Grand National Betting Guide
Run in early April each year the Aintree Grand National is arguably the most famous horse race in the world – well, at least over jumps!
Staged at Aintree Racecourse, in Liverpool, the Grand National is by far biggest betting event on the British sporting calendar with its long history, gambling frenzy and the pure betting excitement of 40 horses tackling 30 of the most unique steeplechase fences in the world.
So, if you are new to betting on the Aintree Grand National, or a seasoned pro at punting in the world’s greatest steeplechase we aim to provide you with some key tips when it comes to Grand National betting and, more importantly, finding the Grand National winner!
More often than not the day ensures a massive payday for the layers with Grand National, betting worth well over £100 million to the gambling industry. The Grand National, which is run over a gruelling 4mile 2 1/2 furlong trip, is also the most-viewed horse race each year with over 250 million worldwide seeing the race live.
The Aintree track is flat, but demanding, and brings together all of the jockey’s horsemanship and the horses jumping ability. In order to get round the pilot will have to show great bravery, with winning horses showing varying qualities like – stamina, speed, rhythm, jumping, courage and, above all, luck – our Grand National Betting guide below will give you some key tips and hints to take into the race each year.
Being a handicap race the Grand National is extremely hard to win on more than one occasion, as previous winners will invariably have to shoulder extra weight if they want to run in the event in future years. The last back-to-back winner was the mighty Red Rum, who took the prize in 1973 and 1974.
Step-By-Step Guide To Betting On The Grand National
With 40 runners come Grand National Day and 30 of the most unique fences to jump then finding the winner of the big race can often have a very daunting feel to it.
However, with 100’s of bookmakers now competing for your business then betting on the Grand National each year can actually be easier than you think.
There are always bundles of Grand National betting offers to snap-up (for new and existing customers) – more on that below, but we’ll give you some key pointers on these offers, plus we’ll help you every step of the way by highlighting several Grand National tips that will certainly help you when it comes to tackling the world’s greatest steeplechase – or at the very least help you narrow down the runners to a more manageable size!
After this you’ll be well on your way to becoming a Grand National betting expert.
When Is The Grand National Run?
Staged at the famous Aintree Racecourse, the race is run each year at the beginning of April
When Are The Grand National Weights Announced?
Every February there is a Grand National luncheon held where all the key media, trainers and owners gather to hear what weight the senior handicapper has given to each horse. Despite these weights being allocated 2 months before the actual race (April) they are set in stone. Therefore, no matter how horses run after the weights are given out these can’t be changed. This sometimes results in certain horses – who may have run well after the weights are announced – looking well-handicapped. However, the bookmakers are quickly onto this with the Grand National odds constantly changing in the Ante-post betting markets in the months and weeks leading up to the race.
How Many Horses Can Run In The Grand National?
Many horses are entered for the Grand National, but due to safety reasons the race is limited to 40 runners.
When Are The Final 40 Runners Announced?
Out of the many horses entered to run only the top 40 in the weights make the final line-up. This often means horses that are 41st or bigger on the Grand National list in the build-up to the race will need horses above them in the weights to be pulled out of the race if they are to make it to post. The final 40 (from the full declared list) are finalised two days before the race (Thursday) – this gives the betting industry enough time to adjust their Grand National betting odds, plus give the media, trainers, owners and jockeys plenty of time to prepare. Note: there are always 3 or 4 reserve horses (generally those numbers 41,42 & 43) that will step in at the last minute should any of the final 40 runners pull out close to the race.
What Are The Best Grand National Betting Offers?
As well as the bookmaker sign-up offers most firms will also want to attract your continued custom by offering you enhanced terms for their existing customers to carry on betting with them. So, again, come Grand National day be sure to shop around to find the best bookmaker Grand National offers and odds out there.
For example, in the past – like during the 2016 Grand National – some bookmakers refunded all bets (up to a certain stakes) if your horse fell or unseated during the race, while others might do a ‘happy hour’ on the day of the race where they boost up the Grand National odds on certain runners.
Extra Place Grand National Offers – Being a handicap race that has more than 16 runners in then the set industry rules will pay the each-way bets down to fourth place. Therefore, if you do back a Grand National horse each-way then your selection must finish first, second, third or fourth. However, as there are so many runners in the race a lot of bookmakers will enhance their place terms to attract your custom. It’s certainly not uncommon for bookmaker betting offers to pay out on the first five home in the Grand National, while it’s been known that some have even extended this to the top six or even seven finishers.
Make Sure You Snap-Up Some Free Grand National Bets – Are you a new customer to a bookmaker? Great if you are and with so many bookies around then even if you do have existing accounts this is always a perfect time to open new ones.
Yes, it doesn’t even matter if you don’t plan to use that new bookmaker account going forward. With so many vying for your custom then most will offer new sign-ups a free grand national bet offer to get you to use them. In many cases these will be in the form of a free bet – each can be slightly different so make sure you read the terms and conditions, but the best ones to look for are the free matched bets.
These simply require you to sign-up, deposit up to a certain stake, and that bookmaker will match that bet. This way you can have a bet on the Grand National and it won’t cost you a penny – plus, there is nothing to stop you joining two or three bookmakers and accumulating even more free Grand National bets!
Remember, before you bet, visit our site to get access to the best bonus offer.
Best Grand National Odds
Grand National betting is always a key part of the race each year and with access to getting bets on these days a lot easier than in the past then just like you would if you were buying a car, clothes or a house you can now shop around for the best deal.
As we’ve already mentioned there are bundles of bookmakers available to us at the moment and if you are a new customer then more often than not they will off you free betting offers in order to sign up with them. Each one is slightly different, but in a nutshell they will offer you free Grand National bets if you join them – for example, several bookmaker firms like to say if you deposit £30 with them, they will match that and give you a further £30 free on them!
Again, the odds comparison site can be a great place to quickly check the best Grand National betting odds – these will tell you which bookmakers are giving the best prices on each Grand National horse – after all, why would you back the Grand National winner at 10/1 if you can get 14/1 with another bookmaking company on the same horse? That’s a 4 point different for just shopping around and getting the best prices on offer.
There will always be different prices on offer as each bookmaker will have different views on the race, while they will also have different liabilities on each horse. This means that if a certain horse wins that bookmaker might stand to lose more than if another horse won – generally meaning the odds on that horse will be lower with that bookmaker.
But that’s great news for the punters as this means more value and more competition to get your custom. Shopping around for the best prices once you’ve decided on which horses you are backing is probably the biggest bit of advice we can give you!
Who Are The Best Grand National Tipsters?
A tricky question to answer, who is the best Grand National tipster, as newspaper tipsters can often dip in and out of form. Yes, these people are the ‘so-called’ experts so it can often pay to take note. However, with so many horse racing tipsters around these days – not only in the national papers, but also online, then before you know it you might have 20 of the 40 Grand National runners being tipped up. Our advice is to make your own selections – even if that is based on a favourite horse, jockey, colour or name – that way if the horse loses you can’t blame anyone, but should it win then you can take all the praise. However, we do feel that applying certain key past trends to the race is a great way of solving the Grand National puzzle (more on these below).
Is There A Certain Type Of Horse That Does Well?
In short – YES! Being a handicap and a race that’s steeped in history then we can look back at past winners of the Grand National and easily build-up an excellent profile of horses that often do well in the race – after all if a certain make-up of horse has run well in the past, surely there is a strong chance that profile of horse will run well in future years – right?
Therefore, if horses with a certain weight, current form or a certain age have won the Grand National more often than others then it can pay to keep history on your side when looking at the final list of runners. Of course, this isn’t the holy grail when it comes to finding the winner year-after-year, but the trends approach throws-up the Grand National winner more often than not, but you will personally have to decide which of the past stats you feel hold most weight.
To help you here we’ve listed the main Grand National trends to look for when it comes to building up the best profile – apply these to the race each year and you’ll quickly see which horses have the best chance, while the 40-strong field (that can look daunting) will quickly shrink to around 5-10 horses – for example, horses aged 7 (or younger) have a shocking record, the last 7 year-old to win was in 1940, so now knowing that key trend would you back any Grand National horse aged 7?
How Many Horses Should I Back In The Grand National?
This really is based on your personal situation and really what kind of betting person you are. Some like to just pick one horse out and stick with it, but our personal advice is that there is no harm having 3 or 4 horses running for you. After all, it’s a tricky race to unravel, with many dangers – this way if your horse falls or unseats early on then you are still in the game.
The odds on the Grand National runners are often quite generous so by splitting your stakes across 3 or 4 horses then, yes, you are reducing your potential winnings, but, on a plus, increasing your chances of finding the actual winner.
For Example – If you’ve £20 to spend on the race you might want to split this across three horses as follows.
- Bonanza Boy 8/1 – £12 win (Returns £108)
- Katies Girl 16/1 – £6 win (Returns £102)
- Daisies Lad 50/1 – £2 win (Returns £102)
Your total outlay is £20, but you’d have 3 of the 40 runners on your side, and if any of these three horses were to win then you’d win just over £100.
Aintree Grand National Trends (Recent Runnings)
- 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
In Summary – If you look for horses aged 9 or 10 years-old, that are carrying 10-12 or less in weight, are Irish bred & trained, ran last no more than 55 days ago and had been placed in any other National race (not just Aintree) – then you have a great make-up of key trends that a lot of the recent winners also had! We’ve listed the quick-fire positives and negatives to look for below.
Grand National Key Trends, Stats and Tips
As we’ve explained the Grand National is a race steeped in history and has been run many times then there are several key positive and negatives to look for when eyeing up the profile of the runners each year. So to help we’ve got the main plus and minus trends to apply to the Grand National runners.
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.
Tips and Trends – Do’s and Don’ts
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 stats 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.
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.
Some recent winners have carried 11st (or more) to victory, but looking back at recent trends make this weight (11st) 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Being run in early April then the British weather can often be very hard to call at this time of the year. Over the years the ground conditions have varied from good-to-firm right through to heavy. Therefore, it goes without saying that this can change very quickly and a horse that might fit the bill a few days before the big race can quickly become a ‘no bet’ based on having bad form in certain ground conditions. Again, if there has been a downpour in the days (or even hours) leading up to the race and the ground is soft (or heavy), then having a horse that’s run well in these conditions in the past is key.
Different Grand National Bets Types
The majority of punters placing bets on the Grand National will just be doing so as ‘win only’ or ‘each-way’ bets – to help we’ve explained these in slightly more detail, plus there are a few other Grand National betting options when it comes to punting on the big race.
Grand National ‘Win Only Bets’
Well this does exactly what it says in the title. You are simply backing a Grand National horse to win the race. Second, third, fourth is no good – it has to win. For a £10 win on 10/1 Grand National winner will return £100 (plus your £10 stake) = £110.00
Grand National ‘ Each-Way Bets’
Each-way bets consist of two bets, so your stakes are always doubled. If you want to place a £10 e/w bet on a horse in the Grand National, then the total stake is £20. One of your £10’s will be placed on the horse to win and the other £10 will go on your horse being placed in the race. As we said earlier the normal place rules are 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th, but should your horse fill one of these places the odds taken are quartered – so a 50/1 placed horse becomes 12.5/1 – meaning you’ll have a £10 bet on the horse being placed in the Grand National at 12.5/1. Obviously, if the horse wins the Grand National you will be paid out twice on each-way bets – on the win and the place.
Grand National ‘Forecast and Tri-cast Bets’
Some might say that it’s hard enough to get the winner of the Grand National, let alone also find the second and third. However, a lot of punters like this bet as the returns are a lot higher. Of course, it’s not easy and a bit more of a ‘lottery-style’ Grand National betting option. However, if you can successful predict the 1st and 2nd, or even the 1st, 2nd and 3rd in the race then you’ll be well rewarded. The 2016 Grand National result saw 33/1 winner, Rule The World, win the race, but with The Last Samuri (8/1) and Vics Canvas (100/1) filling second and third then the forecast return paid £255.07 (to a £1 stake), while the tri-cast paid out at a tasty £23,181.66 (to a £1 stake).
Some punters also like to perm up several runners so it doesn’t matter if you get your horses in the wrong order. For example, if you pick out 4 horses you could decide to place a combination forecast so that means any of your 4 horses can fill the first two places. However, as there are 12 different permutations this bet will cost you 12 times more – for example a £1 combination Grand National forecast will cost you £12.
Grand National Match Betting
A lot of bookmakers will match-up two horses that are around the same price in the betting market and give you odds on which one will finish ahead of the other – or last the longest in the race.
Number Of Finishers
Another Grand National bet that has become popular. You can either try and predict the exact number of finishers in the race or most bookmakers will offer you a spread of finishers, for example…….between 0-10, between 11-20, between 21-30, between 31-40.
TV and Radio Coverage
The world’s most famous steeplechase has been free to broadcast on terrestrial television since 1960 in the UK and up until 2013 was shown exclusively live on the BBC. However, Channel Four Racing took over the Grand National television rights between 2013 and 2016, while in the latest media channel switch the race will be shown on ITV for the first time in 2017.
Grand National Prize Fund
With £1millon in total prize money on offer then the Grand National is the most valuable National Hunt jumps race in the world and, therefore, it goes without saying it attracts some of the best staying chasers from all over the world – but mainly the UK and Ireland.
With the winner getting around £561,000, the second £211,000 and the third £105,500 then even if you don’t win the race there is still decent rewards for being placed. The prize money is divided up and goes right down to tenth place.
The Grand National fences are one of the main reason why this unique race has such appeal to the betting public. With a lot of different obstacles to overcome – well 30 in fact – over the 4m 2 ½ furlong course then it means that not always the best horses win the race. Not only does the Grand National winner have to stay the extreme trip, but they also have to tackle birch-based fences of all different shapes and sizes – add in horses falling at most fences then the winner also has to safely navigate around these riderless runners.
Some fences bigger than others, while others might have the landing side at a different level to try and catch out horse and jockey. These Grand National fences really do test the horsemanship and the relationship between that man or woman doing the steering and, of course, the horse.
So to help you along the way we’ve picked out some of the key and most famous Grand National fences and taken a look at them in a bit more detail.
The Water Jump (Fence 16, 2ft 6in)
Placed in front of the grandstand, the Water Jump is the only fence on the Grand National course that is less than 4ft 6inches in height. Hardy any horses take a tumble here, and it’s generally perceived by the jockeys as the easiest fence on the course. Four horses came to grief here back in 1968, including the previous year’s winner Foinavon, while waterlogging in 1955 meant the fence had to be omitted.
The Chair (Fence 15, 5ft 2in)
This is one of only two fences that is jumped just the once over the Grand National course – the other being the water jump. The Chair is the biggest obstacle the runners have to negotiate, while it’s also the deepest at 3 feet. The fence got its name after a chair which was placed next to the fence, from where the judge used to see if any horses had been beaten by a distance. Despite its size the fence actually doesn’t account for that many fallers, possibly due to the fact that the runners have already taken 14 fences and are now warming to the task – the exception was in 1979 when a rider-less horse caused mayhem here and prevented nine horses jumping the fence.
Valentine’s (Fence 9 & 25, 5ft 6in)
Generally regarded as the lesser of the two brook fences, the other, of course, being Becher’s Brook. That said, the fence still requires a clean jump being immediately after the Canal Turn. The naming of the fence is after the horse Valentine, who pulled himself up at the obstacle way back in 1840, only to pirouette over it and the brook – he went onto eventually finish third.
Becher’s Brook (Fence 6 & 22, 4ft 10in)
Arguably the most famous horse racing fence in the world. It obtained its name after Captain Martin Becher, the rider who came off Conrad into the brook in the first ever Grand National way back in 1839. He is rumoured to have mentioned afterwards that the water should not be ingested without brandy or whisky. The fence is mostly famous due to its 7ft drop on the landing side and although it’s been modified in recent years it’s still regarded by the jockeys as one of the hardest obstacles to jump on the Grand National course. Nine horses fell, refused or were brought down on the first circuit here back in 2004, while a lot of people will remember Tony McCoy being carried out here on the well-fancied Clan Royal back in 2005.
Foinavon (Fence 7 & 23, 4ft 6in)
One of the smallest of the Grand National fences, Foinavon became part of the races history in 1967 when the rider-less Popham Down veered across the whole field approaching the fence on the second circuit, which resulted in virtually all of the remaining horses being stopped, or brought down. However, jockey John Buckingham was able to steer his mount, Foinavon, around the carnage, jump the fence and go onto record a 100/1 win by 15 lengths.
Canal Turn (Fence 8 & 24, 5ft)
Visually one of the most impressive sights of the Grand National and the 90 degree turn after jumping the fence can often cause jockeys a whole host of steering problems. The obstacle is situated where the track meets the Leeds-Liverpool canal, and the fence is often the scene of plenty of talking points – most notably in 2001 when Paddy’s Return forces eight horses out of the contest.
Grand National Trial Races
As we build-up to the Grand National each year there are several trial races that horses run in to get prepared for the big day at Aintree racecourse. However, not all the trial races live up to their names and over the years some have a better record of producing the Grand National winner – we’ve taken a more in-depth look at the best Grand National trial races around.
In recent years only the Paddy Power Gold Cup, run at Cheltenham’s Open Meeting in November each year, the Welsh Grand National (Chepstow racecourse – run in late December) and Hennessy Gold Cup (Newbury racecourse – run in February) have featured more than one winner of the Aintree Grand National in that same season, however, the race that really should be looked back on is the previous season’s Irish Grand National (run late April).
With the Irish version being run after the Aintree race then you have to go back almost 11 months, but this race has been a fantastic guide to helping find the winner of the Grand National in recent years, so it’s worth the extra work. In recent years’ winners of the Irish race went onto double up in Liverpool the following season.
The Scottish Grand National is another key trial race to not – but again, this contest, that is staged at Ayr racecourse, is run after the Aintree Grand National towards the middle and end of April so you will need to look back at past winners/runners of the Scottish race to see if any are heading to Aintree the following season.
The final thing to note is that in recent year’s trainers are bringing their Grand National hopes along slowly and often campaign them over hurdles in the months leading up to the big day. In 2010 Don’t Push took in the Pertemps Final Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival before going onto glory, a route he took again in 2011 to finish third. While the 2014 winner Pineau De Re was also campaigned over hurdles prior to going onto Aintree Grand National glory for trainer Dr Richard Newland.
Each year another form of Grand National betting is the ‘SweepStake’. Most big horse racing sites will have these offer to download in the days leading up to the Grand National, while most of the main UK newspapers will also provide you with a Grand National SweepStake kit to help you.
In short once the final 40 runners are declared (2 days before the race) these will be listed with fully jockey, trainer and colours for you to cut out and sell to people – most commonly done in your workplace or in the pub!
You can decide the rules and amount charged per runner, but just cut out all the runners and put them in a hat for paying people to pick out. Then just write their names next to their horse and wait for the race to be run. You will need to decide on the pay-out rules before the race, but the most common method is to split the total taking over the 1st, 2nd and 3rd horses to finish – with the winner getting the most.
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
In recent years the focus on the lady riders in the Aintree Grand National has increased – Why? Well, in short the female jockeys are simply getting better and with that better rides and are more likely to pick up one of the 40 rides on offer in the Aintree Grand National.
In recent years (2012) we saw Katie Walsh (Ruby’s sister) finish third on the well-backed Seabass – that became the best-ever finish for a lady rider.
Nina Carberry is another lady pilot that’s been bagging plenty of rides in the race – she’s ridden in it many times now – with a 7th on Character Building in 2010 the best she’s managed so far.
So, yes, the females are still to win the race, but many think it won’t be long before that’s changed.
Other key female facts
- Venetia Williams is the only female to train the winner and also ride in the race
- Charlotte Brew was the first lady rider to take part (1977)
- Geraldine Rees was the first to complete (1982)
- Rosemary Henderson finished 5th on her own 100/1 shot Fiddlers Pike at the age of 51 (1994)
- Carrie Ford grabbed the headlines in 2005 when she finished fifth on Forest Gunner, a horse her husband trained, while she’d only given birth 10 weeks earlier.
- Jennie Pitman trained the 1983 winner Corbiere and the 1995 winner, Royal Athlete
Red Rum – A Grand National Legend
Even now when people mention the ‘Grand National’ then one of the first things that pops into their heads is the legendary Red Rum, who won the race an astonishing three times back in the 1970’s. This classy chaser notched his first of the three wins in the Grand National in 1973 and he then went into take the honours again in 1974 and 1977. He’s the only horse to have won a hat-trick of wins in the contest and with many past Grand National winners trying to repeat his remarkable feat and failing in recent years then it might be a long time before we see his trio of National wins broken.
Strangely the horse was bred to be a sprinter – not a long distance staying chaser. Not only did Rummy win the race three times he also finished second twice – making his the most successful horse in Grand National history. His story is made even more remarkable as in his early career he had a bone disease that virtually ended his career. However, he went to the Ginger McCain yard that worked their horses mainly on the beach – the easier ground and the salt water worked wonders and healed Rummy bones issues – transforming the horse form almost giving up racing to landing three Grand Nationals.
Once retired from racing Red Rum become a minor celebrity career as he led parades at up-coming Grand Nationals, plus numerous opening of betting shops and appearances on TV shows.
Red Rum died in October 1995 at the age of 30 – 18 years after winning his last Grand National – he was buried on Aintree’s Grand National course, by the winning post, while the track named a race, that’s run at the Grand National meeting, after him called the Red Rum Chase which is still run to this date.
Key Grand National Dates
- 1837: A horse called THE DUKE wins the first Great Liverpool Steeplechase at Maghull – the track is 3miles from the current Aintree course.
- 1839: Aintree racecourse is the new venue for the Grand National and many see this as the real first ever running. A horse called LOTTERY won the race.
- 1847: The race is officially named the GRAND NATIONAL.
- 1927: Jockey Ted Leader rides SPRIG to victory in the first Grand National to be broadcast by a BBC radio commentary.
- 1928: 41 of the 42 horses to start the race fell. It was left for a horse called Tipperary Tim to win and become the first winner at odds of 100/1. Plus, with just two horses and riders finishing the course then this race also holds the record for the fewest number of Grand National finishers.
- 1934: Grand National legend, GOLDEN MILLER becomes the first (and only at the moment) horse to win the Grand National and the Cheltenham Gold Cup in that current season.
- 1956: The Queen Mother-owned DEVON LOCH and jockey Dick Francis, looked sure to secure the Grand National when clear on the run-in – only the suddenly fall flat on all-fours just yards from the winning post – losing the race.
- 1967: An almighty pile-up at the 23rd fence this year. Jockey John Buckingham and the complete outsider FOINAVON avoided the chaos and galloped to victory at 100-1 win – that fence is now called the Foinavon.
- 1977: The classy RED RUM wins again to record this third win in the race and break more records. That’s three wins and two seconds.
- 1979: RUBSTIC wins the race to become the first Scottish-trained winner.
- 1981: ALDANITI, returned from a career-threatening injury several times, wins the Grand National for jockey Bob Champion, who also fought, and beat, cancer.
- 1983: CORBIERE’s made Jenny Pitman the first woman to train the winner.
- 1993: The false start year. 30 out of the 39 jockeys began the race despite a false start being called – not seeing the flag, which meant a void result for the seven horses who finished. Jockey John White wins the race on the Jenny Pitman-trained ESHA NESS, only to discover the race after the line that it was voided – it was never re-run.
- 1994: MIINNEHOMA, owned by comedian Freddie Starr, and ridden by Richard Dunwoody, gives champion trainer Martin Pipe his first National win – plus, 51-year-old grandmother, Rosemary Henderson, completes the course on her own horse FIDDLERS PIKE, who finishes fifth.
- 1995: Jenny Pitman, the first lady of Aintree, gains her second success – two years after her first – with ROYAL ATHLETE.
- 1997: The National was to be postponed after two bomb plots were received from the IRA. The track was secured by police who then evacuated jockeys, race personnel, and local residents along with 60,000 spectators. The race was run 48 hours later on the Monday, with the meeting organisers offering 20,000 tickets with free admission. The rearranged race was won in by 14/1 shot LORD GYLLENE under jockey Tony Dobbin.
- 2001: RED MARAUDER won the race in desperate conditions as only 4 horses finished and two of those had to be remounted – something the jockeys are no longer allowed to do.
- 2002: BINDEREE became trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies’ second winner in the race after also winning the Grand National in 1998 with EARTH SUMMIT.
- 2009: MON MOME shocked the betting public, but made the bookmakers happy when winning the race at 100/1
- 2010: Leading jumps jockey, SIR TONY McCOY, won the race for the first time on a horse called Don’t Push It.
- 2014/15: Jockey LEIGHTON ASPELL rides back-to-back winners of the Grand National on two different horses (Many Clouds and Pineau De Re).
- The first ever Grand National was staged in 1839 and won by a horse called Lottery at 5/1
- The smallest Grand National field was in 1883 when only 10 lined-up.
- The quickest ever Grand National running time stands at 8 minutes 47.8 seconds by a horse called Mr Frisk (1990).
- The 1929 running of the Grand National attracted the most starters to date when 66 horses headed to post – now for safety reasons the contest is restricted to 40.
- The slowest Grand National time is the 14m 53s (Lottery, 1839).
- The lowest number of Grand National finishers was in 1928 – the winner was Tipperary Tim at 100-1 and one of just two finishers.
- The most Grand National finishers was 23 in 1984. Hallo Dandy won the race and 17 horses finished the race.
- The shortest price Grand National winner was Poethlyn – who returned at 11/4 in the betting in the 1919 renewal.
Recent Grand National Results and Winners
- 2016 Rule The World 9 10-7 Mouse Morris David Mullins 33/1
- 2015 Many Clouds 8 11-09 Oliver Sherwood Leighton Aspell 25/1
- 2014 Pineau De Re 11 10-06 Dr Richard Newland Leighton Aspell 25/1
- 2013 Auroras Encore 11 10-03 Mrs S Smith Ryan Mania 66/1
- 2012 Neptune Collonges 11 11-06 P Nicholls D Jacob 33/1
- 2011 Ballabriggs 10 11-00 D McCain J Maguire 14/1
- 2010 Don’t Push It 10 11-05 J O’Neill AP McCoy 10/1JF
- 2009 Mon Mome 9 11-00 Miss V Williams L Treadwell 100/1
- 2008 Comply Or Die 9 10-09 D E Pipe T Murphy 7/1JF
- 2007 Silver Birch 10 10-06 G Elliott R M Power 33/1
- 2006 Numbersixvalverde 10 10-08 M Brassil N P Madden 11/1
- 2005 Hedgehunter 9 11-01 W P Mullins R Walsh 7/1F
- 2004 Amberleigh House 12 10-10 D McCain G Lee 16/1
- 2003 Monty´s Pass 10 10-07 JJ Mangan B J Geraghty 16/1
- 2002 Bindaree 8 10-04 N A Twiston-Davies J Culloty 20/1
- 2001 Red Marauder 11 10-11 N B Mason Richard Guest 33/1
- 2000 Papillon 9 10-12 T M Walsh R Walsh 10/1
- 1999 Bobbyjo 9 10-00 T Carberry P Carberry 10/1
- 1998 Earth Summit 10 10-05 N A Twiston-Davies C Llewellyn 7/1F
- 1997 Lord Gyllene 9 10-00 S A Brookshaw A Dobbin 14/1
- 1996 Rough Quest 10 10-07 T Casey M A Fitzgerald 7/1F
- 1995 Royal Athlete 12 10-06 Mrs J Pitman J F Titley 40/1
- 1994 Miinnehoma 11 10-08 M C Pipe R Dunwoody 16/1
- 1992 Party Politics 8 10-07 N A Gaselee C Llewellyn 14/1
- 1991 Seagram 11 10-06 D H Barons N Hawke 12/1
- 1990 Mr Frisk 11 10-06 K C Bailey Mr M Armytage 16/1
We hope that after reading our in-depth Grand National Guide you are now a bit more educated on the world’s greatest steeple chase, but above all, we hope that our useful Grand National betting tips and hints will help you find the winner of the Merseyside marathon for many years to come – Enjoy!