Although having a bet on the horses goes against the grain for most people who choose to live a frugal lifestyle, many will make an exception this Saturday – 5th April – when the Grand National takes place.
The Grand National is renowned for being one of the hardest steeple chase races in the horse racing calendar. It was first run in 1839, and apart from the World War years and in 1993, the race has been staged every year. This year will be the 167th Grand National and the prize fund is a record £1million.
It is estimated that between £40m and £80m is bet on the Grand National every year. And if you join www.betfair.com you can get a free £50 bet when you place your first bet on the sports book. Betfair is also offering a £10 refund for any Grand National bets placed on horses that don’t complete the race; which, given the uncertainty of the race’s outcome, is a generous offer!
There are different schools of thought when it comes to narrowing down the field to choose a National winner. The majority of people will not consider the form or stats. Instead, they’ll choose a name that has significance for them – and with so many names to choose from that’s not hard. Before Saturday, you’ll get better prices with antepost betting than you will on the day of the race, but remember, there’s a possibility that you’ll be backing a non-runner.
However, if you do take the statistics of previous Nationals into consideration, you could narrow down the field to realistic chances. In the last three decades, 80% of winning National horses have been aged 9, 10 or 11. Weight is also very relevant in this handicap race – the heavier the weight, the ‘better’ the horse’s form. The average winning weight for the National in the last thirty years has been around 10stones, but many of the recent winners have carried more than this. Just bearing these two stats in mind could help you eliminate some of the longer shots, and give you a reasonable chance of picking the Grand National winner.