Nine-year-olds have proved the most successful age group in recent years, providing eight of the last 28 winners of the John Smith’s Grand National. Nine-year-old scorers in that period have been Lucius (1978), Grittar (1982), West Tip (1986), Rhyme ‘N’ Reason (1988), Lord Gyllene (1997), Bobbyjo (1999), Papillon (2000) and 2005 hero Hedgehunter.
There were seven winning 11-year-olds during this same timeframe – Aldaniti (1981), Last Suspect (1985), Maori Venture (1987), Mr Frisk (1990), Seagram (1991), Miinnehoma (1994) and 2001 scorer Red Marauder. Ben Nevis (1980), Little Polveir (1989), Royal Athlete (1995) and Amberleigh House (2004) at 12 are the oldest horses to succeed since 1978 Bindaree, Party Politics and Corbiere, all of whom were eight when they triumphed in 2002, 1992 and 1983 respectively, were the youngest winners of the Grand National in the same period.
Numbersixvalverde was 10 when succeeding last year and, along with Monty’s Pass (2003),
Earth Summit (1998), Rough Quest (1996), Hallo Dandy (1984) and Rubstic (1979), form the six from that age group to win since 1978. Nine-year-olds have the best record in the Grand National, having won 35 times. Lutteur III was the last five-year-old to capture the Grand National in 1909 and the fifth in all following on from Alcibiade (1865), Regal (1876), Austerlitz (1877) and Empress (1880). The current minimum age to run in the John Smith’s Grand National is six. The oldest winner, Peter Simple in 1853, was 15.