In an era where jump races often take a backseat to flat racing, the Grand
National still casts a spell on fans and bettors. For nearly two centuries, this
famous National Hunt race held in Liverpool, England, captures the attention of
both diehard racing fans and the casual fans who watch a single race in a year.
There is nothing quite like how it combines antiquated charm with undeniable
excitement year after year.
The Grand National has been in existence since 1839 (some say 1836) and has
continued mostly unabated since then, with most of the runnings held at Aintree
Racecourse in Liverpool. That is part of what makes it so special, as it takes
place right in a residential area, unlike many of England’s other top races. Of
course, there is still a lot of pomp and prestige that goes along with the race,
so much so that it is a major cultural event in the country.
Because of the distance of the race (over four miles) and the fences which
the horses must leap throughout the race, the Grand National is much more
unpredictable than a traditional flat race. As a result, it makes for a great
betting opportunity with the chance to make a good chunk of change with just a
small wager. That’s why many people, either in person or through the use of
online sites, make it their only horse racing
wager of the year.
The Grand National is what’s known as a “National Hunt” race, which is
another term for a steeplechase or a jump race. What that means is that the
horses who compete periodically have to jump over certain fences during the
course of the race. That is what makes the race such a difficult test, as the
horses have to possess the stamina to handle the jumps even as the race gets
Speaking of the length, the current distance for the Grand National is four
miles and 514 yards. The riders and their horses have to make it two full laps
around the course. On the course, there are 16 fences; horses have to jump over
14 of them twice and the last two just once for a total of 30 jumps.
When they come to the last two jumps on the second lap, the horses who have
made it that far steer away from the jumps and head for the finish line. This is
known as the run-in portion of the race. It’s this last stretch that has
produced many of the most memorable finishes in Grand National history. If you’ve never seen a Grand National race check out the intense action with the video below.
Another important characteristic of the Grand National is the fact that it’s
a handicap. This means that race officials assign more weight to horses who are
deemed to be top competitors. By doing this, the hope is that all of the horses
in the field will have an equal chance of winning.
The Grand National takes place in early April and is held, as it has been in
most editions of the race since its inception, at Aintree Racecourse in
Liverpool. It’s contested by seven-year-olds and older who have achieved a
certain level of performance in hunt races, as determined by British racing
officials, or have finished in the top three of certain qualifying races. The
purse for the race currently sits at one million pounds, while the betting
handle for the race often approaches 100 million pounds.
Betting on the Grand National
The Grand National is fun to watch, but it’s even more fun when you have a
bet on the proceedings. There are so many horses in the field, much more than in
a typical flat race that even the favorites generally have odds that will pay
decent if the horse wins. Favorites only win the race about 10% of the time
which means long shots are always in play.
For that reason, there are few races more popular, for betting purposes, than
the Grand National. Learn how you can take part.
How Do You Find a Betting Site for the Grand National?
It’s important to realize that you can find any number of horse racing betting
sites that will take your action on the Grand National. Only a handful of
those, which we’ve listed here, stand out above the rest. That’s because these
sites are established and have excellent reputations among their customers.
Of course, you might have your own requirements for the site you choose.
Maybe you’re looking for a certain type of bonus, or you want relaxed policies
on withdrawals and deposits. Whatever the case, your best course of action is to
do your research and visit the possible sites to determine which are truly a
good fit for you.
What Kind of Bets Can Be Made on the Grand National?
Straight bets are the most popular type of bet on
this or any other horse race. With these wagers, you can choose a horse to win
or to place, the latter meaning the horse finishes somewhere in the top three in
the order of finish. An each-way bet gives you exposure to both the win and
In terms of straight bets, they are simple and straightforward. Accumulator
bets can get much more complex, often involving many horses coming in different
orders of finish. Accumulators can only be won if each and every part of the
wager comes in, meaning that they are difficult to win.
However, if you can score with an accumulator, the financial rewards can be
great. The same can be true with win or place wagering, albeit to a lesser
extent. Because the Grand National’s fields are so big, most horses will have
odds that are quite tempting.
What Strategy Should I Use on the Grand National?
The strategies for a hunt race are much different than they would be for a
race on the flats. Remember that the only way you can win the Grand National is
to finish it. That might sound obvious, but the truth is that many horses fall
out of the race each year.
That’s why you should first look for horses that have run in other hunt races
at long distances and stayed on through the finish with regularity in those
races. Such experience will bode well for their chances of lasting through the
Grand National, which at least gives them a chance to win it.
Traditions of the Grand National
For many years, the Grand National was mostly populated by horses who were
guided by amateur jockeys. Many were hobbyists in charge of the horses they
owned. This practice has largely subsided with professional jockeys taking over,
as there hasn’t been an amateur jockey to win the race since 1990.
Another famous tradition of the race is the way that certain fences on the
Aintree track have gained wide renown. Many have achieved this status for
the important role they played in determining the winners (and losers) of past
races. Fans refer to these fences by their names instead of the number where
they appear on the course.
The Grand National, like many famous horse races, is as much about the fans
in attendance as the participants. Fancy attire and elaborate hats are very much
in evidence throughout the crowd. In addition, the betting action is fast and
furious, as novice fans and hardcore bettors all come up with their own unique strategies for
Grand National History
There is some debate about when the first Grand National was held. There were
three similar hunt races held from 1836-1838 in Great Britain, but many scholars
don’t believe they were held in Liverpool. As a result, most histories of the
race begin with the 1839 edition which was won by a horse named Lottery.
That was a time when Liverpool was becoming a hub of activity due to a newly
installed railroad that worked its way into the town. This meant the possibility
of many more people becoming aware of this new race. A hotel owner named William
Lynn leased the land at Aintree for the race location.
Some interruptions to the race have occurred throughout history. During World
War I, Liverpool was unable to host the Grand National, leading to an alternate
race being contested at Gatwick Racecourse from 1916 to 1918. World War II
prevented any editions of the race, so there was a hiatus from 1941-1945.
In 1993, a mishap at the beginning of the race caused great confusion. The
race was abandoned because many riders had already hit the course, preventing
officials from being able to start again as required. Meanwhile, in 1997, the
race was moved from Saturday to Monday due to security threats.
Famous Grand National Races and Winners
Previous Editions of the Grand National
1841: Charity becomes the first mare to win the Grand
1850-51: Abd-El-Kader becomes the first horse to win the
1869-70: The Colonel wins back-to-back editions under the
guidance of George Stevens, the jockey who won the race a record five times.
1897, 1899: Manifesto wins these two editions. He would set
the record for the most appearances in the race with eight.
1900: Ambush II makes history as the first Irish-trained
winner of the race.
1911: Glenside overcomes 20-1 odds and the fact that he was
blind in one eye to capture the Grand National.
1923: Sergeant Murphy wins the race, becoming the first
horse bred in the United States to deliver a victory.
1928: In one of the most memorable editions of the race, a
large pileup at one of the fences leads to only one horse escaping the mishap on
the course. That horse, Tipperary Tim, wins at 100-1.
1929: Against the largest field in race history, 66 horses,
Gregalach comes home a winner.
1938: Battleship, who won the American version of the Grand
National four years earlier, takes the British version as well. He was the son
of Man o’ War, a superstar American flat racer who won the Preakness
Stakes and Belmont Stakes among many great victories.
1956: With the finish line yards away, Devon Loch, owned by
The Queen Mother, does an inexplicable leap and falls, causing E.S.B to come
from behind and win.
1967: Foinavon was well behind the pack, which was a good
thing when most of them fell on the same jump. Avoiding the problems, he went on
to win at 100-1.
1973, 1974, 1977: Red Rum becomes the greatest champion in
Grand National history by winning the race three times. He finished second in
both 1975 and 1976.
1981: Jockey Bob Champion captures the Grand National with
Aldaniti just a few years after he had been diagnosed with cancer and given
months to live.
1983: Jenny Pitman becomes the first woman trainer to win
the race thanks to a victory by Corbiere.
1990: Amateur jockey Marcus Armytage wins the race aboard
Mr. Frisk. No amateur has won since.
2001: During a race held in lousy weather, only two horses
are able to complete the course without falling or refusing a jump. One of those
two, Red Marauder, wins at 33-1.
Recent Editions of the Grand National
Pineau De Re
Aspell was a last-minute edition as jockey when another rider chose a different mount.
Aspell becomes the first jockey to win two straight races aboard different horses in 61 years.
Rule The World
Rule The World wins as a novice, which means he had never won a jump race until that year.
One For Arthur
Becomes only the second winner of The Grand National trained in Scotland.
His sire, Authorized, was a racing star on the flats, once winning the classic British race, the Epsom Derby.
Becomes the first back-to-back winner since Red Rum (1973 & 74).
Grand National FAQ
Who Was the Oldest Horse to Win the Grand National?
In 1853, Peter Simple won the race at the ripe old age of 15, a time when
most thoroughbreds are retired.
Which Jockey Won the Race the Most?
George Stevens won the race five times, including a pair of back-to-back
scores, in the 19th century.
Which Trainer Has Won the Most Races?
Three different trainers won the race four times. The most recent was Ginger
McCain. Three of those wins were with Red Rum, but then he came back to win with
Amberleigh House in 2004.
What Was the Fastest Winning Time of the Grand National?
In 1990, Mr. Frisk made it to the line in front in a time of eight minutes
and 47.80 seconds.
Who Was the Youngest Jockey to Win?
Bruce Hobbs was only 17 when he won with Battleship in 1938.
The information found on Gamblingsites.org is for entertainment purposes only. It is a purely informational website that does not accept wagers of any kind. Although certain pages within Gamblingsites.org feature or promote other online websites where users are able to place wagers, we encourage all visitors to confirm the wagering and/or gambling regulations that are applicable in their local jurisdiction (as gambling laws may vary in different states, countries and provinces).
Gamblingsites.org uses affiliates links from some of the sportsbooks/casinos it promotes and reviews, and we may receive compensation from those particular sportsbooks/casinos in certain circumstances. Gamblingsites.org does not promote or endorse any form of wagering or gambling to users under the age of 18. If you believe you have a gambling problem, please visit BeGambleAware or GAMCARE for information and help.