The Champion Standard Open National Flat Race is a Grade 2 flat race, run under National Hunt rules, over 2 miles and 209 yards on the Mildmay Course at Aintree in early April. Open to horses aged between four and six years, the race is currently scheduled as the final contest on the third and final day of the Grand National Festival, immediately following the Grand National itself. The 2023 renewal of the Champion Standard Open National Flat Race is scheduled for 6.20pm on Grand National Day, Saturday, April 15.
The Champion Standard Open National Flat Race was inaugurated, over 2 miles, in 1987, but was lengthened slightly, to 2 miles and 110 yards, in 1993 and again, to its current distance, in 2001; the race was elevated to Grade 2 status in 1995. Since 2014, the race has been sponsored by Weatherbys and was run, most recently, as Weatherbys nhstallions.co.uk Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race.
Gloucestershire trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies has saddled four winners of the Champion Standard Open National Flat Race – namelyKing’s Road (1998), The Cool Guy (2005), The New One (2012) and Ballybolley (2014) – and is the most successful handler in its history. Trainer statistics are obviously something for ante-post punters to bear in mind – Nicky Henderson, for example, has a lifetime 25% strike rate in ‘bumpers’, but is 0-22 since 2003 in this race – but so, too, are some other recent trends.
Over the last ten years, at least one win under National Hunt rules, over a similar distance and, preferably, during the current season, has proved a must-have, as has an official rating of 118, or higher. Conversely, course form, even winning course form, has proved completely inconsequential in that period and it is also worth noting that McFabulous (2019) was the only winning favourite.