With Cheltenham locked away for another year, plenty of peoples attention will turn towards the looming presence of the flat season. That, however, is distant in the future for the National Hunt fans, as we still have two big Festivals to look forward to. The first of those is the Aintree Festival, which encompasses the world famous Grand National.
A race that stops the nation and perhaps the most famous race on the calendar, why is it that the Grand National is so ingrained into our folklore? Read on for our need to know guide for the 2019 Grand National, with our horse racing tips available every day leading up to the famed contest.
With Cheltenham little more than an exciting memory the racing circus moves on with the next big stop off at Aintree (Liverpool) for the Grand National Meeting from the fourth to the sixth of April, and we have an up to date list of the expected runners here.
At Cheltenham the Magners Gold Cup kept its place as the number one race at the meeting with regard to official betting turnover but those figures pale into insignificance when compared to the Grand National, the race everyone wants a piece of, from hardened punters to office sweepstakes.
First run way back in 1839 (officially), the race used to be a lottery (coincidentally the name of the first winner), but 70’s legend Red Rum is by far the most famous ever runner with three wins and two-second places for a record that is unlikely to ever be broken.
Interestingly, as the race has gained in popularity (and increased its prize money) it has attracted better and better horses and with the standard of runner rising year on year, it takes ability, stamina and a modicum of luck to come home in front here.
On Saturday April 6th a full field of forty runners will be fully expected to start the race that captures the public’s imagination like no other, on the hunt for a massive £500,000 first prize for the winner and a not to be sniffed at £5,000 for the horse coming home in tenth, with descending amounts between them.
Not only is it popular with us punters, but also with owners too. As I write this, there are still a hundred horses declared for the race and hoping that they get into the final line-up and a shot at racing history.
Four miles two and a half furlongs await those who make it to the start come race day and the little matter of thirty fences to jump as well, with the handicap drawing the most competitive field possible.
In simple terms, the better horses are forced to give weight to their “inferiors” (those rated lower), with the amount allocated decided via an official rating and as things stand, that will leave Bristol De Mai carrying 11st 10lb, while last year’s winner Tiger Roll carries 11st 9lb. It’s no wonder he is the 5/1 favourite at the time of writing despite having nine pounds more than he shouldered to success in 2018!
Looking back at recent winners and we see a 10/1 joint favourite in 2010 for a certain A P McCoy but no signs of any other favourites, with winners at 10/1 to 100/1 in the last ten years. That is one of the reasons the race is so popular, you seem to have a chance of finding the winner with your pet’s name or a liking for the colours as much as the form book and when you do, you invariably get a good return for your money thanks to the prices.
Yes! The bookmakers love this race as it brings out the once a year punters in their droves, but they also come up with various offers, perhaps enhanced prices, maybe extra places (amazingly they only have to pay out on the first four each-way but pity the bookie who does so, he or she won’t get much business), and that is where we can all take advantage.
Look out for the best offers with on our Free Bets and improve your odds of success in perhaps the biggest and most popular race on the planet, watched by 600 million or more worldwide in over 140 countries, making it bigger than any other annual sports event on earth.