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Grand National Tips from the experts

Proven stamina is essential

The Grand National’s grueling marathon trip of 4m2f can test even the strongest of stayers, so it’s essential to find a horse that will get every yard of the trip. Only two of the previous ten winners had not run beyond 3m3f previously, so the obvious place to start would be contenders who have experience over extreme distances. It’s also worth paying close attention to form in other regional Grand Nationals, such as the Midlands, Welsh and Scottish. Horses who have gone well in these races tend to put up a bold show in the Aintree Grand National, using their regional equivalent as a trial or preparation race.

Classier type the new trend

In recent years there has been a shift in the typical profile of a Grand National winner. Traditionally, punters would be on the money looking for a ‘well-handicapped' horse who had snuck in at the bottom of the weights. However, in recent years the higher-rated horses have come to the fore and tend to stamp their class in the race. Whilst carrying a lot of weight is certainly far from ideal over this marathon trip, the likes of Many Clouds, Neptune Collonges, and Tiger Roll have all proven it’s possible to win this race with more than 11st on their back.

Age and experience

It’s no secret that horses get slower as they get older, and naturally, a staying trip tends to suit horses better as they mature. No seven-year-old has ever won the Grand National, while the stats suggest 9 year-olds have the best chance having won 45 of the last 170 runnings of the race. Experience is key in the hustle and bustle of the Grand National and a fluent round of jumping is crucial in a horse’s chances of winning. With 30 flights of fences to be navigated, and a 40-runner field to compete with, the ideal candidate would be a seasoned chaser who won’t be affected by the atmosphere of the occasion.

No Irish bias

Irish-trained horses often have a very good record in the major British races, but the British tend to hold their own in their crown jewel, the Grand National. In the last twenty runnings of the race there have been 9 Irish and 11 British winners, suggesting no true bias, but with 4 of the last 5 runnings going to the Irish, could the tide be turning? Irish-based owners Giggingstown, always have a strong hand in the race, and having won 3 of the last 5 renewals of the race, their horses could be ones to look out for.

Course form a bonus

The fences in the Grand National are unique, so experience around Aintree is a massive bonus. In the past six years, 11 of the 30 runners to fill the first five places in the Grand National have run at the course previously. Pay extra attention to the other major Aintree races, the Topham Chase and Becher Chase rather than the previous runnings of the Grand National itself. Horses who return to the Grand National for a second or third time don’t have the best record in the race, whilst Tiger Roll bucked the trend in 2020 with back-to-back wins.

Grand National preparation

The Grand National is a handicap, which means each runner is awarded an official rating by the BHA handicapper, based on previous form and reflects that horse’s ability. The higher the rating, the more weight that horse must carry in order to create a level playing field. Winning a race over fences would penalise a horse and consequently increase its official mark. Therefore, some trainers try to protect a horse's rating by campaigning them to peak at a particular time of year so don’t be put off by a series of high numbers in a horse’s form.


A breakdown of the different bet types you can place on the Grand National.

Win bet

A win bet is a type of horse racing bet where the person selects a single horse in the race to finish in first place. You only win the bet if your horse finishes first which can be quite risky unless you really know your horses and have studied their form. However, this can be quite a fun bet to place as the stakes are higher. For example, a successful £2 win bet at odds of 4/1 will see you receive a payout of £8, plus you get your initial £2 stake back too.

Each-way bet

An each-way bet is a two-part bet, with half the stake going on the selection to win and the other half on the selection to place. It costs double that of a traditional win bet and will yield some sort of return if the selection wins or is placed. For example, you place £5 each-way (£10 in total) on a horse priced at 8-1 with a bookmaker offering 1/4 odds for three places. If the horse places you will receive £15, but if the horse wins you will collect £60 (£45 for the win and £15 for the place), both returns including the original stake.

Place only bet

A place bet is a type of horse racing betting that requires the punter to select a single horse in the race to finish in either first or second place. As long as the horse finishes first or second, the bet is won. The amount paid on the bet is unequivocal e.g. the payout is the same no matter whether the horse finishes first or second.

Ante-post bet

Ante post bets are those placed well in advance of a race or event. As soon as the Grand National has finished each year it’s no surprise the bookmakers are quick to price up the odds on next year’s race. Even if punters have to wait another year. Betting on any event way in advance has some risks attached to it. But it’s not all lost, there are also some advantages too! Below are some of the caveats to watch out for: - Your horse might not race at The Grand National - Only 40 horses are allowed to race - You might get worse odds - Racing conditions can change - Missing out on Grand National offers with other bookmakers

Forecast bet

In horse racing, a forecast is where punters pick, in the correct finishing order, the top two finishers in a race. Due to the amount of runners in a race such as the Grand National, forecasts, which are paid according to the official industry forecast return, can be extremely high and their reward is paid out to the £1. In the UK, the return is calculated using an equation that takes into account the odds of the horses involved and the number of runners in the race, which in this case is around 40. A reverse-forecast bet requires double the stake and the selections can finish first and second in any order.

Tricast bet

A tricast is a type of horse racing bet in which a punter must predict the winner, runner-up and third placed horse in any particular race at the Grand National. Whilst they are not easy to predict, they can return at massive odds if you get it right. There are several different types of tricast open to a punter. The straight tricast involves predicting the first, second and third home. Predicting the first and second home and the other selection finishing fourth will land nothing. Predicting the first, second and third home in the wrong order will also have no returns. Conversely, a combination tricast allows a punter to predict the first three places in any order, as long as all three selected horses finish in the first, second and third places. As you can imagine the drawback to this bet is that it costs six times the stake and it’s effectively the same as putting six straight tri-casts on without the cumbersome procedure of creating six separate betting slips.

Tote betting

A type of bet frequently placed at a racecourse. You can back horses to win or place, and a dividend is paid out afterwards to winning bets as the bets all go into a pool. If the winner of a race doesn’t have many tickets attached to it then the return here will be higher. Again, it’s a bit like if the lottery pool was won by 10 people or just 1.

Dutching bet

Dutching involves backing several selections in the same event. The idea is to split your bets in such a way that an equal profit is made regardless of the outcome. However, it is a risky strategy because if none of your horses win, you lose everything. Broadly speaking, Dutching is a viable betting strategy on the betting exchanges if you know how to do this properly. If you do decide to dutch on horse racing, it is best to stick to non-handicap races because favourites win a high percentage of the time. With no handicapper to make the race competitive, the best horses normally win.