With an estimated viewership of between 500 and 600 million across more than 140 different nations, there is no other horse race that quite captures the imagination of the general public like the Grand National. Held at the famous Aintree racecourse in Liverpool, the race is competed over 4-miles and 514 yards, with some of the most treacherous fences making this one of the most entertaining and exciting races in the calendar. As with every year, bookmakers have a number of Grand National Betting Offers for punters to take advantage of.
The Chair, Becher’s Brook and Canal Turn are just a few of the famous spots throughout the circuit, and having caused many big names problems in the past, are once again set to test the favourites in April 2017. The race is often decided on the Flat over the final furlong. In 1956 Devon Loch, owned by the Queen Mother, slipped up after looking a certain winner. In 1973 Red Run overhauled Crisp 50 yards from the finish after that horse led from the start and for almost the whole four miles plus of the race. With a maximum field of 40 runners, it is easy to understand why the National provides punters with so much excitement.
Grand National Betting Offers
With horse racing having a long association with betting, punters are undoubtedly already on the look out for some of the most enticing Grand National betting offers for the 2017 race. Many will have even made an ante-post bet already, with odds for the big day already taking shape at many of the bookmakers. With a quarter of the UK adult population expected to place a bet on the riders at the Grand National next year, and with the majority of us selecting a horse simply on their name alone, we will take a look at some of the favourites and outsiders to provide a clearer picture.
Top 6 Grand National Bonus Offers
|Bookmaker||Type of Offer||Max Bonus Offer||Get the Bonus|
|Ladbrokes||Matched Deposit||£50||Go to Bookie|
|Betway||Matched Deposit||£50||Go to Bookie|
|Bet365||New offer coming soon (T&Cs apply)||New offer coming soon||Go to Bookie|
|Betfred||Free Bets||£60||Go to Bookie|
|Paddy Power||Free Bets||£30||Go to Bookie|
|Sky Bet||Free Bet (No deposit)||£10||Go to Bookie|
Grand National 2017 Preview
The 2017 Grand National will once again take place at 5.15pm on the 8th April, with an audience of over 70,000 sampling the unique atmosphere at Aintree, while over 10 million will be tuning in from the comfort of their own homes in the UK. With the National famed for its unpredictability, however it is still important to check out the form guides before selecting your horse. Just five 100/1 shots have triumphed at Aintree in the past century, with Rule The World earlier this year providing one of the biggest shocks in recent history.
The 2017 Grand National promises to be the biggest and most populated in history, with so much happening both on and off the circuit. Drama, passion and all the thrills and spills you can imagine will take place over three days at Aintree, with Grand Opening Day one (also known as Liverpool Day) often over looked by many looking ahead to the National itself. However, the opening day of the festival offers some high-quality horse racing action, with four Grade 1 races featuring some of the best jockeys, horses and trainers.
With significant prize money on offer, as well as well as outstanding entertainment and live music to enjoy, Grand Opening Day is starting to gain in popularity, and rightly so. As for punters, the opening day is actually one of the best for placing a bet. Many bookmakers will stop offering bonuses and free bets on the day of the Grand National, while on the Thursday you can still make full use of those available.
Day two at Aintree is famously known as Ladies Day. As well as the high-class entertainment on the track, a ladies fashion event has women from across the globe competing for the most stylish race goer. With prizes such as a top of the line Range Rover or £8,000 worth of shopping vouchers, it is easy to see why some take it so seriously. Along with the smarter dress code on day two comes a heightened level of seriousness on the racing front. Classic races such as the Topham Chase, Melling Chase and the Sefton Novices Hurdle provide plenty of opportunities for punters to win big, with the latter a Grade 1 race ran over 3 miles and 110 yards.
Finally, the big day has arrived. The Grand National race itself receives substantially more money for a single betting event than any other in the world, with everyone wanting to get in on the action. With over 70,000 people lucky enough to sample the unique atmosphere at Aintree, and millions of others watching at home, the whole world seemingly stops for ten minutes while the National gets underway.
With around 40 jockeys lucky enough to line up for the race around the famous course, the real question is how many will be able to last the 30 fences and over 4 miles. So, whether you have just a £1 each way on the outsider or £1000 on the favourite, the excitement of backing a winner of the Grand National is indescribable. A win in the National will earn legendary status’ for the jockeys, horses, owners and trainers, with prize money of up to £1 million for the main race alone justifying such publicity.
With the chasing season having only recently got underway in the UK, many of the leading candidates for the 2017 Grand National will be taking part in races over the coming weeks in order to get back into the swing of things. The Becher Handicap Chase at Aintree, along with the King George VI Stakes at Kempton on Boxing Day could well give us a better indication of the chances of many horses, with trainers anxiously waiting in the wings to select their riders for the big day.
The Mouse Morris trained Rule The World did just that back in April, stunning the horse racing community to claim a famous win at Aintree, ahead of the likes of the Last Samuri and reigning champion Many Clouds. Having since retired, Rule The World heads a long line of past winners, with the likes of Silver Birch, Don’t Push It, Auroras Collonges all making history. Despite the past two winners of the Grand National being aged at just eight and nine, older horses do in fact have an excellent record in the famous meeting. However, this does certainly not extend to those over the age of eleven, with only eight winners since 1950 victorious over this age.
Many Clouds became the youngest winner of the National in the past decade, although the Oliver Sherwood trained horse was unable to become the first since Red Rum back in 1974 to successfully defend his title. Of course, with Rule The World no longer in action, we will once again have a new winner of the iconic race in April. With under six months now until the big day at Aintree, owners and trainers alike are preparing their star assets for the race, while punters will be looking to take advantage of some of the betting offers and bonuses on offer from the bookmakers.
Trainer & Jockey Records
Just three trainers have won the Grand National a record four times, with George Dockeray the first to do so way back between 1839 and 1852. Next to do so was Fred Rimell between 1956 and 1976, while Ginger McCain is the only other trainer to win four times. He famously trained Red Rum, the only triple National winner (1973, 1974 and 1977), as well as Amberleigh House more recently in 2004.
As far as jockeys are concerned, George Stevens still leads the way with five wins in the 19th century, while in the modern era, Ruby Walsh and Leighton Aspell are the only multiple winners, on Papillon and Hedgehunter, and Pineau Du Re and Many Clouds respectively. Even the much acclaimed Sir Anthony McCoy could only manage one Grand National win, back in 2010 with Don’t Push It. He does however hold the record for the most Nationals ran, with the Irishman competing in 20 races before his retirement.
10 Year Grand National Trends
With the first ever Grand National taking place back in 1839, the history of the famous race is there for all to see. It has gone on to be run every year since, aside from five years during the Second World War, along with the 1993 race being declared void due to problems at the start. For those who like to look into the statistics of the iconic race meeting, here are some of the most relevant trends from the last ten years at Aintree:
- Average price of winners over last 20 years: 25/1
- Winning favourites or joint favourites since 1996: 5
- Range of starting prices of winners: 7/1 to 100/1
- Best trainer record: Nigel Twiston-Davies is the only trainer to have more than one winner in the last 20 winners, with Earth Summit in 1998 and Bindaree in 2002.
- Best jockey record: Leighton Aspell and Ruby Walsh both have two wins to their name.
Stamina is clearly the number one requirement for any horse hoping to challenge at the front in the Grand National, as the course is longer than the vast majority of races held throughout the season. As well as this, with some of the most hazardous fences in the business, a solid jumper is also a must, while luck is sure to play some part along the way. Elsewhere, over recent years, the trends have changed concerning weights in the National. Historically, light weight was deemed essential for a winner, however the trend towards a classier type of animal competing means that winners since the turn of the millennium have carried weights in excess of 11 stone.
Current Grand National Odds
Here is an overview of the current grand national odds for the favourites in the race. (Odds taken from bet365*)
|Grand National Odds||Horse|
|10/1||Vieux Lion Rouge|
|12/1||Cause of Causes|
|14/1||One For Arthur|
|14/1||The Last Samuri|
|18/1||Saphir Du Rheu|
|20/1||More Of That|
|20/1||The Young Master|
The much anticipated ante post market for the Grand National is available almost immediately after the previous race, with bookmakers updating their odds throughout the year as a result of trials, races and the publication of the weights. The Grand National is a handicap race, meaning that each horse is allocated a weight based on previous form. With little to separate many of the favourites at this stage, here is a run through of some of the names to look out for.
The Last Samuri
Having finished as runner-up back in April, the Kim Bailey trained The Last Samuri is unsurprisingly among the early favourites with the bookmakers this time around, with a best price of 20/1 with Coral for the eight-year-old at present. Should he get his preferred ground this time around, as opposed to the soft ground at Aintree just a matter of months ago, then he could well go one better. For those looking to back the horse that lost out by just six lengths last time around, why not open a William Hill account using the promo-code BETEXVIP, which currently offers a free bet of up to £20.
One for Arthur
This 8 year-old will be flying the flag for the north. Coming from the Perth-based Lucinda Russell yard this improving staying chaser shot to the forefront of the Grand National betting market after an eye-catching 6 lengths win in the Classic Chase at Warwick back in January. He’s been kept fresh by connections since and being that was his first try beyond 3 ½ miles there could be even more to come now upped in trip again. Another plus is that he’s already had a taster of these fences after finishing an excellent fifth behind Vieux Lion Rouge in the Becher Chase back in December. Yes, an 11lb hike up the ratings for that recent win means improvement is needed, but at 8 years-old, plus over this longer trip there should be a lot more to come. He’s around 14/1 in the betting, but once all the ‘Arthurs’ start backing him that price could drop further!
The Nigel Twiston-Davies camp love winning the Grand National – they’ve taken the top prize twice before with Earth Summit (1998) and Bindaree (2002) – so they certainly know what’s required. In Blaklion they’ve got a great chance of making it three. This 8 year-old is another that adds a bit of class to the race – don’t forget he landed the RSA Chase at the Cheltenham Festival in 2016! He was also a close third in the Mildmay Novices’ Chase at this meeting last season and fourth behind Thistlecrack in the Sefton Novices’ Hurdle back in 2014. So, he’s got plenty of experience of this meeting, but one thing he does lack is a previous run over these fences. Having said that, he’s normally a safe jumper and since falling on just his second chase start has since completed on his next 9 runs. We recently saw him in an epic battle with another National fancy – Vieux Lion Rouge – up at Haydock in the Grand National Trial, when he eventually finished second. However, a 3lb weight pull with that horse for the 3 ¼ lengths gives him a chance of reversing that form, but does need to prove this step up again in trip is within range. On a plus, he looks to have a nice racing weight (11-0), while having won in heavy and good ground then he’s another that should be fine no matter what the underfoot conditions are. At around 12/1 in the betting he’s sure to be a popular choice on the day.
Saphir de Rheu
Trained by the powerful Paul Nicholls camp, that took this race for the first time back in 2012, he adds a bit of class to the contest. It won’t be easy with 11-4 to carry, but he’s got that weight for a reason – he’s a useful chaser. With the weights coming out before his recent Cheltenham Gold Cup fifth then many will feel he’s well-in here. He’s a Grade One Novice Chase winner at Aintree back in 2015, so although he’s yet to tackle the National-style fences he’s at least experienced the hustle-and-bustle of this big meeting. Having won on ground ranging from heavy to good then he’s no issues on that front too. He’s certainly a big player and a decent each-way option around 20/1, but those against him might cling to the fact he’s fallen (or unseated) three times from his 13 starts over fences – which means he’ll have no room for error over these monster obstacles.
Vieux Lion Rouge
The Pipe yard at Pond House have won the National twice before – once with Martin at the helm, and more recently in 2008 with son David in control. They look to have another great chance of adding to that record here with Vieux Lion Rouge, who we last saw winning the Grand National Trial up at Haydock back in February. He had Blaklion 3 ¼ lengths back in second that day, but with the runner-up having a 3lb pull then he’ll need a bit more again here. However, he seemed to have a bit up his sleeve there and relished the battle the two had up the long Haydock straight. Plus, of the pair he looks the most likely to improve again for the longer trip, while having won the Becher Chase over these fences back in December then he’s also got proven form over these tricky obstacles. He’s another that also has wins on a variety of ground, so no issues on that front. He’ll be looking to become the first horse to land both the Becher Chase and the National in the same season and with just two outings this season has clearly had this as a target all year. A big player – he’s around 12/1 in the betting.
The Young Master
A whole host of other entries will be hoping to make their mark on the biggest stage of them all, with 2016 Bet365 Cup winner The Young Master potentially the leading outside bet for many punters. At best odds of 20/1, the looks more than comfortable over such a distance, and with experienced jockey Sam Waley Cohen expected to team up with the Neil Mullholland trained horse, the duo could be worth backing. Then there’s the 2016 Scottish National winner Vicente, who has already demonstrated his capabilities over 4 miles at Ayr, and could run well for Paul Nicholls.
Cause of Causes
Finally, a Grand National preview would not be complete without mentioning the legendary owner J P McManus, with the Irishman looking to Cause Of Causes for a first win since 2010 with Don’t Push It. This horse already proved its stamina by winning the National Hunt Chase in 2015.
Another improving 8 year-old that has been popular in the ante-post market for the last few months – mainly after romping away with the Grimthorpe Chase up at Doncaster in early March. The weights for the National had already been published at that stage so you feel that, if he could, the handicapper would have hiked him up a fair bit for that victory. Therefore, with that in-mind, he looks very well-in and with just 10-11 to carry has an ideal racing weight for this gruelling test – did you know 20 of the last 26 winners had 10-12 or less in weight? He beat last year’s Grand National runner-up – The Last Samuri – that day by an easy 14 lengths and despite the second finishing strongly it could be more of the same here. Like he did last time out, Red still gets a stonking 12lbs off the Last Samuri, while the Kim Bailey-trained runner is also 12lbs higher than his second 12 months ago. Having won four of his 9 chase starts then this improving Brian Ellison-trained stayer is certainly one to consider and if he takes to the fences looks sure to play a leading role. Those willing to take him on, however, will say he’s never faced these fences before, while despite winning 4 of his 9 chase outings, he’s also unseated or fallen twice. At around 11/1 in the betting he’s sure to challenge for favouritism come the big day.
Further 2017 Grand National Betting Offers
With the Grand National attracting over £150 million in wagers from every corner of the globe, punters are always on the look out for attractive offers to lend a helping hand in their quest for gold. Free bets, money back guarantees and enhanced odds are all available in the build up to the big day, with many bookmakers offering some enticing offers for you to utilise.
|Guaranteed Run for Your Money||BetVictor give your money back if your horse fails to come out of the stalls, or basically loses all chance before it even gets going.||Sign Up|
|Fair Play Moneyback||Boylesports also offer money back if your horse comes under starters orders but fails to actually start the race. Refunds are applied to stakes anywhere up to £100 in the form of a free bet, and applies to singles and each-way bets.||Sign Up|
|Non Runner No Bet||If you bet on the race and your horse doesnt win in the end, then dont worry. Paddy Power will give you your money back.||Sign Up|
|Each Way Bet||BetVictor are offering six each way places on the 2017 Grand National at 1/4 odds. With up to £25 worth of free bets on top of this for new customers.||Sign Up|
|Free Bets||Betfair are offering a free bet of £30 for a £10 deposit, the chances for more substantial earnings are greater.||Sign Up|
Grand National Betting Markets
In the week leading up to the Grand National, a whole host of markets will open up that are unique to the famous race. The following are markets that can be utilised in order to come out on top on April 8th.
- Race winner
- Each way one quarter the odds for the first six places
- Top 4 finish
- Age of winner
- Trainer of winner
- Number of finishers
- To complete the course
- To complete the course accumulators from groups
- Lady jockey to win the race
- Lady jockey to be placed
- Winner to carry under 11 stone
- Winner to carry 11 stone or more
- All horses to clear the first fence
- Irish trained winner
- Female to train the winner
Taking a punt on one of the more uncommon betting markets can often be more fruitful than simply backing the favourite at the National, with bets such as all horses to clear the first fence, or the age of the winner often carrying much more competitive odds.
*Odds at publication. Subject to change.