Winners at the Grand National – What’s in a Name?

The Grand National is almost here. So we thought we’d do a bit of pointless name analysis ahead of Europe’s most famous race.

Yes, that’s right, we’ve analysed the last 168 Grand National winners to see if there are any cromulent trends. Which names fare well – verbs, adjectives or names? Which letters are most likely to wield a winning horse?

No data about running form, no insight into race trends – you’ll find that important, useful betting information here – just some good old fashioned superstition and pointless statistics.

No horse has ever won the Grand National with a name starting with U, Y or X

So if you’re thinking Unioniste (25-1) or Ucello Conti (33-1), don’t bother.

The last time a horse won with a Z in its name was 1883 (Zoedone)

Sorry, Kruzhlinin (20-1).

Only one horse with a four-word name (Wild Man From Borneo) has ever won the Grand National

Whether that was a reason for shutthefrontdoor being so named, we can’t comment.



While horses with one-word names most commonly win, just 2 of the last 10 victors have had a moniker with less than two words. Makes you think, huh?


The average number of letters in the name of a Grand National Winning Horse. That’s just one of the reasons Many Clouds is this year’s favourite.

Red Rum is the only horse named after an alcoholic drink to have won the Grand National 

Another reason to love Britain’s favourite horse.

9 Grand National winners (5.3%) have a colour in their name

You’ll have to go to 50-1 to find a runner to continue that trend (Black Thunder).

21 (12.5%) of victors have a name in their name

Could Gallant Oscar (20-1) make a name for himself?

7 (4.1%) have a ‘the’ in their name

The Last Samuri, trained by Grand National winning Kim Bailey is second favourite. However, you’ll have to go back to 1896 for the last time a ‘the’ horse won the National.

13 (7.7%) have a verb in their name

Monty’s Pass, Comply Or Die and Don’t Push It have all shown that recent Grand Nationals favour ‘doing’ horses, which is perhaps why last year’s favourite shutthefrontdoor was so heavily backed. Or not.

Nevertheless, this trend means you should expect him (20-1) or Cause Of Causes (16-1) to be there or thereabouts.

12 (7.14%) have an adjective in their name

Again, bad news for the second-favourite Last Samuri.

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(Red Rum Image: Paul under CC By 2.0)

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