Showcasing the finest horses to have graced British racing, Racehorse Legends is a stamp issue which is sure to stir a few magical memories. Eight stamps feature the horses which Royal Mail feel have been the most iconic performers from the sport of kings. These are the horses which have captured our hearts and won us a few quid along the way!
It must have been difficult to choose which horses should be celebrated in this stamp issue. Several memorable horses didn’t make the cut including Mill Reef, Dancing Brave and Night Nurse. But it is hard to argue with the equine heroes who were ultimately chosen. Red Rum, Desert Orchid, Arkle, Kuato Star and Estimate were selected for their exploits over the sticks. Frankel, Brigadier Gerard and Shergar were considered to be the greatest flat racing horses of all time.
Racehorse Legends will be issued 6 April. The following week will see the running of the 2017 Grand National. Will this year’s race at Aintree produce the next legend of the track?
Is It Possible to Predict the Winner of The Grand National?
The Grand National is surely the world’s most captivating race. Even those with absolutely no interest in horse racing often enjoy having a flutter and will pick their horses via a variety of less than scientific means! The race enjoys a reputation for being incredibly unpredictable and even the professional tipsters rarely agree on the likely result. So is it possible to pick the winner of the Grand National?
It certainly used to be! Until very recently the race was actually remarkably predictable. You could quickly narrow down the 40 strong field to a handful of horses who were in with a serious chance of winning the race. Betting on two or three of these horses each year yielded impressive returns. So what did you need you need to look for to find the winners?
It was essential to rule out any horse carrying one of the top weights. The race is a handicap which means that the highest rated horses carry the most weight. In theory, the handicapping levels the field and gives every horse an equal chance. But the Grand National is a long and arduous race and so even the most talented horses have traditionally struggled to carry more than 11 stone to victory. When Don’t Push It was victorious in the 2010 Grand National, he became the first horse for 27 years to win the race carrying more than 11 stone.
The vast majority of horses which have won the race have been aged between 9 and 12. Younger horses have rarely gained sufficient stamina to last the course whilst older horses tend to be beyond their best.
The Grand National might appear to be a bit of a lottery but you have to be a great horse to win the race. It was unusual for a quality horse not to have shown some of its ability before arriving at Aintree. Most of the Grand National Winners over the years have won a Group 1 race and significant prize money before running at Liverpool. They have also generally been horses which have demonstrated their stamina by winning a race of three miles or longer. Horses which performed well in their first National without winning were good bets to win at the second attempt.
Picking the Winner
Until recently, you could discount most of the horses in the race. As Grand National winners with very long odds were pretty rare you could then remove any horse with odds of more than 33-1 from your list of potential bets. You would then be left with only around six horses to choose from. By factoring in the going you could refine your choice further.
Of course, there were years when the rule book flew out of the window. Red Rum won the race at the age of 8 in 1973. In 1974 he carried 12 stone to victory, a feat which no horse has managed since!
Top Tip for the 2017 Grand National
Before you rush off to pick your winner for 2017, it is important to note that the Grand National has become progressively more unpredictable. This is because the race has been attracting a higher quality field in recent years. Instead of finding 6 potential winners on your short list there could be as many as 20.
In 2015 your shortlist would actually have been a very long list and probably still wouldn’t have included the winner! Many Clouds came home victorious despite the fact that he was only 8 years old and was carrying 11 stone 9lbs!
So perhaps you should forget all that analysis of the runners and riders this year and just pick the horse with the best name. If you are a fan of both Positively Postal and Royal Mail, then you surely have to bet on Definitely Red!