Compare Grand National odds from the top bookies. The world’s greatest horse race is run at Aintree on Saturday, April 11, 2015. Check out the betting below or claim Grand National free bets.
Grand National Betting Odds
4.15pm Saturday, April 11, 2015; click best odds in bold to visit bookie; Place Terms: Betfair, Bet365, BetVictor, Paddy Power: 1/4 odds 1,2,3,4,5; Others: 1/4 odds 1,2,3,4. Non-Runner No Bet: Bet365, Betfair, Betfred, William Hill.
Betting trends & playing the Grand National odds
What makes half the UK adult population reach into their pockets for a wager on the Grand National odds? Betting on this horse race becomes a national obsession once a year when the huge showpiece event is run at Aintree racecourse in Liverpool in early April.
It is ultimately a cavalry charge, with 40 horses setting out to gallop four and half miles and jump 30 fences that are higher and wider than found in any other horse. Remember all competitors are handicapped according to ability, just to make it that much harder to pick the winner.
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 Prime Minister Clement Attlee, who claimed it was for the benefit of the 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 their doors. 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. My Will failed to win and the big winners in the that year’s spectacular were 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 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 horse’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 husband Harvey. Harvey is most famous for his televised V-sign made to the judges after winning the Show Jumping Derby at Hickstead in 1971. As for his wife’s Grand National winner, Aurora’s Encore 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?
‘Jenny Pitman’ is the answer to the much-used quiz question, who was the first woman to train the Grand National winner? She won with both Corbiere (1983) and Royal Athlete (1995). Venetia Williams followed up with outsider Mon Mome in 2009.
Female jockeys have fared less well than their training counterparts. Charlotte Brew was the first to compete in 1977 and many will remember Geraldine Rees a few years later. The best result for women jockeys to date was Katie Walsh’s admirable third place on Seabass in 2012.
While efforts have been made to improve safety, the race has historically had an equine casualty rate that renders not just 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 between £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 (trained by Jenny Pitman again) 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 just 7/1. Don’t Push It (2010) was not much better at 10/1 while Ballabriggs (2011) was a relatively fancied winner at 14/1 for trainer Donald McCain (son of Ginger).
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 (1981). 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 at 33/1 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 betting on the Grand National odds 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. As mentioned, 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 before his 100/1 victory a year later.
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 while fancied runners have done well, there is still a peppering of longshots romping home as happend in 2013 (66/1), 2012 (33/1), 2009 (100/1) and 2007 (33/1). The intervening years did supply horses near the head of the bookies’ markets. Perhaps the enduring appeal of betting on this world-famous Aintree horse race is that however big the Grand National odds about your fancy, you always have a chance of picking the winner.