Grand National Betting History
The whole country loves to place both normal bets, and free bets on the Grand National and everyone seems to have their own method of making their horse selection.
For many it will be their only bet of the year and so their choice may be based on nothing more scientific than their lucky number, their house number, or the name of a friend or relative.
Similarly, the rather politically incorrect “housewives choice” is unlikely to emerge after long nights of studying the formbook, but will instead be a grey, or be based on the jockey or trainer.
The History of Betting on the Grand National
Believe it or not it is possible to apply an element of science to the selection process and it's hard to ignore certain historical trends of betting on the Grand National.
For example, it is now common knowledge among more regular punters that horses carrying in excess of 11 stone rarely seem to win the National anymore and this, in theory, immediately allows us to rule out a good chunk of the field.
The next thing to bear in mind if you intend to have a bet before the day of the big race is that, of the horses entered, only forty can run and so any horse below, say, number fifty five in that list has very little chance of taking part.
The key to having an ante post bet at your favourite bookmakers, of course, is to try to find a horse that is guaranteed to make the line up on the day and with the National this task is made even trickier than usual because of the limit on the number of runners who can take part.
As always, well fancied horses will drop out right up to the day of the race due to injury, illness, loss of form etc. However, if your selection is below number 40 then there is this additional risk to take into account.
Over the years there appear to be certain trends that you'd be foolish not to utilise when making your betting selection for this years Grand National at Aintree...
Due to the size and competitive nature of the Grand National field, the race is often won by a horse with a double-figure starting price. Only Grittar (7/1), West Tip (15/2), Rough Quest (7/1), Earth Summit (7/1) and Hedgehunter (7/1) have been returned at less than 10/1 since 1978.
Only four of the last 26 favourites have won: Grittar in 1982, Rough Quest in 1996, Earth Summit in 1998 and Hedgehunter in 2005. Both West Tip (15/2) and Rhyme 'N' Reason (10/1) were second favourites.
There have been seven shocks in the last 25 runnings: Last Suspect at 50/1, Royal Athlete and Ben Nevis both at 40/1, Red Marauder at 33-1, Maori Venture and Little Polveir both at 28/1 and Rubstic at 25/1.
Two 100/1 shots have placed since 1980, Over The Deel in 1995 and Camelot Knight in 1997.
Four winners in the race's history have started at 100/1: Tipperary Tim (1928), Gregalach (1929), Caughoo (1947) and Foinavon (1967).
Poethlyn (1919) is the shortest-priced winner of the race at 11/4.
Over the years there have been many bizarre bets on the Grand National - some winners and some losers. Here are some Grand National free bets that have caught our attention...
Terry Ramsden staked over £100,000 on his own horse, Mr Snugfit, in 1986 and stood to win over £1 million. With three fences left Mr Snugfit, the 13-2 favourite, had most of the 20 runners in front of him but jockey Phil Tuck galvanised him so well that he passed all but three and finished in fourth place to give his owner a small profit from his each-way bets.
In 1971, Lord Poulett, owner of The Lamb, had a dream in which his horse won the National, ridden by jockey Tommy Pickernell - so he hired Pickernell. The Lamb started 11/2 second favourite - and duly won!
Bingo club owner Mike Fuller, who owned 2003 Grand National winner Monty's Pass, collected nearly £1 million. His biggest bet was £10,000 at 50/1 which earned him £500,000. So when Barry Geraghty crossed the line, Flutter landed the biggest gamble in the race's long history.
Judy Higby from St Albans, Herts, tried to bet that the 1993 Grand National would not be run after she had a premonition. Her bookie said he'd do her a favour by not taking her money because it couldn't happen.
The race was cancelled after a false-start fiasco!
Amateur rider and optimist Peter Walker, from Blackpool, bet £10 at 1000/1 with William Hill in 1993 when he was 54 that one day he would become the oldest man ever to ride in the National.
Headmaster Peter Rogers collected £6,000 in 1983 after betting the parents of children at his St Michael's Junior School in Kirby that he could complete the Aintree racecourse - without a horse. He did it in 40 minutes - and donated his winnings to school funds.