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…
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- What does it mean when a horse is On the Bridle?
- What is a Black type horse race?
- What are the different types of going in horse racing?
- What is a bumper horse race?
- What are blinkers and why do some horses wear them?
- What is an Allowance Race in horse racing?
- What is the difference between hurdles and fences in National Hunt racing?
- What is a halter and why do some horses wear them?
- What does it mean when a horse has spread a plate?
- What is the Rule 4 betting rule in horse racing?
- What is the difference between graded, handicap and selling horse races?
- What does a novice hurdle in horse racing mean?
- What is a listed horse race?
- What does a novice chase in horse racing mean?
- Why do race horses have different ratings and what do they mean?
- When does the National Hunt season start and when does it end?
- Why are there different grades of horse race?
- Why are there 3 different types of National Hunt race?
- Why are race horses given different weights and what does it mean?
- How many different classes of horse race are there?
- What is a claiming race and what do they mean?
- What is an optional claimer in horse racing?
- What is a shadow roll and why do some race horses wear them?
- Why do some races start from stalls and some not?
- What is the difference between Derby and Oaks races?
- What does it mean when a horse knuckles during a horse race?
- What is a stayer in horse racing?
- What is a yearling horse and when are they ready to race?
- What does it mean if a horse has won a point race?
- What does a maiden mean in horse racing?
- How are horses’ ages calculated and why is it not the same as humans?
- What advantages do apprentice jockeys get when riding against professionals?
- What is a conditional jockey?
- What does the term ‘connections’ mean in horse racing?
- Why do some horses wear cheekpieces?
- Who are the stewards in horse racing?
- What does ‘weighed in’ mean at the end of a horse race?
- What is a nursery race?
- Why are some National Hunt races run without fences?
- Why are some horses given a tongue tie during races?
- What does it mean when a horse is ‘pushed out’?
- How are horse racing ratings calculated?
- What does it mean when a horse has a ‘wind operation’?
- How high are the fences and hurdles in horse racing?
- What is an apprentice jockey?
- What is a Bull Ring in horse racing?
- What does the phrase ‘Look of Eagles’ mean in horse racing?
- Why do some horses wear a ‘weight cloth’ during races?
- What is the Triple Crown in horse racing?
- What is a Steeplechase race in horse racing?
- How high are the Cheltenham Festival fences and hurdles?
- Why is the Champion Chase named after the Queen Mother?
- Why does Cheltenham racecourse have an Old Course and a New Course? What’s the differences between the two?
- What is the Cheltenham roar? What difference does it make in races?
- Why are there no jumps in the Cheltenham Festival Champion Bumper?
- How many fans usually attend the Cheltenham Festival? How big is the capacity?
- What is a juvenile in horse racing?
- Grand National fence names and the stories behind every Aintree jump
- How high are Grand National fences at Aintree Racecourse?
- What are Grand National fences made of at Aintree Racecourse?
- Grand National fences: Order of jumps, total and which are taken twice
- Grand National weights: Why do horses carry different weights at Aintree?
- How many people usually attend the Grand National? What is Aintree’s capacity?
- What is the distance of the Grand National? How far do the horses run?
- How does a horse qualify for the Grand National?
- When did a horse last win the Grand National carrying top weight?
- Do Grand National reserve horses ever run in the race at Aintree?
- What is a sire and a dam? Why is breeding so important in horse racing?
- What’s the difference between a colt, filly, gelding, stallion and mare?
- What does it mean when a horse goes to stud?
- What do horse racing commentators mean by sectional times?
- What is the Royal Procession at Royal Ascot? Which members of the Royal Family attend?
- How do they choose Epsom Derby stall numbers? Is there a draw bias?
- How long does it take horses to complete the Epsom Derby? How fast are the runners?
- How many racehorses does the Queen own?
- Why are there false starts in horse races like the Grand National?
- How many horses are there in the Grand National?
- Grand National prize money: How much does the Grand National winner get?
- What is a stewards’ enquiry in horse racing?
- What does it mean when a horse is exposed?