Usually far outnumbered in the Grand National, grey runners have a massive following with plenty of punters willing to back them simply because of their colour. Unfortunately, they don’t have the greatest record of winning the race with Neptune Collonges the last to reign victorious in 2012.
In fact, other than the Paul Nicholls trained Neptune Collonges in 2012, there has only ever been two other grey winners with Nicolaus Silver taking the honours in 1961 and over one hundred years ago a runner called The Lamb won it in 1868 and 1871 – that’s three winners in 146 years!
Grey Runners In 2018
This year’s crop of runners isn’t exactly littered with greys with only two still entered and only one of them, the 16/1 shot Baie Des Iles, guaranteed a spot at the starting line.
Vintage Clouds, while still in contention, still needs five runners to get withdrawn at the last declaration stage to make the cut. Usually that would be a difficult task but it has been a wet start to April in Liverpool, with nearly a month’s worth of rain falling in the first 10 days.
That makes the going very difficult and it’s anticipated that the course will be the wettest since 2001 which means some trainers and owners may have some last minute reservations about running in the race. Should that happen, Vintage Clouds may get a place and odds on him are currently around 33/1.
The 11-year-old Neptune Collonges in 2012 became the first grey victor since Nicolaus Silver in 1961 and gave champion jump trainer Paul Nicholls his first Grand National victory with his 53rd runner. That win sealed a seventh consecutive trainers’ title for Nicholls, who had trailed main rival Nicky Henderson by £150,000 going into the great race, which was worth a record £975,000. The win prize money of £547,267 transformed the situation.
Neptune Collonges was sent off as a 33/1 chance by the bookmakers with the Tote paying over 46/1 but with jockey Daryl Jacob on board he managed to beat out Sunnyhillboy by a nose which is the record for the shortest winning margin in the National – there was even a photo finish!
These days bookmakers can often pay out to six places so there is still a chance that if your grey does well you may still win some money if you’ve backed it each way.
Greys That Have Placed Recently
- 2008 King Johns Castle (2nd)
- 2002 What’s Up Boys (2nd)
- 2002 Kingsmark (4th)
- 1998 Suny Bay (2nd)
- 1997 Suny Bay (2nd)
A couple of times in the last ten years you would have had some winnings if you’d backed a grey but more often than not you’d have been tearing up your betting slip!
Results For Greys In Last Five Grand Nationals
- 2017: La vaticane – 15th, Saphir Du Rheu – faller
- 2016: Unioniste – 10th
- 2015: Corrin Wood – pulled up, Unioniste – faller, Portrait King – faller, Ballycasey – brought down
- 2014: Swing Bill – 9th, Walkon – pulled up, Our Father – unseated
- 2013: Swing Bill – 6th, Tarquinius – 8th, Chicago Grey – pulled up, Quel Esprit – pulled up
Will a grey win in 2018? Baie Des Iles has been cut from 66/1 to 16/1 and will make history if she wins. Vintage Clouds from winning trainer Sue Smith is no slouch either and recently placed third in the Ultima handicap Chase at Cheltenham and could give owner Trevor Hemmings his fourth Grand National win – he just has to get in first!