win (5 points). The National brings together the mega stables and small yards alike but having won the race before is an obvious plus.
- Cheltenham turnaround (minus 5 points). Although horses to have run at the Cheltenham Festival have traditionally done well, the 15 days between Gold Cup day and National day would have been a big concern for many.
So after much number crunching here is our outcome-
Acapella Bourgeois & Any Second Now (55 points).
2005 winner Willie Mullins sees his runner do the same double Hedgehunter did 15 years ago as he dead-heats with 2000 winning trainer Ted Walsh. Walsh’s recent Naas winner, who won at the Cheltenham Festival as a novice gives legendary owner JP McManus a second win in the race after Don’t Push It a decade earlier.
Ballyoptic & Total Recall (50 points)
Nigel Twiston-Davies, who has twice won the National, sees his recent Ascot winner fall agonisingly short with the recent Irish dominance costing him points after ticking every other box. Total Recall won the Thyestes against more fancied stablemate Acapella Bourgeois last time but sees the tables turned although he again runs a fine race in a big-field handicap.
Weight ultimately told for Tiger Roll (35 points) with all those ahead of him earning 10 points for weight pulls. His defeat and participation at Cheltenham also cost him dearly as he finished midfield in our simulation.
Age and lack of Aintree experience cost Mullins’ Burrows Saint (45 points) who saw two less fancied stablemates finish ahead. Definitly Red and Kimberlite Candy brought identical profiles earning 45 points each with being British trained and from a yard which hasn’t won before their major downfall. Last year’s runner-up Magic Of Light was also in the 45-point scramble just behind the leaders.
Other disappointments of the race were Pleasant Company, Le Breuil and Walk In The Mill. Their recent defeats were costly with age, Cheltenham runs, and distance won over also costing points.