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King of Stats: Grand National Trial top-weight Benvolio can score

| 12.02.2015

As a humble viceroy to the inestimable King of Stats, it has fallen to your lowly scribe to relay His Numerical Majesty’s thoughts on Haydock’s Grand National Trial.

Paul Nicholls’ short-head Welsh National silver medallist Benvolio tops the betting at 9/2 despite being saddled with top weight.

If he can overcome that drawback and survive the strictures of the King of Stats’ wheat-from-the-chaff threshing numerals he will be a truly deserving winner, and the numbers say he just might…

Firstly, each and every winner during the last decade had won between twice and four times over fences.

Here we part company with David Pipe’s 8/1 envoy Broadway Buffalo and the well fancied 12/1-shot Trustan Times, both of whom have just a chase win to their names.

The veteran Ballyoliver, the 20/1 outsider, is the sole runner unlucky enough to be ruled out by virtue of having won too many races.

However, he would also have faced expulsion on grounds of advanced age, with seven of the last ten winners aged between seven and nine when triumphant.

Meanwhile all bar three of the placed horses during that period also came from the preferred vintages.

Sweeping aside the older representatives really cuts the card down to size, with no fewer than six horses ruled out on trends.

Monbeg Dude (11/2) is the most fancied of those to fall by the wayside, with Benbens (8/1), 2014 winner Rigadin de Beauchene (10/1), Lie Forrit (12/1) Mountainous (14/1) and Harry The Viking (16/1) all excommunicated.

At this point the King of Stats leaves us with four runners, Loch Ba (16/1), Gas Line Boy (10/1), Samstown (8/1) and the aforementioned favourite, Benvolio.

It’s here that the trends cease aiding punters in cutting down the field and begin pointing solely in the direction of Paul Nicholls’ 9/2 shot.

All seven of the top weights to finish the race since 2003 have placed or won, three going on to land the victor’s novelty cheque.

Moreover, it’s a trend that has seen a resurgence more recently, with the horse carrying most weight at least placing in five of the last seven renewals.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.