The Grand National

I don’t need to say much here as there will be acres of writing on the background to the world’s most famous horse race.  As a spectacle, it’s the highlight of the National Hunt calendar and arguably the highlight of British horse racing jumps or indeed flat.  It’s a race that brings out office sweepstakes and people who have a bet just once a year. That’s the sort of race it is! It’s no exaggeration to say it’s a cavalry charge and you need plenty of luck to win it.  Last years race was won by One For Arthur and the previous year, it was won by Rule The World who had never won over fences!

Market leaders have won the Grand National twice in the past ten years and if you had backed all the market leaders in that period you would have made a profit of 2pts so there are a lot tougher handicaps for favourite-backers at this meeting.

Race Trends:

Looking at the last 10 renewals of the race, there have been 10 winners from 398 runners 40 placed.

In recent years there have been a number of changes to the National course to make me cautious as to whether a traditional 10-year look at the trends works.  The big changes to have occurred in the race include:

  • Making Becher’s Brook safer;
  • Moving the Start closer to the first fence;
  • Making the fences from softer materials.

Here are some key trends to help you start to unravel not only the Grand National but some of the other races at the three-day festival –

The Fate of the Favourites

For those of you who like to follow the favourites the stats for the past 5 Aintree Grand National festivals make for interesting reading:

All favourites: 32 winners from 122 runners

Strike rate 26%

SP Loss -25.97

A/E 0.89

60 places

Place Strike rate 49%


28 winners from 75 runners

Strike Rate 37%

SP Loss -3.97

A/E 0.98

45 placed

Place Strike Rate 60%


4 winners from 47 runners

Strike Rate 9%

SP Loss -22

A/E 0.55

15 places

Place Strike Rate 32% 

Unlike the Cheltenham Festival there is no edge to backing favourites in non-handicaps and interestingly the handicap races have a very similar win percentage.

Cheltenham Runners at the Aintree Festival

More interesting are the stats regarding horses that ran at the Cheltenham Festival and then went on to run at Aintree.

Here is the record of those horses that ran at the Cheltenham festival and then went on to run at Aintree since 2012:

66 winners from 590 runners


SP Loss -100.72

A/E 0.96

176 placed

Place Strike Rate 30%

If we focus in on those horses from Cheltenham that went to Aintree, having finished in the first three at Cheltenham:

40 winners from 149 runners

Strike Rate 27%

SP Profit +68.63

A/E 1.19

78 placed

Place Strike Rate 52%

+93.59 – with a level stakes profit to Betfair SP of 101.65.

Meanwhile, those horse’s that finished outside the first three last time out are:

26 winners from 441 runners

Strike Rate 6%

SP Profit +169.35

98 places

Place Strike Rate 22%

We can see from those stats that a top three finish at the Cheltenham Festival is of significance when coming to Aintree.  Indeed contrast that with those horses that came to the Aintree Festival having finished in the first three at any track besides Cheltenham last time out:

24 winners from 644 runners

Strike Rate 4%

SP Loss -296.5

A/E 0.53

102 places

Place Strike Rate 16%

Looking at those runners in handicaps, who had finished in the first four in a handicap at the Cheltenham Festival last time out are:

9 winners from 56 runners

Strike Rate 16%

SP Profit +74.5

A/E 1.5

23 placed

Place Strike rate 41%

BSP Profit +107.50

Keep, checking back to this page, as in the next few days I will be using the above stats to look at what I will be backing in the big race, itself.

John Burke

I have a MA in International Politics and having spent a number of years working in political campaigning but I eventually I realised that politics was not the world where I wanted to work I had been interested in horse racing since the late 1980s but in the early years I was merely just betting and watching racing like most people as a bit of fun and a hobby, then the hobby becomes a passion and that’s what happened to me with horse racing. I soon realised that to make money from my hobby I had to learn as much as I could about the sport and betting in general. The whole process took time but after a number of successful years of betting, I decided in 2011 to take the plunge, gave up my full time day job and decided to bet on horse racing as a part time business and I haven’t looked back since. I like to specialise in the better class of races and I love to solve the puzzles posed by big field handicaps the latter races often provide punters with great value betting opportunities. Whilst most of my time is spent reviewing previous races I like to keep things as simple as possible as even the biggest field handicaps can usually be pruned down to half a dozen strong contenders with the right sort of approach.
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