Haydock Grand National Trial Reaction – Yala Enki beats Blaklion
Therefore, the result of Grand National Trial at Haydock always has to be taken with a pinch of salt. But with the current Grand National favourite – Blaklion – running in the February 17, 2018 race, how did his performance impact the betting?
Despite having ‘Grand National Trial’ in it’s race title, February’s Haydock race hasn’t actually seen a winner go onto land the Aintree Grand National in the same season. Party Politics, who won the Grand National in 1992 and Red Rum, who landed the Merseyside Marathon three times in the 70’s, did win this race, but not in the same years.
Grand National Trial – Haydock
Blaklion, the 9 year-old who was fourth in the 2017 Grand National, managed second in the Haydock Grand National Trial. But the Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained runner was carrying a whopping 11st-12lbs. He was beaten a massive 54 lengths by the Venetia Williams-trained Yala Enki, who was receiving 15lbs off Blaklion. However, despite this defeat, surprisingly, the bookmakers haven’t reacted much with his current Grand National price. He’s still generally around 10/1* in the ante post betting.
The Grand National weights already published. So these can’t change now in the build-up to the big race on April 14th. So why hasn’t Blaklion’s price got bigger after this recent defeat?
Many will feel that with 11-12 in weight he was up against it at the Haydock Grand National Trial. But off a mark of 161 then he’s still going to have to carry 11st 6lbs in the Grand National. Which is just 6lbs less. He seems to love the unique Aintree fences and was a good winner of the Becher Chase in December. Plus, his overall Aintree record reads well too. He’s never been out of the first four from his four previous runs at the course (hurdles, fences and Grand National course).
However, it’s also worth reminding ourselves that he’s rated 9lbs higher than when he finished fourth in the 2017 Grand National. He carried 11-1 that day and looks set to have to shoulder 11-6 in April. So, for us, he’s certainly no value at around 10/1.
Of course, we can expect the ‘once-a-year’ punters to latch onto him. They’ll remember him running well 12 months ago. Many feel that he’s also a much better horse this season and they are probably right. But his new higher rating reflects this.
At 9 years-old he’s the perfect age and will be also be a stronger horse than 12 months ago. But he’s going to need to be as he’ll have more weight to carry this time. He was still beaten just over 8 lengths last time so also have this ground to make up. His trainer – Nigel Twiston-Davies – has said that if jockey Noel Fehily held onto him for longer last year – instead of kicking on with about 4 fences to go – then he’d have got a lot closer.
Does the Grand National Favourite ever win?
In our view, you have to ask yourself a few questions:
If Blaklion couldn’t win the race off a lighter weight in 2017, why is he going to in 2018?
Having been beaten 54 lengths in the Haydock Trial by a horse rated 146 then does he represent value at around 10/1 in the Grand National betting market Unfortunately, the winner of the 2018 Haydock Grand National Trial – Yala Enki – doesn’t hold an entry for the Aintree Grand National. But at just 8 years-old then this Venetia Williams-trained stayer does have time on his side and there’s a good chance we’ll see this horse at future Nationals.
The third horse in the Haydock National Trial was the Michael Scudamore-trained Mysteree. This 10 year-old does hold an entry in the Grand National. But he’s currently 86th on the list, so would need just over 40 horses to drop out first. Don’t forget, the maximum number of runners you can have in the Grand National is 40.
So, in summary, it’s a bit of a strange one as to why the bookmakers haven’t lengthened the price of Blaklion after his recent second in the Haydock Trial. Of course, he’s still a very big player in the race. But doesn’t seem to be any value at around 10/1. The bookmakers are not taking any chances on a horse they know has good history in the Grand National and also seems to relish the tricky fences. However, in a race that you also need bundles of luck in, he’s still no value. If his price did drift out 14/1 or bigger then that would be of more interest. But for now we’re happy to let him keep his place at the head of the market – this just means we can shop around for better value with the rest of the field!
2018 Haydock Grand National Trial Results
1st YALA ENKI (8/1)
2nd Blaklion (9/4 fav)
3rd Mystree (9/1)
(8 ran, only 3 finished)
*All odds subject to change.