What is it about the Grand National that captures everyone’s attention? Horse races happen every day, but most of us are oblivious. Once a year on a Saturday, hundreds of millions of people around the world tune in to watch a lot of horses running in Liverpool. The Grand National is the pinnacle of the sport for jump jockeys, the biggest challenge with the largest accolade. Over £1 million in prize money is available, half of which goes to the winning owner. Big bucks! Jockeys and horses who win the Grand National are immortalised in the sport.
So what’s so different about it that captures everyone’s attention? To start, the Grand National has 40 entrants, more than four times the entrants in some of the more commonly ran races. It’s seen as an event where the underdog could win, the difficulty of the course can often eliminate the competitive advantage of “better” horses. Then there is the history, Red Rum won 3 races and finished 2nd twice in just 5 years. The course is different too, with over 4 miles of racing taking place before a winner can be decided.
What it all really boils down to is betting. People enjoy a flutter. The lottery like conditions makes people feel like they don’t need to ‘know’ what they are doing in order to get involved. Which begs the question, how do you choose your Grand National horse?
Tips to help pick your Grand National horse
It’s worth pointing out that the conditions of the race, as well as the course and the number of entrants, can often make expert “tips” null and void. The trick is to eliminate as many horses as possible from contention, leaving you a much shorter list to choose from. Typically less half of the horses that start the race do not complete the course, so you are already up against it. That being said, I’m going to try and give you some tips to help you pick your Grand National horse and hopefully win some money. Last year I made a vlog about the race and also the basics of betting, so if you need some information give it a view.
Try not to focus on the odds of the horse, the betting odds are heavily influenced by the volume and size of bets placed. Ultimately the horse does not know what it’s odds are, nor does it care. Out of the last 70 Grand National races, just 13 horses who started the race as favourite went on to win. In fact, the average odds of the winning horse over the last 10 years has been more like 20/1. Picking the right horse can earn you some serious cash.
What really matters when picking a horse?
How about horse colour? Absolutely not, although it might be worth noting that only 2% of all horses who have won the Grand National have been grey. 13 of 169 winners have been mares. So statistically speaking, you could rule out those two groups.
Maybe age? On average over the past 10 years, the age of the winning horse has been 10 years old. The 2016 winner Rule the World, was 9. The average handicap weight in the past years is 10 stone 12lbs.
7 of the last 10 winners have been Irish horses. Last year’s winner was the only British horse with the remaining three coming from France.
Process of elimination
If you take into consideration the above, you would certainly narrow the field of choice. If you remove non-Irish horses that are not 9, 10 or 11 years old and not mares you would be left with just 40% of the field. This is certainly not a sure fire way to pick a winner but I’m a stats guy. I like facts and numbers so that I can draw a conclusion.
Who are my tips for the Grand National?
These are the horses that I will be backing on the day. I’ve selected them with an element of the above logic along with some consideration for the jockey/trainer. I’ve also considered the horse’s previous performance in longer races.
- More of That – 9 years old. Irish. Trained by Jonjo O’Neill. Jockey is Barry Geraghty (1 win and 4 place finishes in the Grand National. Currently 12/1. This is a win bet.
- Pleasant Company – 9 years old. Irish. Trained by Willie Mullins. Jockey is Ruby Walsh. The main lure here is the jockey and trainer combo. Walsh is one of the most successful jump jockeys in the world, if he is on your horse – you have a chance. Currently 16/1. This is a win bet.
- Vincente – 8 years old. French. My thought process here is previous performances in comparable races. Vicente has decent form in long races on the big stage. There is a strong owner involved too, so could be in the mix. Currently, 25/1 and will be an each way bet.
Guest tips for the Grand National
I have a long-standing relationship with @Footy_Tipster on Twitter. We have worked together on a number of opportunities and he has kindly agreed to provide some tips for this year’s Grand National for which I am grateful.
- Highland Lodge (25/1). Missed out on the final 40 last year, nice and fresh for 2017. Each way bet.
- Cause of Causes (12/1). Coming off a strong performance at the recent Cheltenham Festival. Each way bet
- Ucello Conte (16/1). Finished 6th last year and fancied by many to improve on that. Each way bet.
Finally, you can put as much or as little effort and thought in as you like when it comes to picking your horse. The one thing you need is some luck. All it takes is for a rogue horse to ride across the front of yours and your race is done. If you are having a bet, remember to only bet what you can afford to lose. The above tips and suggestions are my thoughts and should not be considered “guaranteed winners”. That being said, if you do back them and happen to win – be sure to drop by and let me know.
If you still don’t know who to pick, the try the random Grand National winner generator!