Key Stats for the Grand NationalPublished April 2, 2017
Picking the winner of the Grand National is a very hard thing to do. All sorts can happen during the race and its unpredictable nature can give punters a real headache but these tips should help you when you come to put down your annual Grand National Bet.
So, we’ve gone through the key stats and trends of the race to provide you with some helpful hints for things to keep in mind as you’re weighing up the options this year.
It’s a Long, Long Slog
Up to 40 horses can take part in the Grand National. That’s a level of complication you don’t find in many other races. Additionally, all the competitors have to travel around a course which is four miles and four furlongs long and jump 30 fences before the last sprint for the winning post.
Baring all that in mind, you should only be betting on horses who have winning form over long distances (over three miles) and/or horses who have won on soft conditions which can be very stamina sapping.
Keep an Eye on the Weights
Racing over four miles and jumping that many fences with a jockey on your back is a tough enough ask before you take the additional weights into consideration. As the Grand National is a handicap race, all the horses are given a rating which coincides with the amount of weight they have to carry in order to make the race as fair as possible.
The maximum weight for Grand National horses is 11 stone 10 pounds and it is rare to find a winner of the race carrying more than 11 stone six pounds.
Outsiders in the Betting Have a Real Chance
In some races, there’s a firm favourite who will win if every horse runs to form. The level of complexity in the Grand National means that just not the case for the Aintree spectacular.
Over the years we’ve seen 100/1 shots hack up and in other races the favourites have had a clear run and been able to prove their class.
It’s worth bearing in mind that the average price of the Grand National winner in the last 50 years is 20/1 and that only three favourites one the race between 1992 to 2016.
Experience Counts, Just Not Too Much Experience
When taking the age of horses into account there is certainly a sweet spot when it comes to picking the winner of the Grand National.
You have to go back to 1940 for the last time that a seven-year-old won the Grand National. Horses at that age are still very much learning National Hunt racing so put them in a battle against 39 competitors with thousands of people watching and it’s often just too much for them.
At the other end of the scale, the Grand National’s test of stamina makes it very hard for older horses to compete. They’ve got the experience to navigate the fences but there’s often nothing left to give by the time they get towards the winning post.
So, it very much makes sense to focus on horses with the mix of youth and experience required to stand up to the challenges of the Grand National. That’s certainly born out by the stats.
Between 2007 and 2016 only won eight-year-old won the race with all the other winners aged either nine, 10 or 11. In all, over a quarter of all winners were nine which looks like the ideal age.
Class Can Shine Through
It takes a special sort of horse to win the Grand National and, unsurprisingly, most winners went into the race with previous winning form in high class events.
When flicking through the form, make sure to see if the horse you fancy has won a race in its career worth at least £13,000. It also makes sense to check their experience in tough steeplechases. If your horse hasn’t run in at least three chases it might be better to lend your support elsewhere.
Hurdles Can Hold the Key
When a trainer and owner realise that their horse has a shot at winning the Grand National they will often do all they can to give them the best chance of success. To that end, trainers often enter their horse in hurdle races in the season of the Grand National to try and limit the amount of weight they carry in the race.
The handicapper treats wins and strong performances over hurdles differently to similar impressive results over fences. So, entering a horse over hurdles can keep their rating (and therefore the weight they carry) down, improving their hopes of a big win.