Cancelled football matches would lead to the Pools Panel sitting, and giving their verdicts. The six-man team had limited options to choose from - home win, away win, scoring draw or no-score draw.
Predicting what might have happened on Saturday is more complex, but through a series of polls on our Twitter feed this week we can at least produce a Virtual 1-2-3-4.
We’ve trimmed the final field down to 32 and in the first instance have divided them into eight groups. All you’ve got to do is vote for which horse in each quartet you think would have fared best.
Work on the assumption that the going is “good to soft” and, remember, you are unable to vote more than once in any poll.
Some well-fancied contenders will bump into each other and exit early on, mirroring the unpredictable nature of the world’s greatest race. Each horse’s chance is in your hands.
In the event of horses getting the same percentage in a poll, a virtual coin toss will decide the outcome. If two horses tie in the final, it will be a dead-heat - the first in Grand National history!
The eight Group winners will progress to two semi-finals – the winners of Groups 1-4 in the first and then Group winners 5-8 in the second. The top two in each semi-final will then progress through to a grand decider and will determine your victor.
Our comments for each contender are merely intended to refresh your minds. The jockey bookings, of course, were never confirmed and we’ve had to make a calculated guess at a few.
Paddy Power spokesman Paul Binfield said: “It will be fascinating to see which horse wins each of Racing TV’s Grand National Twitter Poll’s eight groups, and whether entrants believe Ryanair supremo Michael O’Leary’s charge would have entered the annals of racing history.”
Betfair spokesman Barry Orr added: "We have seen some cash for Definitly Red in the outright market and to win Group C. Tiger Roll is still a raging favourite although he has gone from 1-3 to 4-9 since pricing up this market."
1 BURROWS SAINT
Trainer: Willie Mullins. Jockey: Paul Townend. Weight: 10st 10lb. General odds before race was cancelled: 10-1
Won the Irish Grand National last year and remains unexposed as a staying chaser for top connections. Kept fresh but no seven-year-old has won since 1940 and he lacks a bit of experience.
2 TOUT EST PERMIS
Trainer: Noel Meade. Jockey: Sean Flanagan. Weight: 10st 9lb. Odds: 33-1
Fine third in the Pertemps Final last month but it has been 15 months since he last got his head in front. Stamina looked an issue when eighth in the Irish Grand National last year.
Trainer: Nigel Twiston-Davies. Jockey: Jamie Bargary. Weight: 10st 8lb. Odds: 80-1
Fourth in the Kim Muir Chase at Cheltenham last season and began this campaign with wins at Wetherby and Haydock. Has since struggled in better races but trainer can pull rabbits out of hats.
4 PLEASANT COMPANY
Trainer: Willie Mullins. Jockey: Jonathan Burke. Weight: 10st 7lb. Odds: 33-1
Beaten a head by Tiger Roll (who is now 15lb better off with) in the 2018 renewal and running a big race when exiting four out last year. However, 12 now and has offered little in two runs this winter.
Paddy Power (who have called Groups A-H) bet: 4-11 Burrows Saint, 11-4 Pleasant Company, 12-1 Tout Est Permis, 20-1 Crievehill.
Betfair: 4-11 Burrows Saint, 11-4 Pleasant Company, 12-1 Tout Est Permis, 20 Crievehill.
RESULT (453 votes): 1. Burrows Saint (51%). 2. Pleasant Company (32.7%). 3. Tout Est Permis (9.7%). 4 Crievehill (6.6%).
1 ACAPELLA BOURGEOIS
Trainer: Willie Mullins. Jockey: Danny Mullins. Weight: 10st 6lb. Odds: 20-1
Third to Burrows Saint in the Irish Grand National last spring and gets a 10lb pull in the weights. Well-in at the weights after a runaway win in the Bobbyjo Chase at Fairyhouse last time.
2 LORD DU MESNIL
Trainer: Richard Hobson. Jockey: Paul O’Brien. Weight: 10st 1lb. Odds: 20-1
Took 24 races to get his head in front but has been a revelation this season and was runner-up in the National Hunt Chase latest. Well-in at the weights but his busy schedule a niggle.
Trainer: Nigel Twiston-Davies. Jockey: Sam Twiston-Davies. Weight: 10st 11lb. Odds: 25-1
Well-in at the weights after success at Ascot last time but Aintree record raises a big question mark. Fell four out last year, having also fallen in the Becher before that. Did complete in this season’s Becher, but in his own time.
Trainer: Alan King. Jockey: Tom Cannon. Weight: 10st 11lb. Odds: 40-1
Looked Aintree material when running away with last season’s bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown but his two lacklustre efforts this season leave him with questions to answer. Leap of faith needed.
Paddy Power Group B betting: 7-4 Acapella Bourgeois, 2-1 Ballyoptic, 7-2 Lord Du Mesnil, 4-1 Talkischeap.
Betfair: 7-4 Acapella Bourgeois, 2 Ballyoptic, 7-2 Lord Du Mesnil, 4-1 Talkischeap.
RESULT (508 votes): 1. Ballyoptic (37.2%). 2. Lord Du Mesnil (29.3%). 3. Acapella Bourgeoi (24.8%). 4. Talkischeap (8.7%).
1 BRISTOL DE MAI
Trainer: Nigel Twiston-Davies. Jockey: Daryl Jacob. Weight: 11st 8lb. Odds: 33-1
The two-time Betfair Chase winner is a class act with plenty of top-class form to his name, although he didn’t shine in the Gold Cup last time. Flat nature of Aintree promises to suit him but stamina could be a problem.
2 KIMBERLITE CANDY
Trainer: Tom Lacey. Jockey: Richie McLernon. Weight: 10st 4lb. Odds: 14-1
Runner-up to Walk In The Mill (now 4lb worse off with that rival) in the Becher Chase before storming home in the Classic Chase at Warwick. Up in the weights but at the top of his game and he should be fresh after a light campaign.
3 ANY SECOND NOW
Trainer: Ted Walsh. Jockey: Mark Walsh. Weight: 10st 6lb. Odds: 10-1
Won the Kim Muir at the Cheltenham Festival last season and has continued to progress this term, winning over an inadequate 2m last time. Plenty of stamina in his pedigree and trainer won with Papillon in 2000.
4 DEFINITLY RED
Trainer: Brian Ellison. Jockey: Danny Cook. Weight: 10st 10lb. Odds: 16-1
Has been in typically good heart this term, winning at Kelso last time having earlier been a creditable fourth in the Becher Chase. Badly hampered when pulled up in the 2017 National. Trainer bullish.
Paddy Power Group C betting: 9-4 Any Second Now, Kimberlite Candy, 11-4 Definitly Red, 3-1 Bristol De Mai.
Betfair: 6-4 Definitly Red, 11-4 Kimberlite Candy, 3-1 Any Second Now, 7-2 Bristol De Mai.
RESULT (1,154 votes): 1. Bristol De Mai (28.1%) 2. Definitly Red (27.9%). 3. Kimberlite Candy (22.4%). 4 Any Second Now.
1 ONE FOR ARTHUR
Trainer: Lucinda Russell. Jockey: Derek Fox. Weight: 10st 4lb. Odds: 33-1
The 2017 winner has since had his share of problems. Has slipped back to the same mark he won off three years ago, but will have to produce a career-best to win a deep renewal.
2 WALK IN THE MILL
Trainer: Robert Walford. Jockey: James Best. Weight: 10st 4lb. Odds: 14-1
In his element over the Grand National fences, winning back-to-back renewals of the Becher Chase and finishing fourth in last year’s big race. Kept fresh and sure to again run well.
3 ANIBALE FLY
Trainer: Tony Martin. Jockey: Barry Geraghty. Weight: 11st 2lb. Odds: 16-1
Fourth and fifth in the past two renewals, each time after being placed in the Gold Cup at Cheltenham. Lower in the weights and fresher, too, after eye-catching spin over hurdles latest.
4 LAKE VIEW LAD
Trainer: Nick Alexander. Jockey: Henry Brooke. Weight: 10st 8lb. Odds: 40-1
Had plenty of supporters going into last year’s race after a fine run of form but he made little impression. The grey’s efforts this term suggest others have stronger claims.
Paddy Power Group D betting: 13-8 One For Arthur, 2-1 Walk In The Mill, Anibale Fly, 12-1 Lake View Lad.
Betfair: 11-10 One For Arthur, 15-8 Walk In The Mill, 100-30 Anibale Fly, 12-1 Lake View Lad.
Result (673 votes): 1. Walk In The Mill (44.3%). 2. Anibale Fly (31.9%). 3. One For Arthur (15.8%). 4. Lake View Lad (8%).
1 OK CORRAL
Trainer: Nicky Henderson. Jockey: Derek O’Connor. Weight: 10st 9lb. Odds: 25-1
Lightly raced ten-year-old bounced back to form when landing the Sky Bet Chase at Doncaster in late January. However, earlier defeats ring alarm bells, plus he lacks experience.
2 TIGER ROLL
Trainer: Gordon Elliott. Jockey: Davy Russell. Weight: 11st 10lb. Odds: 7-1
Brilliant winner of the past two renewals and seeks to emulate Red Rum, the only previous three-time National hero. Tougher task at weights and had a hard race when beaten at Cheltenham last month.
3 ALPHA DES OBEAUX
Trainer: Gordon Elliott. Jockey: Richard Johnson. Weight: 10st 13lb. Odds: 33-1
Fell at The Chair two years ago when going nicely and was a solid third in the Becher Chase in December. Below best latest and poor wins-to-runs ratio but capable of making presence felt.
4 TOP VILLE BEN
Trainer: Phil Kirby. Jockey: Tommy Dowson. Weight: 11st 2lb. Odds: 40-1
Emphatic winner of the Rowland Meyrick Handicap Chase at Wetherby in December and has a progressive profile, for all he was a distant third to Santini at Cheltenham last time.
Paddy Power Group E betting: 1-10 Tiger Roll, 9-1 OK Corral, 14-1 Top Ville Ben, 16-1 Alpha Des Obeaux.
Betfair: 1-10 Tiger Roll, 9-1 OK Corral, 14 Top Ville Ben, 16 A-1lpha Des Obeaux.
Result (923 votes): 1. Tiger Roll (71.9%) 2. OK Corral (13.4%). 3. Top Ville Ben (8.2%) 4 Alpha Des Obeaux (6.4%).
1 SAINT XAVIER
Trainer: Paul Nicholls. Jockey: David Maxwell. Weight: 10st 4lb. Odds: 66-1
Owned and ridden by amateur David Maxwell. Useful performer in France but far from certain to stay this far and hard to fancy after his distant third to Definitly Red at Kelso last time.
2 MAGIC OF LIGHT
Trainer: Jessica Harrington. Jockey: Robbie Power. Weight: 10st 13lb. Odds: 16-1
Ran a screamer last year when beating all bar Tiger Roll, despite a bad blunder at The Chair. Gets a 4lb pull with the winner and jockey was successful on Silver Birch in 2007. However, the last mare to win was in 1951 and she was below-par latest.
3 BEWARE THE BEAR
Trainer: Nicky Henderson. Jockey: Jerry McGrath. Weight: 11st. Odds: 33-1
Quirky in past but fine fourth in the Ladbrokes Trophy in November, having won at the Cheltenham Festival last year. Seeks to end trainer’s elusive quest for a National winner.
4 YALA ENKI
Trainer: Paul Nicholls. Jockey: Bryony Frost. Weight: 10st 11lb. Odds: 25-1
Mudlark has finished third in the past two renewals of the Welsh Grand National and won at Taunton on his penultimate start. Well held at Haydock last time, though, and best in the mud.
Paddy Power Group F betting: 4-5 Magic Of Light, 11-4 Yala Enki, 3-1 Beware The Bear, 14-1 Saint Xavier. (Max Stake €/£20)
Betfair: 4-5 Magic Of Light, 11-4 Yala Enki, 3-1 Beware The Bear, 14 -1 Saint Xavier.
Result (802 votes): 1. Magic Of Light (55.9%). 2. Beware The Bear (23.7%). 3. Yala Enki (17.7%). 4. Saint Xavier (2.7%).
1 THE STORYTELLER
Trainer: Gordon Elliott. Jockey: Keith Donoghue. Weight: 10st 12lb. Odds: 33-1
Won at the Cheltenham Festival in 2018 and fine second in the Pertemps Final back there latest. Pineau De Re was placed in that race before winning the National in 2014 but stamina a question mark.
2 VINTAGE CLOUDS
Trainer: Sue Smith. Jockey: Ryan Mania. Weight: 10st 8lb. Odds: 33-1
Stout stayer but fell at the first in last year’s running and again did not look at home over the National fences when pulled up in this season’s Becher Chase. A risky proposition.
3 NOW McGINTY
Trainer: Stuart Edmunds. Jockey: Tom O’Brien. Weight: 10st 1lb. Odds: 66-1
Disappointed in the Welsh National but some of his form points to him being well-treated and he ran well at the Grand National meeting over hurdles two years ago. Unexposed as a stayer.
4 POTTERS CORNER
Trainer: Christian Williams. Jockey: Jack Tudor. Weight: 10st 6lb. Odds: 20-1
Won the Midlands National in 2019 and scooped the Welsh Grand National at Chepstow over Christmas. He’s all stamina but this will be his toughest assignment off a career-high mark.
Paddy Power Group G betting: 6-4 The Storyteller, 7-4 Potters Corner, 3-1 Vintage Clouds, 8-1 Now McGinty. (Max Stake €/£20)
Betfair: 6-4 The Storyteller, 7-4 Potters Corner, 3-1 Vintage Clouds, 8-1 Now McGinty.
Result (1098 votes): 1.Potters Corner (38.8%) 2. Vintage Clouds (36.9%) 3. The Storyteller (20.9%) 4. Now McGinty (3.4%).
1 RAMSES DE TEILLEE
Trainer: David Pipe. Jockey: Tom Scudamore. Weight: 10st 5lb. Odds: 33-1
Pulled up last year when his rider’s rein snapped, although he was going backwards at the time. Thorough stayer has been in good heart over hurdles this term but others possibly stronger.
2 GIVE ME A COPPER
Trainer: Paul Nicholls. Jockey: Harry Cobden. Weight: 10st 1lb. Odds: 33-1
Lightly raced ten-year-old with a patchy profile. Best when fresh (won the Badger Ales on his return this term) so his absence since December 21 is a plus but others more persuasive.
3 ELEGANT ESCAPE
Trainer: Colin Tizzard. Jockey: Jonjo O’Neill Jr. Weight: 11st 2lb. Odds: 33-1
Won the Welsh Grand National in 2018 and was a fine third in the Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury in November. Not at best past two starts (beat one home in Gold Cup latest) but stamina his forte.
4 TOTAL RECALL
Trainer: Willie Mullins. Jockey: Patrick Mullins. Weight: 10st 13lb. Odds: 20-1.
The 2017 Ladbrokes Trophy winner was betrayed by clumsy jumping when pulled up in the 2018 National, when favourite. Bounced back with a bang when landing the Thyestes Chase latest.
Paddy Power Group H betting: 13-8 Total Recall, 2-1 Ramses De Teillee, 7-2 Elegant Escape, 4-1 Give Me A Copper. (Max Stake €/£20)
Betfair: 13-8 Total Recall, 2 Ramses De Teillee, 7-2 Elegant Escape, 4 Give Me A Copper.
Result (655 votes): 1. Total Recall (37.1%). 2 Elgant Escape (26.4%). 3 Ramses De Teillee (23.5%), 4 Give Me A Copper (13%)
Twitter poll on Saturday between 10am and 11am. Paddy Power and Betfair odds in brackets: Burrows Saint (4-7 and Evens), Ballyoptic (6-1 and 9-2), Bristol De Mai (7-2 and 16-5), Walk In The Mill (7-1 and 7-2).
Result (776 votes): 1 Bristol De Mai (32.7%). 2 Burrows Saint (31.1%) 3 Walk In The Mill (23.8%). 4 Ballyoptic (12.4%).
Twitter poll on Saturday between 11.05am and 12.05pm. Paddy Power and Betfair odds in brackets: Tiger Roll (1-4), Magic Of Light (4-1), Potters Corner (16-1), Total Recall (10-1).
Result (494 votes): 1. Tiger Roll (56.9%). 2 Potters Corner (19.2%). 3 Magic Of Light (16.8%). 4 Total Recall (7.1%).
Overall Paddy Power betting before the semi-finals: 4-9 Tiger Roll. 7-2 Burrows Saint. 7-1 Magic Of Light. 12-1 Bristol De Mai. 16-1 Total Recall. 20-1 Ballyoptic. 25-1 Walk In The Mill, Potters Corner.
Overall Betfair betting before the semi-finals: 4-9 Tiger Roll. 9-2 Burrows Saint. 8-1 Magic Of Light. 10-1 Bristol De Mai, 12-1 Walk In The Mill, 14-1 Ballyoptic, 20-1 Total Recall. Potters Corner.
THE FINAL: Twitter poll on Saturday between 12.15pm and 2.30pm. (top two in semi-final one and top two in semi-final two to meet and determine the overall winner)
Betfair overall betting at the outset: 4-9 Tiger Roll, 4-1 Burrows Saint, 10-1 Magic Of Light, Definitly Red, 14-1 One For Arthur, Anibale Fly, 16-1 Pleasant Company, 20-1 Any Second Now, Total Recall, Kimberlite Candy, 25-1 Ballyoptic, Bristol De Mai, Pleasant Company, Potters Corner, Ramses De Teillee, Walk In The Mill, 33-1 Acapella Bourgeois, Beware The Bear, OK Corral, The Storyteller, 40-1 Yala Enki, 50-1 Elegant Escape, Lord Du Mesnil, Talkischeap, Vintage Clouds, 66-1 Alpha Des Obeaux, Give Me A Copper, Now McGinty, Top Ville Ben, 100-1 Crievehill, Lake View Lad, Saint Xavier, Tout Est Permis. (Max Stake €/£20)
Paddy Power overall betting at the outset: 1-3 Tiger Roll, 4-1 Burrows Saint, 12-1 Magic Of Light, 16-1 Anibale Fly, 20-1 Any Second Now, One For Arthur, Total Recall, Kimberlite Candy, 25-1 Ballyoptic, Bristol De Mai, Definitly Red, Pleasant Company, Potters Corner, Ramses De Teillee, Walk In The Mill, 33-1 Acapella Bourgeois, Beware The Bear, OK Corral, The Storyteller, 40-1 Yala Enki, 50-1 Elegant Escape, Lord Du Mesnil, Talkischeap, Vintage Clouds, 66-1 Alpha Des Obeaux, Give Me A Copper, Now McGinty, Top Ville Ben, 100-1 Crievehill, Lake View Lad, Saint Xavier, Tout Est Permis. (Max Stake €/£20)
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