Betting On The Grand National? Hints, Tips, and Trends

15 min

With the Grand National being first run way back in 1839, and being won by the aptly-named Lottery, it’s a contest that has bundles of history and, therefore, several positive and negatives trends to look for when eyeing up the best profile of the runners each year.

After all, if a certain make-up of a horse has won this gruelling race more often than not, then why wouldn’t you want to put history on your side and focus on the horses that tick the best trends, and also rule out those that don’t?

For example, did you know that the last 7 year-old to win the Grand National was in 1940?

So, to help we’ve got the main ‘plus and minus’ trends to apply to the Grand National runners – by just following these simple rules you’ll at least have the make-up of past Grand National winners on your side when placing your 2017 Aintree Grand National bets.

Positive Grand National Pointers

  • Horses aged 10 or older have the best recent record
  • Horses that had won or finished placed in a National race of any description
  • Look for horses that raced over hurdles at some point earlier that season
  • Horses that like to be ridden up with the pace in their races often do well (avoid horses that like to be held up)
  • Irish-trained horses have a great recent record in the Grand National
  • Irish-bred horses have the best recent Grand National record
  • Look for horses that finished unplaced in the previous season’s Grand National – they often do well
  • Horses that have won over 3miles in the past is virtual ‘must-have’

Negative Grand National Pointers

  • Horses aged 8 or younger don’t have the best of records
  • Horses aged 13 or older don’t have a great Grand National winning record
  • Runners that have fallen or unseated three or more times often don’t run well
  • Past Grand National winners and previous Grand National placed horses have bad returning records
  • Horses that had last raced over 50 days ago often don’t run well
  • Runners that had hard races at the Cheltenham Festival, run the previous month, don’t fare well

Grand National Tips and Trends – Do’s and Don’ts

With so much Grand National history there are plenty of stats and trends to take into the race each year. Some trends have hot periods while others, like the fact we’ve hardly seen any 7 years-old win the race, are simply stats you must have on your side.

Yes, it’s likely that the Grand National winner will fall down on at least one or two key trends and you can get bombarded with stats prior to the race. Therefore, it’s key to decide for yourself which trends are slightly more important than others, but you can’t go too far wrong in just siding with the trends that have stood the test of time. After all, if something has happened more often than not in the last 20 Grand Nationals then, surely, it’s better to put the odds and history in your favour and look for horses with certain profiles that fit these key trends.

Several runners fall at Bechers Brook in the John Smith Grand National

Ok, at first glance with 40 runners contesting 30 fences for 4 1/4 miles the Aintree Grand National does have quite a scary look to it when it comes to trying to hunt down the winner – however, despite those daunting factors you can often find the Grand National winner by following a few simple tips and trends.

Weight Watchers: Some recent winners have carried 11st (or more) to victory, but looking back at recent trends make this weight your cut-off point. If you look back over the winners we’ve only seen the mighty Red Rum (1974 & 1977) and Many Clouds (2015) carry 11-8 or more.

Staying Power: Stamina is an absolute must when scanning down the entries. Year-after-year there are always plenty of hype horses that are certainly talented, but the big question surrounding their chance is will they stay the gruelling 4m 1/4f trip? You have to trawl back to 1970 and a horse called Gay Trip to find the last victor that won the Grand National having not previously won over at least 3 miles.

Age Concern: Experience is a vital attribute when looking back at past Grand National winners with horses aged 9 years-old or OLDER certainly the ones to focus on, while you have to go back to 1940 (Bogskar) to find the last 7 year-old to grab the Merseyside marathon! So, don’t be too put off if your fancy is in their twilight years – but not a teenager, while avoid horses aged 7 or 8!

Luck Of The Irish: Our friends from the across the Irish Sea have raided these shores to win the Aintree Grand National many times in recent years, so certainly take a second glance at any of their runners.

To win at Aintree your horse will have to master the fences

Fencing Master: With thirty of the most unique obstacles in horse racing to contend with then having previous form over the tricky Aintree fences can be a huge advantage. Many recent Grand National winners had previously been tried over the Grand National fences, with the Topham Chase and Becher Chase – or a previous run in the big race itself – the main races that are staged at Aintree racecourse over the same Grand National-style fences the races to look out for.

Who’s Your Favourite: The betting on the Grand National always picks up pace in the weeks building up to the big day, but on the Saturday itself, when the once-a-year punters hit the high streets, this is when the betting market really kicks into gear. It’s also worth noting that the weights for the Grand National are issued well in advance (normally in February each year), so with some horses often running well after they’ve been given their allocated weight and before the race then this can also impact the ante post Grand National betting.

Market Toppers: We’ve already talked about the actual favourite, but this trend can be taken a bit further when you actually drill down into recent runnings. In fact, most recent Grand National winners started in the first eight of the Grand National betting market – indicating that despite in recent years when the Venetia Williams-trained, Mon Mome, popped-up at 100/1 in 2009, that punters generally tend to get this race right.

Fitness First: Probably the biggest trend in recent years and a really easy way to whittle the 40 string field down in one easy swoop is just check how many days ago your fancy ran. The majority of the recent Grand National winners had their previous race no more than 48 days prior to the big day. While if you want to drill this trend down a bit further than you’ll notice that a large amount of recent winners of the Grand National actually raced less than 40 days prior to landing the greatest steeplechase in the world.

  • 26/26 – Ran no more than 55 days ago
  • 25/26 – Officially rated 137 or higher
  • 24/26 – Had won over at least 3m (chase) before
  • 24/26 – Had won no more than 6 times over fences before
  • 23/26 – Aged 9 or older
  • 21/26 – Ran no more than 34 days ago
  • 21/26 – Returned a double-figure price
  • 20/26 – Came from outside the top 3 in the betting
  • 20/26 – Carried 10-12 or less
  • 18/26 – Had won between 4-6 times over fences before
  • 16/26 – Carried 10-8 or less
  • 15/26 – Finished in the top 4 last time out
  • 15/26 – Aged 10 years-old or younger
  • 14/26 – Placed favourites
  • 14/26 – Aged 9 or 10 years-old
  • 13/26 – Won by an Irish-bred horse
  • 9/26 – Ran at Cheltenham last time out
  • 8/26 – Trained in Ireland (inc 5 of the last 11 years)
  • 6/26 – Ran in a previous Grand National
  • 5/26 – Won by the favourite or joint favourite
  • 4/26 – Won last time out
  • 2/26 – Trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies
  • 2/26 – Ridden by Ruby Walsh
  • 2/26 – Ridden by Leighton Aspell
  • 0/26 – Won by a horse aged 7 years-old or less

Aintree Grand National Facts

  • Since 1978, 118 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
  • 13 of the last 18 winners were bred in Ireland
  • Only 1 horse that won at the Cheltenham Festival that same season has won since 1961
  • The last 7 year-old or younger to win was back in 1940
  • 13 of the last 20 winners had won or been placed in a National-type race before
  • No horse aged 13 or older has won since 1923 or placed since 1969
  • 3 of the last 8 winners ran in the Scottish National the previous season
  • 9 of the last 14 winners had run over hurdles at some stage earlier in the season
  • 5 of the last 14 winners had been unplaced in the National last year
  • Only two 8 year-olds have won the last 23 renewals
  • Just one past winner or placed horse from the previous year’s race has won for 32 years (75 have attempted)
  • 18 of the last 20 winners had fallen or unseated no more than twice in their careers
  • The last horse to win back-to-back Nationals was Red Rum in 1974