Tom Jicha

Tom Jicha grew up in New York City and worked with John Pricci at the short-lived revival of the New York Daily Mirror. Tom moved to Miami in 1972 for a position in the sports department at the now defunct Miami News.

Tom became the TV critic in 1980 and moved to the South Florida Sun Sentinel in 1988. All the while he has kept his hand in sports, including horse racing. He has covered two Super Bowls, a World Series and the Breeders’ Cup at Gulfstream Park.

He's been the Sun Sentinel’s horse racing writer since 2007 as a staff member, and continues to this day as a free-lancer.

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Thursday, April 26, 2018

A New Trend for Grand National Winners

imageImage source: Peter Karam

Tiger Roll put forward a brilliant performance to secure the Grand National, fending off a late surge from Pleasant Company to win by the tightest of margins. The result ended trainer Gordon Elliott’s drought at the National, which had lasted 11 years after Silver Birch’s triumph in 2007.

The triumph of the bay colt has highlighted a trend of younger horses enjoying success at the event. History suggests that older horses tend to dominate the National, with a greater number of winners present in the range of 10 to 11. However, in three of the last four races, the triumphant party has been aged eight.
Breaking Habits

Many Clouds, One For Arthur and Tiger Roll have highlighted the change in trend and importance of analysing past races before the Randox Health Grand National. The race brings out more casual bettors than any other race in the United Kingdom and Ireland due to its notoriety. Therefore, according to research conducted by Betway, horses tend to get picked based on emotional ties or the colour of the jockeys’ jersey, as listed in newspapers ahead of the event. Statistical evidence is extremely valuable in the sport and should always be considered front and foremost ahead of sentiment.


However, age is just as easy to track and should be the path to follow just as much as form. For example, Tiger Roll proved that he had the fitness and energy in his previous outing before the National, when he dominated the Cross Country Chase at Cheltenham Festival. He proved to have stronger powers of recovery than his rivals, who also competed at the Festival, beating out race favourite Total Recall. The trend could prompt trainers to put forward younger horses, whereas the trend of the past saw older competitors, who had the experience, entered. That could be the case across all major events in the sport, even in the United States. It will be interesting to see whether it continues in the future as rival trainers react to the development.

Written by HRI Publisher

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