Aintree Grand National: 10 Things You Need to Know

It's right around the corner, and there are some things you simply have to learn

The Grand National is right around the corner. However, choosing a winner can be an absolute minefield so we’re going to do our best Rafa Benitez impression and state facts that you may not know about but might just help you get lucky on the day – in terms of picking out a winner, that is…


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1. How Many Runners?

Without teaching you how to suck eggs, we’re starting off with a couple of basics for all you novices. There are 40 runners at the Grand National, which is held every year at Aintree. Over a grueling four miles 514 yards, it is the ultimate horse racing test and, here at Paddy Power, it’s one of the major events of the year we love to make a big deal about.

Back in 1929, there were 66 runners so at least you have a slightly better chance this time around. No pressure, folks.

2. Jumping 30 Fences

It’s a huge test of stamina but also very much the skill of the jockey – so choose wisely – and no, AP McCoy still isn’t around. There are a total of 16 fences, of which 14 are jumped twice. It’s one hell of a slog.

3. Tiger’s On a Roll

Last year’s winner in Tiger Roll is the clear favourite to win back-to-back Grand Nationals – something which hasn’t been achieved since 1974 when Red Rum was victorious. We’ve crunched some numbers and we can safely say it has been a very, very long time since a horse was as short as 7/2 to win the National.

With a clear round, he’s probably the best horse in the race but she can be a cruel mistress, the National, and she takes no prisoners. We’re just stating what has previously happened before you all tweet us your Tiger Roll winning bet slips.

4. Avoid the Greys

If you love stats and facts, you won’t want to back a grey or French horse to win the National. Only three greys have prevailed to land the prize – Neptunes Collonges was the last back in 2012. It is basically impossible to find out how many greys have attempted to win the National but we can safely say the number is more than three.

5. Avoid the French, too!

When it comes to French horses, it has been exactly 100 years since the last Grand National winner was bred in France, and it was in 1867 the last time a winner was trained in France.

6. You’re having a Mare

The last mare to win the National was 68 years ago. Nine have placed since but the boys have always come out on top.

7. No Luck for the Women

And, on a similar note, we just want to point out that only two women trainers have ever won the big prize. History suggests siding with the men here.

8. The Luck of the Irish!

Five out of the last ten winners have all been trained in Ireland so we know a thing or two about success! Well, in horse racing anyway.

9. Pick the Leanest

When it comes to the Grand National weights, it actually counts for an awful lot more than what you would think. Hedgehunter was the first runner since 1983 to carry more than 11st  but the nature of the race has changed and since Mon Mome’s 100/1 shock in 2009 another four horses have galloped to victory carrying a weight over 11 stone. The race does favour those carrying less than 11 stone  to bring home the winnings in general though.

10. When is it?

We probably should have started with this but you probably need to know when the actual event is. The day of the race is Saturday 6th April and the big race is off at 5.15pm. The first race of the day is at 1:45 pm. So, there’s plenty of races beforehand to help build your National pot.

None of this information may be of any use to you but we’ve hopefully helped rule out some horses and trainers. Let the office bragging rights begin!

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