Bet on Grey Horses in the Grand National 2012

Grey Horses in the Grand National 2012

With 40 Grand runners, many often like to choose a grey horse to make it easier to follow round or as the old stereotypical ‘Housewives’ Favourite’ colour, many would choose to throw their pounds on a number of grey’s in the field. This year, the Grand National 2012 has four grey horses in the line up with one with a very good chance to win the Grand National.

Chicago Grey is currently 14/1 and will be the subject to many punts solely as he also has ‘grey’ in his name. He is out to end the National jinx that greys have seemingly endured in the history of the race, with only two grey horses actually ever winning the National. The last grey winner was Nicolaus Silver back in 1951, and although there have been many placed in the race, the most recent being King John’s Castle finishing second back in 2008, none have managed to get their head in front. Grey Horses in Grand National 2012


Grey Horse in the Grand National


Chicago Grey has a great chance to end the Aintree hoodoo after a series of good performances and has has shown his liking for thorough stamina tests by winning the NH Chase at Cheltenham over four miles beating subsequent Scottish Grand National winner Beshebar by four lengths. His trainer Gordon Elliot has won the National with Silver Birch in 2007, so he knows exactly what it takes to get a winner prepared for the big race. All is pointing to a big run from Chicago Grey who will surely have many fans on the day.

11 U3732 Chicago Grey (E/W TIP)
9 10-13 Gordon Elliott P Carberry 150

Grey horse. Chicago Grey: The 9-y-o is aiming to become the third grey to win the Grand National after The Lamb (1868 and 1871) and Nicolaus Silver (1961). He has shown his liking for thorough stamina tests by winning the NH Chase at Cheltenham over four miles beating subsequent Scottish Grand National winner Beshebar by four lengths. Chicago Grey was sent off for said Scottish Grand National as a well fancied favourite but seemed to showing effects of a long season as he failed to land a blow, eventually finishing eighth. At the time, many thought it was because he had had an extremely long season campaigning over long distances, but he has done nothing this season to bolster his claims in this year’s Grand National. Gordon Elliot has not been in the best of form this season but many will be hopeful that a quieter season and a return to a longer distance will benefit the horse and he will have many backers at the current 14/1. Rating 8/10

There are also three other grey horses in the line up, in the shape of Alfa Beat, Neptune Collonges and Swing Bill. All hold each way chances, with Neptune Collonges and Alfa Beat being slightly better fancied than the outsider Swing Bill.

Neptune Collonges has run in 3 Cheltenham Gold Cups as well as winning a Lexus Chase and 2 Punchestown Gold Cups. This shows that on his day, he is arguably the classiest in the field; however there are doubts about the gelding’s stamina. He is the sole representative for Paul Nicholls so he warrants respect, and his exuberant style of jumping is sure to please many spectators’.

4 6-P422 Neptune Collonges
11 11-6 Paul Nicholls Daryl Jacob 157
Neptune Collonges: Paul Nicholls big grey has had a successful career, running in 3 Cheltenham Gold Cups as well as winning a Lexus Chase and 2 Punchestown Gold Cups. However his career has often been plagued by injury, after finishing 4th in the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2009; he was off the track for 624 days, before then being brought down in the Hennessey on his return. He has managed to win only 1 of his last 10 races, which was the Argento Chase at Cheltenham in January 2011.  Neptune ran a respectable race in the Scottish National finishing 6th last year, but was then off the track for another 224 days before being pulled up in this season’s Hennessey. He has finished 2nd on his last two starts, which offer signs of encouragement, along with the fact that he is likely to be Champion Trainer Paul Nicholls’ sole representative. He has a very exuberant style of jumping which will be interesting to watch, and could help him jump the fences better than most. There are slight stamina issues but you can be assured that Nicholls will have him in the best possible shape on the day as he aims to win his first Grand National since taking out a training licence in 1991. Rating 3/10

Alfa Beat is ultra consistent and has won 7/27 races in his native Ireland culminating in a brave success in the Kerry National in 2010 under Barry Geraghty. He ran in last year’s Topham chase when falling at the fourth last, still in with a slight chance. Since then trainer John Hanlon has always stated he was going to be aimed at this year’s National, so he will be arriving in peak condition for the race.

6 6741UP Alfa Beat
8 11-5 John Joseph Hanlon D N Russell 156
Alfa Beat: A winner of 7/27 races in Ireland, John Hanlon’s gelding has never been 2nd or 3rd. Five of these wins came on the bounce, culminating in a brave success in the Kerry National in 2010 under Barry Geraghty when 6/1 second favourite. These runs gave connections hope of a tilt at bigger things and he was sent over for a crack at the 4 miler at Cheltenham where he was backed into 2nd favourite, but he did not seem to stay the extended trip and faded into 4th place. A trip to Aintree then followed for a tilt at the Topham Chase over the National fences but he fell when in touch at the fourth last. This will have sapped some confidence from the 8-y-o and you have to question how willing he will be to jumping the fences again, this time with 39 other horses by his side. But when the horse was transferred to John Hanlon last year, he stated he was always going to train him towards this year’s Grand National, meaning the horse will be in peak condition on the day. Rating 6/10

Swing Bill is currently trading at 80/1 and looks unlikely be able to mount a serious challenge to be the first grey since the 50’s to win the big race. But stranger things have happened, such as Mon Mome’s 100/1 victory back in 2009, and on his day Swing Bill has ran some very good races, including when finishing fifth in last year’s Topham Chase. This was a positive run and he is a solid jumper, so he will at least give punters a run for their money.

32 313P20 Swing Bill
11 10-3 David Pipe C O’Farrell 140
Swing Bill: After starting his career with Henrietta Knight, Swing Bill endured three years off the track before managing to score on his re-appearance for this first time, this time on his first run for trainer David Pipe. The grey’s career has since gone from strength to strength and he ran some brilliant races for owner David Johnson, who won the National back in 2008 with Comply or Die. He seemed to be heading into this year’s Becher Chase at Aintree in great form before he sadly disappointed, being pulled up after starting the 15/2 second favourite.  He did run well when finishing fifth in last year’s Topham Chase, so is experienced over the big fences at Aintree and should give Conor O’Farrell a good ride; however it will be asking a lot to win off his current handicap mark of 140. He did finish second off his mark of 141 on Boxing day, but that was an uncompetitive four runner race at Ffos Las so it is asking a lot to win a 40 runner race at Aintree, and his current odds of 80/1 shows he is unlikely to be the first grey in over 50 years Rating 3/10

If you fancy having a bet on a Grand National grey horse, the current best odds are;

Chicago Grey – 16/1 – Stan James, Neptune Collonges – 33/1 – Various, Alfa Beat – 40/1 – Various, Swing Bill – 100/1 – Stan James/SkyBet.

History of Grey Horses in the Grand National

Only two greys have won the Grand National – The Lamb (successful in both1868 and 1871) and Nicolaus Silver (1961). But greys have gone close in recent years. Suny Bay, second to Lord Gyllene in 1997, filled the same spot behind Earth Summit in 1998 when the top-weight.

Over the next two seasons, Suny Bay finished 13th, while Kendal Cavalier came seventh and 12th in the same two renewals. Baronet fell at the fourth in 1999 and Senor El Betrutti failed to get beyond the first in 2000. Two greys were among the first four home in 2002 – the runner-up What’s Up Boys and the fourth Kingsmark – while Birkdale finished 10th and two other greys, Carryonharry and Gun ‘N’ Roses, failed to complete.

There were no greys in 2003 but What’s Up Boys (brought down sixth) and Kingsmark (ninth) ran again in 2004, with the other grey that year, outsider Royal Atalza, being pulled up two out. The three greys who ran in 2005 did not fare well – Strong Resolve finished 17th, while Double Honour and Marcus Du Berlais unseated their riders.

In 2006, Ross Comm fell at the fourth, while the two greys in 2007 also failed to complete – Kandjar D’Allier fell at the eighth fence and The Outlier unseated at the 19th. King Johns Castle finished an excellent second to Comply Or Die in 2008, while the two other greys did not get round – Turko fell at Valentine’s on the second circuit and D’Argent unseated Robert Thornton two fences later.

Reveillez lined up as the only grey in the 2009 John Smith’s Grand National but the Jonjo O’Neill-trained 10-year-old, who had won a handicap chase around the Mildmay Course at the John Smith’s Grand National meeting in 2007, made an early departure after being brought down at the third fence. Four greys took part in the 2010 renewal. Character Building and Piraya completed in seventh and 13th respectively, while Beat The Boys was pulled up before the 19th fence and King Johns Castle refused to race.

The closest a grey managed behind the 2011 winner Ballabriggs was the 12th place of Scottish raider Silver By Nature, with Character Building getting around again in 15th, while Piraya finished last in 19th place and Quolibet unseated his rider at the 11th.


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