People who don't follow form will have you believe the Grand National is a lottery. 'Anyone can win it,' is the old adage, but that simply is not true anymore.

Here are the ten key factors that should be considered when analysing the 40 runners, in search of the winner:

1) Quality: In recent years, as the race has got safer, the quality in depth of the runners has improved.

2) Safer: Due to pressure from the RSPCA and other animal rights groups the fences are far tamer than they were in yesteryear. Points 1 & 2 mean the Grand National is no longer a lottery. When deciding your selection treat the Grand National as just another long-distance handicap chase. One affect of the changes to the course is that the quality of the runners has increased markedly in recent years. However they have tried to improve safety, fatalities still occur. There were two in 2012, including strongly-fancied Synchronised who had won the Cheltenham Gold Cup on his previous start.

3) Previous experience: Horses with a good previous experience of the Grand National fences tend to run well. So look out for them in the Grand National betting. For example, the 2007 hero Silver Birch had won around the course in the 2004 Becher Chase. The last ten years have seen scores of horses with previous experience run into a place. Trainer Ginger McCain's Amberleigh House placed in the 2003 Grand National and then won in 2004. However, on the other side of the coin, it is worth noting that  the most recent horse has to win the Grand National more than once was the aforementioned McCain's Red Rum in 1977. So go for good course form but ignore previous winners of the race, who may be handicapped out of it (i.e: their handicap mark, which decides the weight they will carry in relation to the other Grand National runners, is now too high).

4) Trials to note: Specific races during the season appear to hold the key to the Grand National winner. One race that has a huge bearing historically is the Hennessey Gold Cup at Newbury. This is strange as the Hennessey takes places early in the season and the Grand National effectively marks the end of the jumps season. However the Hennessey is possibly the classiest handicap chase of the year, so it bears out the need to look for a class act when trying to find the National winner. In the last two decades seven Grand National winners and eleven placed horses have run well in the Hennessy Gold Cup. Other 'trial' races with great records of producing Grand National winners or placed horses are: The Irish National at Fairyhouse, The Welsh National and the Cheltenham Gold Cup. In 2012 the runner-up in the Haydock Grand National Trial, Neptune Collonges, went on to win at Aintree.

5) Horse's age: Look for a horse aged 9-12 years. The ages of six, seven, thirteen and fourteen have a dreadful record, with no placings at all since 1988, and should be ruled out. In 2010 and 2011 both winners were ten and in 2012 it was an eleven-year-old. No horse under 8 has won since 1940 and no horse over 12 has won since 1923. That means don't back a teenager.

6) Stamina: Since 1970 every Grand National hero had won over a distance of three miles or further. Rule out any horse that has not done so or they will not last out the four and a half mile trip.

7) French: The French have supplied some very fancied runners in recent years. No French bred thoroughbred has won the Grand National for nearly a hundred years with the exception of 100/1 shot Mon Mome in 2009 and Neptune Collonges in 2012 and they came from the yards of English trainers. This is not a statistic freak or oddity, the French stock tend be bred more for speed than extreme stamina. Rule them out.

8) Blinkers: With the odd exception, horses wearing blinkers or a visor have a desperate record. Four and half miles and those gruelling fences gives any horse of suspect temperament plenty of time to throw the towel in - and they do. You can rule them out.

9) Weight: Horses carrying over 11 stone have historically struggled to win the race, though Neptune Collonges (11st 6lb in 2012) was a rare winner to defy this statistic. Horses out of the handicap (below 10 stone) rarely win. Rule them out. Don't be confused by this. All horses carry a minimum weight of 10 stone in the Grand National however in some years there are horses who should be carrying less weight than this if they were allowed to. The is shown in newspapers as their 'long handicap weight.' By carrying 10 stone (instead of say 9st 9lb) they are carrying overweight and are at a big disadvantage.

10) Betting odds: Last and probably least is the fact that recent trends demonstrate the winner tends to come from the first ten of the 40 runners in the Grand National betting. However this can be misleading. Horses that hit most of the above criteria in points 1-9 have won the Grand National at big prices such as Royal Athlete (40/1) and Silver Birch (33/1). In 2009 there was a 100/1 winner in Mon Mome and the 2012 winner, Neptune Collonges, was 33/1.

So if you are looking for the winner of The Grand National look for horses that fit the criteria above and you should find yourself another high-class, big-priced and not too old winner.

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