Whilst Liverpool and Everton fans head down the Liverpool Lime Street-Euston line for Saturday’s FA Cup Semi-Final at Wembley, back home one of this biggest sporting events is taking place at Aintree in North Liverpool.
The Grand National is certainly the most popular horse race in Britain and a race in which everyone wants to have a bet, whatever the size. Unfortunately, many punters are backing horses that historically have no chance of actually winning the race. It takes a certain type of horse to win the Grand National and when you can find reasons to back up the stats that help find the winner, it makes sense to use those stats to find the most likely winners from the Grand National runners.
Backing favourites in horse racing can be frowned upon in some circles but backing the favourites, or other well fancied horses, in the Grand National has been a great tactic in recent years. There have been 21 Grand National races run since 1990 and 17 of those have gone to horses who have started the race with odds of 20/1 or less and 12 have been won by horses carrying odds of 14/1 or less. This shows that Grand National winners are not only fairly well fancied but very well fancied in most years. There is always the rare upset, Mon Mome won at 100/1 in 2009, but with only 4 winners from the last 21 starting at more than 20/1 it makes sense to look at the best fancied horses if looking for the most likely Grand National runners to win the Grand National.
There is one ‘favourite’ to take on though each year and that is the previous year’s Grand National winner. The previous year’s winner has a decent record of running well the next year if they run at all but no horse has managed to put successive victories together in the race since the great Red Rum in 1974 and Red Rum is the only horse to manage this in the last 76 years. This is bad news for Ballabriggs then but whilst you should be put off backing him to win, don’t be afraid to back him to place. Last year the reigning champ Don’t Push It ran into third, 2008 winner Comply Or Die was a runner up in 2009 whilst Hedgehunter followed up his 2005 win with a great effort to finish second in 2006. They were all near favouritism on the day and all failed to win but they are proof that Ballabriggs will probably finish second or third, good news for punters brave enough to have a forecast or tricast bet on the race.
The main reason why horses can’t put back to back wins together in this race is weight. The Grand National is a handicap and the previous year’s winner will always end up carrying more weight than they did the year before. It seems the cut off for a potential winner weight-wise is 11-5. Red Rum was the last winner to carry more than 11-5 to victory and he is a bit of a Grand National freak, the likes of which we will never see again. The only horses to even place in the Grand National in the last seven years carrying more than 11-5 had either won or placed in the Grand National previously and if horses carrying more than 11-5 can’t win this year, including the fancied horses, that would rule out at least Synchronised, Ballabriggs and Calgary Bay who, as things stand, will be running in this year’s race.
These aren’t the only stats that a potential Grand National winner will need to pass, the last ten winners of the Grand National had met other key statistics such as winning over 3 miles or more, winning a chase worth at least £17,000 and also running in ten or more races over fences before taking in the Grand National. Find all the Grand National horses that meet the standards this year here.