A lot of people don’t usually bet money on horse racing, but choose to have a one-off flutter when it comes to the Grand National. If you fancy putting a bit more thought into it this year rather than just choosing your favourite colour silks, follow our guide to betting on the Grand National and you’ll be up to speed in minutes!
Weighing it up
Horses running in The Grand National are allocated a handicap weight to equalise the chance every horse has of winning. Horses with less ability to win carry the least weight to give them an advantage, whilst the better horses carry more weight.
Tip: Statistically, horses carrying more than 11st 6lbs have struggled, but this was busted last year when Many Clouds won with a weight of 11st 9lb! Prior to this, it was 1977, when a horse carrying more than 11st 6lbs won the Grand National (Red Rum at 11st 8lbs).
Is age just a number?
The Grand National is a hard race, with a lot of tough jumps and a long distance to run. Younger horses may be quicker, but will struggle to keep up the pace. Staying power and experience is key for the Grand National.
Tip: Look for horses aged 9-11. In the last 20 years only 3 winning horses have been older or younger.
What are the odds?
Odds are shown as fractions and give an indication of how likely, or unlikely, the chance of that horse winning is. It also shows how much money you’ll get back if your chosen horse does win. There’s a formula to calculate the % probability based on the odds, but this a quick betting guide not a maths lesson, so keeping it simple: a 9/1 shot is less likely to win than a 4/1 shot!
Want to know how much money you could win? Let’s take a look at last year’s winner, Many Clouds who won at odds of 25/1 (for the mathematicians that’s a 3.85% probability), if you put a £1 bet on to win, you’d get 1×25 + your £1 stake back = £26. If you put £10 bet to win on, you’d win 10×25 + your stake = £250+£10 = £260.
Tip: Don’t feel you have to bet on the favourite (the horse with the shortest odds). Quite often in the Grand National, an outsider wins, with the past two years bringing home winners at 25/1 and in 2009 100/1 shot Mon Mome!
Place your bets!
Win – This is the most straight forward bet: you’re backing your chosen horse to come first, winning the race. So if you bet £1 on a 10/1 shot, you’d win your £1 stake back plus £10.
Each way – This gives you two bets, one to win and one to place on the same horse, so your stake is doubled. A £10 each way bet has a total stake of £20: £10 on the win, £10 on the place. With the place, you’ll win some money back if your horse comes 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and with some bookmakers, they’ll pay for the 5th place too.
Of course, its not an exact science, so you could always just choose a horse whose name you like! I’m doing exactly that and putting my money on 10 year old Silviniaco Conti (11st 8lbs) currently at odds of 10/1.
The Grand National takes place at Aintree at 5:15pm on Saturday 9th April 2016.
(The tips included in this fun guide are recommendations only – they do not guarantee your chances of winning and we’re not responsible for any losses! Please bet responsibly).