Horse racing punters are cutting down their list as we hurtle towards the off time of the Aintree Festival and Grand National. Blaklion has been a long-time leader of the ante-post market but those who enjoy a bet on the annual four-mile handicap steeplechase know there's little joy to be had in siding with the shortest price.
Only one winner has started as a stand-alone jolly in the last 13 outings, with the spare coming way back in 2005 when Ruby Walsh rode Hedgehunter to success for Willie Mullins at SP 7/1. Half of the last four champions have gone off at 25/1 with the last nine scoring at double-figure odds or more. Mon Mome won at 100/1 in 2009.
That proves it's worth having an interest on a participant at an attractive price but what's the runner for you in the 171st edition of the ancient race? A flick through recent stats suggests Gold Present deserves respect in the Grand National 2018 betting.
Source: Newbury Racecouse via Twitter
When leafing through the line-up, you would be forgiven for seeking out recent form. A winning run hasn't worked out too well in recent years with four of the last five winners of the Grand National failing to score in the start before Aintree. One For Arthur - last season's champion was the spare - but Rule The World was fourth, Many Clouds sixth, Pineau De Re third and Auroras Encore 5th.
Gold Present arrives at the Liverpool track on the back of a poor showing at the Cheltenham Festival, pulled-up by Nico de Boinville in the 3m 1f Ultima Handicap Chase. That may put a few off but perhaps we shouldn't be too quick to judge. Three of the four most-recent National winners fell flat at Prestbury Park.
10-year-olds have featured heavily in the winner's enclosure of this race throughout history but recent legs seem to be favouring younger horses, with two of the last three winners being an eight-year-old. That applies to Lucinda Russell's One For Arthur and Many Clouds for Oliver Sherwood. Sandwiched between those two is Rule The World at nine.
That'll sit well with Gold Present backers with Henderson's brown gelding coming in at eight years old. His last six runs read 2nd-2nd-fell-1st-1st-pulled-up. Those victories came in the Lavazza Silver Cup at Ascot and a 2m 6f handicap chase around Newbury.
Source: Winners Enclosure via Twitter
Finishing with the most attractive recent trend of them all and it's handy to know half of the last four winners of the race that brings a nation to a standstill have been priced at 25/1. That applies to Pineau De Re and Many Clouds.
Those were starting prices so it may just be worth waiting until closer to the off for confirmation of this one but it hasn't gone unnoticed that Gold Present also fits into that category. Age, recent form and price all working in his favour, he won't be friendless in the betting ring, especially with each-way backers looking to nick value.