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Compare Grand National Betting Odds
Compare Grand National betting from the top bookies. The world's most spectacular horse race is run at Aintree on April 5, 2014. Grab the best odds for your fancy below, see the Grand National free bets on the right and check out our big-race tip below that.
Grand National Betting
4.15pm Saturday, April 5, 2014; click best betting odds in bold to visit that bookie.
Grand National betting trends: shorten the odds of picking big race winner
What makes half the UK adult population reach into their pockets for a wager on the Grand National betting odds? It becomes a national obsession for one day a year when the huge showpiece event is run at Aintree racecourse in Liverpool.
This is an extraordinary phenomenon but it is an extraordinary race. Only the English could devise a race to gamble on that resembles a cavalry charge with forty horses setting out to gallop four and half miles and jump thirty fences that are higher and sometimes wider than any encountered elsewhere on a racecourse.
The subsequent spectacle has made this the world's most famous and most watched steeplechase. First run in 1839, the level of interest in the race grew to such a degree that by 1947 the race was run on a Saturday for the first time at the request of the then Prime Minister, Clement Attlee, who claimed it was for the benefit of the UK economy.
The showpiece event was first televised in 1960. In 1961 bookmakers away from racecourses became legal and the first high street betting shops opened. Turnover has been increasing ever since. During the global recession of 2009, Grand National betting bucked the economic trend and generated turnover in excess of a quarter of a billion pounds.
The bookies' great fear is that a fancied horse with a person's name in it is successful. If 2009 7-1 favourite, My Will, had prevailed it could have been record losses rather than what turned into record profits. For the big winners in the 2009 spectacular were unquestionably the bookmakers. Only the betting shop that had the misfortune to be the closest to the winning trainer Venetia Williams' yard reported a loss when her 100-1 shot Mon Mome prevailed.
At those huge Grand National betting odds the little fancied Mon Mome helped to keep the myth alive that 'anyone can win.' To find another 100-1 winner, you need to delve back to 1967 for Foinavon, who carried John Buckingham to victory. Unlike Mon Mome, he seemed to have little chance in a conventionally run race but was the main beneficiary of a field-destroying pile up at the 23rd fence which now bears that Foinavon's name.
But Mon Mome was no flash in the pan as a recently successful longshot. Not quite triple-figure odds but almost was Auroras Encore, a 66/1 runaway nine-length winner in 2013. Low-profile journeyman jockey Ryan Mania guided the 11-year-old home for trainer Sue Smith and her famous former showjumping husband Harvey. The winner was towards the bottom of the handicap and carried just 10st 3lb, which proved advantageous on the good to soft going.
One leading bookmaker claims that one in three punters is female. What makes women venture into the male dominated world of gambling purely for the potential massacre that is the Grand National? Few women jockeys have elected to take part but two ladies, Venetia Williams with Mon Mome and Jenny Pitman with both Corbiere and Royal Athlete, have trained winners of the race.
While efforts have been made to improve safety, the race has historically had an equine casualty rate that renders not just the animal rights campaigners incandescent. Even after the much publicised course safety improvements, it is likely that at least one of the 40 runners will not survive to race another day.
For Grand National betting, the average bet is reported by bookmakers to be just £5-£10. The lottery aspect of the race deters some of the heavyweight professional punters. Anything can happen and it already has. Apart from a bomb scare delay and the predictable field depleting pile-ups, in 1993 Esha Ness won the race that never was following a false start.
Is this why people who usually only bet on other sports will venture into horse racing just for this event? Other people who do not bet at all, make an exception for their annual punt on the national event.
Maybe it is the prospect of a winner at akin to 100-1. But in recent years favourites at relatively meagre prices of 7-1 have come in with increasing regularity. Comply or Die in 2008 was the most recent offender, but have people noticed? Or is it that a 7-1 winner (even in a race with 40 runners in which the best horse may be brought down by a supposed no-hoper) still makes a large enough winning purse for the average punter to get excited about their winnings? Not many races have a favourite at odds as long as 7-1.
The Grand National certainly generates more than its fair share of good stories. Whether it's a family affair with Ruby Walsh, winning on Papillion, a horse trained by his father, Ted Walsh, who was victorious in 2000 or triumph in the face of adversity with Bob Champion's win on Aldaniti. Both horse and rider had overcome massive health problems, life threatening cancer for Bob and potentially career ending leg injuries for Aldaniti.
There's no shortage of irony either. Paul Nicholls, the UK's leading jumps trainer, who had never won the race despite numerous attempts, sold Silver Birch on veterinary advice. The horse went on to win the race in 2007 then trained by the then rookie Irish trainer Gordon Elliot.
Five years later Nicholls did taste victory when his dashing grey Neptune Collonges (33/1) won by the minimum margin of a nose for jockey Daryl Jacob in 2012, beating Sunnyhillboy.
So how do you make the most of Grand National betting and pick the winner?
Looking back at the past race winners list there are certain trainers who seem to be particularly adept at delivering the goods. The late Vincent O'Brien won the race in three consecutive years with three different horses.
Ginger McCain is the most successful Grand National trainer still operating with Amberleigh House leading them home in 2004 providing him with a fourth training victory in the race following the legendary Red Rum's three wins in the seventies. His son Donald carried on the rich family tradition when 10-year-old Ballabriggs won the 2011 race for Jockey Jason Maguire. Ginger died just six months after his son's epic Aintree success.
Encouraging course experience is a positive indicator too. Horses and jockeys known to handle the unique obstacles have to be taken seriously even if they have weaknesses in other areas. Mon Mome had successfully completed the course in 2008.
Horses carrying more than 11 stone are, looking at the statistics, less likely to be successful than those with 11 stone and under. Ballabriggs carried exactly 11 stone to victory in 2011. Horses aged nine and ten are also the most prevalent on the recent winners board.
There was a strongly backed winner when Tony McCoy landed his first Grand National on the 10-year-old Don't Push It in 2010. That winner carried 11 stone 5lb, a rare victory for the 11 stone plus brigade. However rules are made to be broken and 2012 victor Neptune Collonges bucked the trend. He was not only an 11-year-old (like Auroras Encore just a year later in 2013) but he also carried 11 stone 6lb.
So if you are looking for a long-priced winner, recent history dictates that a 7-1 favourite is unfortunately much more likely to give you a return than a horse priced at over 33-1. Perhaps the reason that the race is so popular is that there is always hope when you play the Grand National betting, however big the odds about your horse racing pick may be.
For more information on past Grand National trends take a look at this website: http://www.grandnationalbetting.org.