Between now and the day of the big race we will try and analyse the Grand National Form chance of some of the major players in greater depth.
Comply Or Die.
I can fully understand the attractiveness of Comply Or Die for the National at some of the fancier prices that some of the shrewdies on our forum have availed themselves of but I’m not sure that 12 or 14/1 makes much appeal, even for a horse with confirmed stamina.
Stamina he undoubtedly has but there must be some question marks about the chances of him consistently repeating his positive performances over a longer trip. The facts show five attempts at 28 furlongs or further and form figures of: P, 6th, P, P, 1st
Undoubtedly there were excuses for the poor runs but inconsistency must be a worry.
According the stats that I can find going back to 1989 no winner of the Eider Chase has gone on to contend the Grand National in that same season. However, eight placed horses from the Newcastle marathon have gone on to try their luck at Aintree in the same year and have finished as follows: 6th, 9th, UR, 7th, 3rd, 5th, PU, PU.
Only two of the Eider placed horses were under 20/1 when lining up in the Grand National and both got round finishing 9th and 3rd respectively. This could indicate that whilst Eider horses undoubtedly have the stamina required for the Grand National perhaps the February date of the Newcastle race does not leave enough time for horses to fully get over the exertions of a four mile race and then to head to Aintree with a winning chance?
These exertions may be particularly relevant in the case of Comply Or Die. Off for nearly two years before returning to the course in October 2007, he has had a couple of hard races since December with the defeat behind Cloudy Lane at Haydock and the victory in the Eider. I am always concerned about just how fragile a horse with a history of injury problems may be in the future? Granted, one who can win so impressively over four miles with nearly twelve stone on his back gives every indication of being 100% recovered but his ability to recover quickly from a hard race MAY be more under question.
I can also not forget that Timmy Murphy, when interviewed on tv after the Eider, commented something along the lines that ‘it did not ride like a great race’ – so perhaps whilst it was an impressive weight carrying performance there might not have been a great strength in depth to the race?
The positive angle to Comply Or Die is that he could be a much better horse than he is currently handicapped. His two narrow defeats by Trabolgan in the Sun Alliance Chase and Hennessy might suggest a horse who should have over 11 stone on his back in the National. In a novice chase in Oct 04 he received 5lb from Ollie Magern and got beat 2 and half lengths. If both turn up in the National, Comply Or Die will receive 1st 2lb from the Twiston-Davies horse. This suggests that the Pipe horse still has some scope to move up the handicap.
At 25/1 or bigger Comply Or Die looks a great addition to your Ante-Post National bets. However, for me, the value has now evaporated and he should be given the swerve, especially if the price continues to contract.