How to pick a Grand National winner
Every year, the Aintree Grand National churns out some of the best racers and most exciting finishes in the sport of horse racing. That’s what makes it stand out from all other races. The tough course and legendary jumps mean that anything can happen - and anyone can win.
Choosing the Right Horse
This year, it is estimated that more than £250 million worth of bets will be placed in the race from people all over the country, all trying to correctly predict the winner. But how do you choose the right one?
If you want to bet on Grand National now, you need to decide which horse to go for. Do you go to a professional tipster? Do you find out who everyone else is betting on, will you simply see which odds you like the look of or do you go for the name that sounds the best?
In 2016, when Rule the World won, many people simply bet on the horse because they liked the Take That song - and for no other reason. However, it usually pays to be a little more strategic about who you want to bet on.
To have a better chance of success, you should read the racing news and study trends and statistics over the past few years to see if you can spot patterns to help you make a better choice.
1. Research the form of all potential horses
When researching the form of all potential horses, it is important to look at their past race performances and the conditions that each race was held in.
This includes looking at their placings, the surface they ran on, the ground condition, the distance they ran, and their recent training.
This information can help to provide important clues about which horse might have the most potential for a strong run in the Grand National and help you to make an informed selection.
2. Research the conditions of the course
When researching the conditions of the Grand National course, it is important to consider the ground conditions, the fixture list, the type of fences, the average speed/pace of the race, and any other factors that might affect the performance of the horses.
Once you have assessed this information and the conditions on the day, you can look for potential horses that might benefit from the specific race conditions.
3. Identify the most experienced and successful jockey
When trying to identify the most experienced and successful jockey in the Grand National, it is important to look at their past performances. It is one of the hardest races to win for any jockey; AP McCoy, arguably the best national hunt jockey had to wait until 2010 before he won the race for the first and last time aboard Don't Push it.
Research the jockey’s track records, analyze their win-loss ratios, and look at the other horses they have successfully ridden in the Grand National. Additionally, it is recommended to look at the jockey's personality and their ability to handle difficult or uncertain situations.
This can help you to understand how the jockey might perform in the race.
4. Monitor the betting markets
When monitoring the betting markets, it is important to look for any potential changes that might indicate which horses have the best chances of success.
It is important to look for patterns in the betting odds, horse activity, and jockeys that are associated with a certain horse. This can provide valuable indication into which horses might have an advantage and be worth a bet.
Additionally, use news sources to find out any advice from industry professionals that can increase your chances of learning how to pick a Grand National winner.
5. Look for improvements in the horse’s performance
When looking for improvements in the horse's performance, which can help with making an informed selection for the Grand National, it is important to look for any changes in their training cycles and their recent race results.
Additionally, pay close attention to the other horses in the race, note the style of racing, track condition and any other factors that could affect the horse's performance on the day.
Collecting this data can help you to make an informed decision on which horse might have the best chance of winning.
The Important Numbers
Here are some of the important factors to consider when choosing your 2023 favourite:
Firstly, in the last ten years, only three winners have carried more than 11-01: Neptune Colognes (11-06) in 2012, Many Clouds (11-09) in 2015 and Tiger Roll (11-05) in 2019.
What’s more, in the last ten years, six of the winners were aged 8 or 9 years old. The only horses that broke this trend were Neptune Collonges in 2012, Auroras Encore in 2013 and Pineau De Re in 2014 who were all 11 years old and Noble Years in 2022 who was 7 years old.
Also, it’s worth noting that in the last ten years, only one winner went out as favourite - Tiger Roll in 2014 who was given odds of 4/1. In fact, even in this instance many people were backing the jockey, AP McCoy rather than the horse.
A rank outsider has won, but that was in 2009 when Mon Mome came in at 100/1. However, the average odds of a winning horse sit at about 20/1.
In the past ten years, seven winners had four or more seasonal runs before winning. The only horses with three or fewer were One for Arthur in 2017, Tiger Roll in 2019 and Minella Times in 2021.
Also, nine out of the past ten winners had either won or at least placed in a race that was 3 miles or longer in the same season as their winning Grand National run. The only exception to this rule was Auroras Encore - who had neither won or placed on the run up to his winning National.
What To Look For
Moreover, none of the winning horses in those ten years had unseated their jockey in the season running up to the Grand National win and eight out of the ten hadn’t fallen in the same season they won the race.
So, if you look at the stats, then what you are looking for is a racer in the 2023 Grand National that is aged around 8 or 9 and is carrying 11-0 or less. You should also avoid the short odds favourites and look at those that are priced between 14/1 and 33/1. They should have at least 3 seasonal runs and, ideally, have won or placed in a 3 miler.
If you are serious about trying to pick a Grand National winner, that’s a good start. However, you could simply take pot luck and pick the horse who has the best name! It has worked before, right?