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Saturday, 15 December, 2018

Eight essential tips for betting on the Grand National meeting

Vics Canvas [right]: has been retired from racing
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Top tipster Pietro Innocenzi offers eight dos and don'ts when betting on the Grand National meeting

1 Do follow horses who ran well at the previous month's Cheltenham Festival. Since 2006, had you blindly backed those who had finished in the first four at Cheltenham you would have made a £1 level-stake profit of £90.40.

2 Don't back dodgy jumpers. The stiff fences and flat track mean runners jump at faster speeds than they are used to and that can prove too much of a test for those who are not sure-footed. In a similar vein, horses who travel strongly tend to be well suited by Aintree's sharp contours.

3 Don't get carried away with horses who have got round in the Grand National before. The last seven winners were running in the race for the first time, although runners who have gone well in the the Irish, Scottish or Welsh versions are well worth noting.

It also appears to have become a younger man's game since the fences were modified and the take-offs leveled, with significantly fewer fallers in the last four years. It is nowhere near the test it used to be, with Many Clouds winning as an eight-year-old in 2015 and nine-year-old Rule The World breaking his duck over fences last year (15 of the 16 finishers were less than ten years of age).

Auroras Encore leads the field en route to victory in the 2013 Grand National
4 Don't follow the market. Seven of the last ten Grand National winners ranged in price from 25-1 to 100-1 and plenty of late gambles have come unstuck, Shutthefrontdoor in 2015 the latest. In fact it has proved costly to follow favourites at the meeting in general, with losses particularly heavy in hurdle races.

5 Do check out the best offers from bookmakers. For instance, BetVictor stand out as the only firm paying a quarter the odds the first six home in the Grand National (Paddy Power are also first six but to a fifth). 

6 Don't expect the Irish to dominate as they did at Cheltenham. Willie Mullins and Gordon Elliott farmed races at last month's Festival, but Aintree doesn't have anywhere near the same appeal to the Irish and they won't have half as many runners (Mullins is unlikely to come close to the six winners he had 12 months ago, which is a real spike in his record).

Indeed, since 2007, Mullins and Elliott have had only 14 winners between them at Aintree - that's just two more than they had together in four days at Cheltenham last month.

7 Do keep Nicky Henderson's Cheltenham Festival winners on your side. In the last ten seasons five of them have followed up at Aintree for the Seven Barrows handler from just eight runners. This season he is set to saddle Champion Hurdler Buveur D'air and Might Bite, who won an epic RSA Chase.

8 Don't be tied down to your original thoughts, be flexible. Look to respond promptly to things that are happening on track. Also look for form lines that are working out well and be quick to react accordingly.

Click for Grand National card and betting

Don't expect the Irish to dominate as they did at Cheltenham
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