9 things to consider when picking a Grand National winner

Discover how to pick a Grand National winner: Numbers, Form, Colour and the rest…

picking grand national winner


Picking a Grand National winner isn’t always easy in a field of 40 horses. Even the best horse racing betting experts cannot be totally confident their picks will finish first in this marathon race at Aintree.

In fact, so random are the Grand National race results that most people don’t even bother to study the typical stuff like form and the going, and instead stick their money on a horse they like the look of.

This isn’t as terrible an option as you may think. In the past there have been Grand National winners priced at 100/1, and it’s not often that the favourites storm to victory. So whether you’re playing in a family sweepstake, placing bets in the office or simply wanting to stick a fiver on a random guess, here are Paddy Power‘s eight ways to make your choice…


1. Form

Form is the first place most people look when considering the viability of a horse winning a race. And you can study the form of each Grand National horse ahead of the race by accessing the race card. Form reads from left to right and shows the place said horse finished in its previous races. So, a horse with form such as 145611 means it has won its last two races, and boasts three wins from its last six.

Paddy Power has form guides for every race of the Grand National festival, including Saturday’s big race itself.

2. Going

Along with the form, the going is perhaps the best variable to consider when choosing a Grand National horse. The ‘going’ describes the course conditions for race day, and some horses struggle in certain conditions. If it’s been a wet week leading to the Grand National then the going may be soft or heavy, which means horses that have proved durable over previous steeplechase races are likely to excel. But if the going is good or firm, then horses that skip off the turf could be a smarter pick.

Grand National winner

Picking a Grand National winner requires looking at a number of variables (GETTY)

3. Odds

Punters unsure of which horse to back but who have hopes of earning a windfall at the Grand National usually end up looking at the odds. Horse racing odds are fairly easy to understand: simply divide the first number by the second to see how much profit you would earn on a £1 bet. So, odds of 9/1 means 9×1 = £9 profit. Some Grand National winners began with odds of 50/1 or more, and it’s always tempting to bet on a high-priced horse. However, it’s also worth checking your chosen horse has the capacity to compete the course.

Choosing a horse on the basis of odds is also smart if you want to make an Each Way bet. In E/W betting, you split your stake between a win bet, and a place bet. If your horse places in the top five or six, you will win back a portion of your bet. Therefore Each Way bets act as something of an insurance when wagering on an outsider at high odds.

4. Jockey

Backing a jockey isn’t always the silliest of ideas in the Grand National. After all, some jockeys have won the Grand National on multiple occasions. Others, such as Richard Johnson, are yet to win this race despite riding in it 21 times. You can see a jockey’s name on the race card next to each horse, and jockeys such as Rachael Blackmore (winner in 2021) and Tom Scudamore are likely to get plenty of attention this year.

5. Trainer

A horse’s connections can be very important for punters, who want to know who trains and owns the horse, as well as its sire and dam. Of these, the most important aspect coming into the Grand National is the trainer. Figures such as Gordon Elliott, Willie Mullins and Paul Nicholls have tasted Grand National glory – and they are likely to have more than one runner in this year’s race.

Grand National ways to choose

How will you choose your pick at the Grand National this year? (GETTY)

6. Number

If you have a favourite number then why not back horse? After all, if you’re stuck on which runner to back then that’s as good a logic as any other. Some punters who also play the lottery like to wager on their regular numbers, which means multiple bets on the same race.

7. Silks

The pattern and colour of the clothes worn by jockeys – known in the industry as the silks – are probably the most common means of picking a winning Grand National horse if you’re unsure about the stats. Horse racing silks reflect the trainer of the horse, so that’s why some jockeys appear to be wearing the same tops, but with a changed pattern on the cap.

Silks come in all colours and designs, and sometimes it’s smart to back a well-recognised jockey just so you can pick it out of the pack during the race.

8. Names

Who doesn’t love a good racehorse name? Shutthefrontdoor, Just in Debt and Hedgehunter are just three of the iconic horses to have raced in the Grand National. And 2022 will likely have its fair share of puns or otherwise amusing names to back. Horse racing naming rules are actually pretty stringent when it comes to taste, so owners cannot include swear words or other derogatory language. Still, hearing the race commentator mention Becauseicouldntsee or Shakalakaboomboom midway through the action is always worth a snigger.

9. Get the best tips

Paddy Power will be offering the best horse racing tips during the Grand National this year. That means picks from some of the sport’s best tipsters and former jockeys, plus cheat sheets for the biggest races during the festival! Be sure to check back to Paddy Power ahead of the Grand National for all the latest tips.



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