What’s the most popular age for a Grand National winner?

The first point to mention about the age of recent Grand National winners is that, in 2012, the race conditions were changed such that horses aged less than seven years became ineligible. However, no horse aged less than eight years has won the Grand National since Bogskar in 1940, so the change is of little consequence.

For the record, the oldest winner of the Grand National was the 15-year-old Peter Simple in 1853, while the youngest winners were the five-year-olds Alcibiade, in 1865, Regal, in 1876, Austerlitz, in 1877, Empress, in 1880, and Lutteur III, in 1909. Overall, the most popular age for a Grand National winner is nine. Nine-year-olds have won 47, or 27%, of the 173 runnings of the Grand National since its inception in 1839.

Since the turn of the twenty-first century, just one 12-year-old, Amberleigh House in 2004, has won the Grand National and no horse older than that has been successful. Otherwise, notwithstanding the previous comment about horses aged less than eight years, there has been uniform split between the ages of the winners. Five eight-year-olds, five nine-year-olds, five 10-year-olds and four 11-year-olds have won the Grand National in the last twenty runnings. In other words, apart from suggesting that relatively young, inexperienced horses should be avoided, along with those into the veteran stage of their careers, recent trends offer few clues about the likely age of the winner.