The Grand National is the most famous horse race in the world and the biggest in the year for betting turnover in the UK. The race attracts by far the biggest TV audience for horse racing and generates huge interest in the Press and media. On top of this, all the top bookmakers are looking for new punters in this period, and are therefore offering numerous Grand National betting offers for you to take advantage of.
The National is known as the People’s Race as it attracts once a year punters to betting offices. Sweeps in offices are like a draw whereby for a small entry fee horses are allocated and prizes given based on where horses finishes in the race. The Grand National is usually the top UK race by betting turnover, and normally eclipses other big events like Royal Ascot which is the most prestigious Flat meeting in the world. Five of the ten most popular betting races were run at this meeting but the National was by far the most popular for betting. The race also generated more bets than the seven races at the Cheltenham Festival that made the top 10 over the first half of the year in the last couple of years. In 2017, in the region of £250 million was expected to be staked on horses in the race.
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The Grand National is one of the most popular races in the world for ante post betting. However, right up to the week of the race ante post betting rules apply which means bets on any horse withdrawn are losers and customers will not receive a refund. The positive is that ante post odds are generally better than day of the race odds. Twelve months in the training of race horses is a long time and so many things can go wrong.
Most bookmakers offer a quarter the odds for the first four places which is not the best value. Over 100 horses were entered in 2017 and several weeks ahead of the race running plans had not been concerned. Bookmakers could offer their own enhanced each-way terms – paying out on the first five, six, seven or even eight places (shop around for the best deals on the day) and still do well from ante-post betting on the race.
The upside of the dangers of ante post betting is if your horse doesn’t make the final 40 runners you will lose your money – unless that particular bookmaker is offer what’s called ‘Non-Runner, No Bet’ – they normally start doing this around 4 weeks before the big race but always check their terms and conditions.
On the day of the race the favourite is usually single figure odds so customers can take the bigger price by ante post betting but – as mentioned – also risk not getting a run. But, as mentioned – nearer the day some bookies will offer non runner/no bet but the odds will be adjusted downwards to compensate for this concession. Betting margins are significantly higher than for a regular race. The result of the race can also influence Scottish Grand National betting.
In the week leading up to the race there should be a whole raft of markets that are unique to the Grand National. Like money back if your horse falls, money back if it finishes second or extra place terms to increase the standard 4 places to 5,6,7 or even 8!
In the past, odds in the following markets have been available throughout the UK betting industry:
Grand National betting will feature these markets and betting offers. Odds comparison sites will also publish Scottish Grand National betting odds.
The Grand National 2018 is the culmination of the three day Grand National meeting at Aintree from April 12th to 14th. The meeting matches the Cheltenham Festival for prestige and importance and still one of the most lucrative races of the season. There are 14 Grade 1 races over four days at Cheltenham and 10 at Aintree during the three day meeting. Aintree also stages the biggest race of them all.
This year there are only four weeks between both meetings which will make it difficult for a horse to run at both. There is a theory that Cheltenham form should not be trusted at Aintree and some horses are kept back for the later meeting. Only one horse has won the Cheltenham Gold Cup and Grand National in the same season and that was Golden Miller in 1934.
The three days of the Grand National meeting have a unique flavour but the one common theme is top class racing and excellent facilities. The first day is the best day for local race fans because the racing is excellent and the crowds are not excessive. The Friday of the meeting is called Ladies Day and traditionally attracts a young crowd who are more interested in the party than the racing. Grand National Day is one of the best single days of sport in the UK. Huge crowds are attracted to Aintree to watch the most famous horse race in the world.
The Grand National is run over four miles, three and a half furlongs and 30 fences are jumped over 2 circuits. The race is the longest in the UK calander and takes about nine minutes to be run. It is rare for a British race in that several fences have names such as Becher’s Brook, the Canal Turn, Valentine’s and the Chair. The Water Jump is in front of the stands and is only jumped on the first circuit.
The run-in is the longest in Britain and features the elbow where horse turn into the straight after jumping the last fence. The race is often decided on the Flat over the final furlong. In 1956 Devon Loch, owned by the Queen Mother, slipped up after looking a certain winner. In 1973 Red Run overhauled Crisp 50 yards from the finish after that horse led from the start and for almost the whole four miles plus of the race. The maximum field is 40 runners.
The first National took place in 1839 and has been run in every year since other than for five years during the Second World War. The 1993 race was declared void due to problems at the start and the 1997 National took place on a Monday as there was a bomb scare at Aintree the previous Saturday. Aintree is the home of the Grand National, a village about five miles from the city of Liverpool.
Here are some trends and results for the last twenty years:
|1st||One For Arthur||14/1||D Fox||L Russell|
|2nd||Cause Of Causes||16/1||J Codd||G Elliott|
|3rd||Saint Are||25/1||>D Russell||T George|
|4th||Blaklion||8/1 fav||N Fehily||N Twiston-Davies|
|5th||Gas Line Boy||50/1||R Dunne||Ian Williams|
In 2017 Scottish-based trainer Lucinda Russell became just the third woman to train a winner of the Grand National – joining Jenny Pitman and Venetia Williams – when her ONE FOR ARTHUR outstayed the rest up the long Aintree straight. He was also the first Scottish-trained winner of the race since 1979!
This 8 year-old was seen earlier in the season running fifth in the Becher Chase at Aintree in December 2017 and that experience of the unique Grand National fences clearly taught him a lot.
He became the second 8 year-old in the last three runnings to in the Grand National and was the first winning ride in the race for jockey Derek Fox.
One For Arthur was sent off at 14/1 in the betting so the horse certainly had it’s supporters on the day after being backed in from earlier morning prices of around 20/1+.
The horse travelled and jumped well through much of the race and had clearly benefited by running over these fences four months before. Jockey Derek Fox hunted the horse towards the back of the pack during the first circuit but from around the 19th (of 30) fence they started to make steady progress through the field – picking off horses one by one.
With three fences to jump there is still a long way to go in the Grand National, but the 8 year-old made good headway three out and was soon leading with just a few fences to jump. He jumped a tad left at the last but that didn’t matter as he stayed on far too strongly up the long Aintree run-in after the last to eventually win by 4 ½ lengths.
The versatile Gordon Elliott-trained Cause Of Causes chased home the winner at 16/1, while Saint Are, who has now been placed in two Grand Nationals after finishing second in 2015, took third. Fourth was filled by the well-backed favourite – Blaklion (8/1 fav) – to further underline the talents of top trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies in this race. At just 8 years-olds (will be 9 in 2018) this horse looks to have this race as a firm target in 2018 after already winning the Becher Chase with ease at the track in December 2017.
For those bookmakers that paid out extra places then Gas Line Boy (50/1), was fifth, Vieux Lion Rouge (12/1) sixth, while former Cheltenham Gold Cup winner, Lord Windermere (33/1) was 7th.
With reference to ante post betting on the 16th of February 2018 here is a betting guide to the leading contenders:
At the moment the Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained Blaklion, who ran a gallant fourth in the 2017 Grand National, heads most of the bookmaker markets around the 12/1 mark from 20/1. The horse will be 9 years-old come April 2018, which is the perfect age for this race with 14 of the last 27 winners aged 9 or 10 years-old. The Twiston-Davies yard have also won the race twice in the past too, with Earth Summit (1998) and Bindaree (2002), so certainly know what needed to ready a National horse.
With another year on his back we can expect the horse to be stronger this time and being only 8 ¼ lengths back from the winner – One For Arthur – in 2017 then we know he stays this 4m 2 ½ f trip well. Yes, we can expect his handicap mark to be higher this year, but having proved he can tackle the tricky Grand National fences – not only in this race 12 months ago, but by also winning the Becher Chase here in Dec 17 – suggests connections will aim at giving him another crack at the race in April. Being placed before though does, however, mean he’s got a big negative trend to overcome that has seen just 1 winner or placed horse from the previous year’s race go onto win 12 months later. But he could still be one for the each-way backers, while as soon as the ‘once-a-year’ punter remember his name from last year then there is also a big chance his 20/1 price will be a lot, lot shorter on the day – don’t forget 12 months ago he was sent off as the 8/1 favourite! Back him now, with the view to his price being a lot shorter on the day.
Another horse that is proving to be popular in the 2018 Grand National betting market and if making the race would certainly be the class act in the line-up. This Colin Tizzard-trained runner will still only be 8 years-old by April but he’s already a Hennessy Gold Cup and Welsh National winner, that also rounded off last season with a decent third in the Cheltenham Gold Cup. He’s won at Aintree in the past too, but at the time of writing he’s yet to tackle the Grand National-style fences so this may be seen as a negative with 7 of the last 15 winners having tasted these fences before. That said, he’s a good jumper that heads into the 2017/18 off the back of 10 chase runs and he’s yet to finish out of the first three in these, let alone fall in any of them! A big player if connections opt for this route, rather than the Gold Cup, but if he does head to Aintree for this race then a lot will depend how much weight the handicapper gives him – we’ll know that later in the season.
Another horse Grand National fans might remember from 2017 as this Brian Ellison-trained runner was almost sent off as favourite (10/1). Punters backed this improving stayer into that price from around 20/1 on the morning and despite failing to reward his followers he did have his excuses. His saddle eventually slipped and was pulled-up, but before that he had been badly hampered at the 6th fence (Bechers Brook) and never really recovered from that. He’ll be 9 years-old come April so is another that looks to be the perfect age now, while providing he has an injury-free season then this race certainly looks a firm target for him again. He’s another that is sure to be a lot shorter in the day than the 33/1 being offered now – especially once the novice punters recall his name from 12 months ago.
Trained by Willie Mullins, whose only win in the race came with Hedgehunter in 2005. This horse has burst onto the Grand National betting scene when winning the Ladbroke Trophy Chase (old Hennessy Gold Cup) in November 2017, while prior to that took the Munster Grand National at Limerick. He’s an improving stayer that looks to also have a touch of class and is sure to continue to be popular in the betting should this race remain a target for him. Those against him might cling to the fact he’s yet to run over the Aintree Grand National fences.
Many people will recall this horse being the runner-up in the 2016 Grand National to a horse called Rule The World. He would have cost the bookmakers a few quid that day too after being well-supported into 8/1 joint-favourite after winning the Grimthorpe Chase – a recognised Grand National Trial race – by an easy 10 lengths the month before. He figured in the 2017 Grand National too, but could only manage 16th, but to his credit he was burdened with a massive 11-10 that day – Since 1978, 120 horses have tried to win with more than 11-5 – with just two winners – Many Clouds (11-9) in 2015 & Neptune Collonges (11-6) in 2012. This race will certainly be a target again and being that he’s got round in the last two renewals then he’s becoming a regular in the race. We can expect the handicapper to relent a bit on his mark so a lot will depend on that, but he returned to the track this season with a decent second at Kempton over an inadequate trip to show he’s still in love with the game.
Note: (Odds are subject to change)
Three trainers have won the race four times. George Dockeray achieved that feat between 1839 and 1852 and Fred Rimell had four Nationals winners in a period spanning from 1956 to 1976. Ginger McCain is the other four results winning trainer. He trained Red Rum, the only triple winner (1973, 1974 and 1977) and also looked after Amberleigh House who won the National in 2004.
George Stevens is the leading jockey with five wins from 1856 to 1870. In the modern era since 2000 Ruby Walsh (Papillon 2000 and Hedgehunter 2005) and Leighton Aspell (Pineau Du Re 2014 and Many Clouds 2015) are the only multiple winning jockeys. Sir Anthony McCoy won the race just once, on Don’t Push It, in 2010. He has ridden in 20 Grand Nationals which ahead of the 2016 race is a record.
The Grand National is the sixth of seven races on the final day of the three day meeting. Aintree has a separate course for conventional chases. The Topham Chase and Aintree Foxhunters are the only two other races of the meeting run over the Grand National course. The Anniversary Hurdle often identifies the best juvenile of the season and the Betfair Bowl and Melling Chase provide pointers for future conditions chases (Check out our Betfair Promo Code). There are two Flat races for National Hunt bred horses and handicaps that can be as competitive as equivalent races at the Cheltenham Festival.
Racing in the UK is shown on two subscription channels and ITV which is free to view. The Grand National is one of the crown jewels of British sport and as such must be shown on a channel that is not subscription based. Viewing figures for major races have dipped significantly since Channel 4 took over broadcasting the prestigious occasions formerly covered by the BBC. The Grand National is the only race that has maintained its share of the audience since it moved to Channel 4. Since last years race, ITV have taken over the terrestrial coverage of horse racing.
The 2016 Grand National broke all records for betting turnover and viewing figures for a programme on Channel 4. Bad publicity with regards animal welfare blighted the race in the past but the race has recovered and regained its credibility. The most watched and bet on horse race will again attract record betting and viewing participation this April despite moving channels from the national broadcaster. National newspapers will include Grand National betting tips and a betting guide.