Horse racing has a long association with betting. Therefore, it’s no surprise that punters are already on the look out for some of the most enticing Grand National betting offers for 2018. Many will have even made an ante-post bet already; with odds for the big day shaping up at the bookmakers. As a quarter of the UK adult population place bets on the riders of the Grand National, and with the majority of us selecting a horse simply on their name alone, we take a look at some of the favourites and outsiders to draw a clearer picture. The full festival will take place from April 12th, till April 14th 2018 just after the Cheltenham Festival 2018. The main race will take place on Saturday 14 April 2018 at 5.15pm.
Top 3 Grand National Betting Offers 2018
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With an estimated viewership of 500 to 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 over 4-miles and 514 yards. Treacherous fences make this meeting 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 in 2018.
The Chair, Becher’s Brook and Canal Turn are just a few of the famous spots throughout the circuit. They have caused many big names problems in the past, and they are once again set to test the favourites in April 2018. 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 like a certain winner. In 1973 Red Run overhauled Crisp 50 yards from the finish after Crisp 50 had led from the start for almost the whole four miles of the race. With a maximum field of 40 runners, it is easy to understand why the Grand National 2018 will provide punters with so much excitement.
Grand National 2018 Preview
The 2018 Grand National will once again take place at 5.15pm. This time on the 14th April! There will be 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. The Grand National is 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 two year ago providing one of the biggest shocks in recent history.
Grand National Thursday
The 2018 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. From Grand Opening Day one (also known as Liverpool Day) to the main event itself. The opening day 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. 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, Saturday 14th 2018, while on 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!. The Grand National race itself receives substantially more money for a single betting event than any other in the world. Everyone wants to get in on the action. 70,000 lucky people taste the unique atmosphere at Aintree every year. Furthermore, millions of others watch it at home! The whole world seemingly stops for ten minutes while the National gets underway.
With 40 jockeys lucky enough to line up for the race on the famous course, the real question is how many will be able to last the 30 fences and over 4 miles? Whether you have just a £1 each way on the outsider or £100 on the favourite, the excitement of backing a possible winner of the Grand National is indescribable. A win in the National will earn legendary status for the jockeys, horses, owners and trainers! Prize money of up to £1 million for the main race alone justifies such infatuation.
With the 2018 chasing season soon getting underway in the UK, many of the leading candidates for the 2018 Grand National will be taking part in races over the coming months in order to get back into the swing. 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. Trainers will anxiously wait in the wings to select their riders for the big day.
There was much jubilation north of the border in the UK as Scottish trained horse One For Arthur became the first horse to win the Grand National in 38 years. At 14/1, One For Arthur was well fancied, despite his trainers admitting they didn’t think he had much chance. They had only bought him three years previously for £60,000 because they wanted a new hobby. What a hobby it turned out to be!
One For Arthur’s victory, at 8 years of age, meant the last 3 horses to win the national have been either 8 or 9. In fact, the average age of National winners is 8.8, meaning you should always look at horses around this age. Definitely avoid horses that are 7 or younger, as the last horse in this age group to win the race was in 1940.
Older horses so have some success though. Between 2010 and 2014, the winners were more mature. 10 and 11 year olds Don’t Push It, Ballabriggs, Neptune Collonges, Auroras Encore, and Pineau De Re won the race. Only eight winners since 1950 have been older than 11 though, with Amberleigh House in 1995 at 12 years old being the last.
Unfortunately, previous winner One For Arthur picked up an injury that will keep him out of this year’s Grand national. So we will once again have a new winner of the iconic race in April. With not long to go 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. George Dockeray was the first to do so between 1839 and 1852. Next was Fred Rimell between 1956 and 1976. Finally, Ginger McCain! He famously trained Red Rum, the only triple National winner (1973, 1974 and 1977), as well as Amberleigh House most recently in 2004.
As far as jockeys are concerned, George Stevens still leads the way with five wins in the 19th century. In the modern era, Ruby Walsh and Leighton Aspell are the only multiple winners. Respectively on Papillon and Hedgehunter, and Pineau Du Re and Many Clouds. 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 age of winner: 8.8
- 26 of the last 27 runners raced no more than 55 days previously.
- 26 out of 27 runners were officially rated 137 or higher.
- 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. There is also rare that the winner is the race favourite. Only 3 times since the turn of the millenium has the favourite, or joint favourite won the race.
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
He finished as the runner-up back in April! The Kim Bailey trained The Last Samuri is unsurprisingly among the early favourites with the bookmakers this time around. The best betting odds are of 20/1* with Coral for the eight-year-old at present (*odds at time of writing, subject to change). 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 finish first.
This talented staying chaser trained by Colin Tizard won the Hennesy Gold Cup, Denman Chase and Welsh National last season before finishing third in the Gold Cup. Native River has now proven himself to be one of the most versatile horses around. He has performed in races with larger fields, and at some smaller events too. He is familiar with the circuit at Aintree. He won there in 2016. While Blaklion, the current favourite is rated at 169, Native River is rated at 170 over fences, which can only be bettered by four other chasers. He has also beaten current favourite Blaklion in a meeting in April 2016. He is definitely one to watch.
Minella Rocco is a Cheltenham Gold Cup winner-up and was ante-post favourite for the 2017 Grand National until his was withdrawn from the race. This was probably due to the fact that no 7 year old has won the race since 1940. He was surely kept back for another year. Minella Rocco is a horse that stays the distance, as shown by his win in the 4m National Hunt Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, and that was as a 6 year old.
The Jonjo O’Neill trained horse was also running on strongly at the finish of his runners-up performance in the Gold Cup. This suggests there is plenty more in the tank.
The Nigel Twiston-Davies camp loves 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 9 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. He also showed that he is capable of a big run in the Grand National after finishing 4th last time out. Could this year’s early favourite go even better in 2018?
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, he 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. He eventually finished second.
Nigel Twiston-Davies certainly fancies his chances. He has recently compared his horse to the greatest Aintree runner ever, Red Rum.
The Irish Grand National winner Our Duke, is hotly tipped to feature and run well in this year’s race. His form in that race demonstrates that he should be able to step up and stay well on the slightly longer Aintree track. His regular rider, Robbie Power, along with trainer Jessica Harrington showed some excellent results towards the back end of the the 2016/17 National Hunt season. This bodes well for this campaign. In the Irish National, he took up the running four flights out, before majestically asserting himself in the home straight to come home with a comfortable 14 length victory.
Vicente is a dual winner of the Scottish National. He won it in 2016 and 2017. These two wins over 4m shows Vicente is a horse with the credentials to win this race. However, Vicente fell at the first at Aintree last year, so it’s difficult to read anything into the performance. Vincente’s previous record also suggests that he is a spring horse, so there is a good chance he could come good again and perform better at Aintree.
Vicente is trained by champion trainer Paul Nicholls, who has a National winner to his name. So he knows what it takes to train a winning horse in this race.
Cause of Causes
Finally, a Grand National preview would not be complete without mentioning the legendary owner J P McManus. The Irishman looks 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, and was just pipped at Aintree by eventual winner One For Arthur.
But Cause of Causes second place finish shows that he can go one better in 2018.
Further 2018 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. Free bets, money back guarantees and enhanced odds are all available in the build up to the big day. Many bookmakers offer some enticing bonuses for you to utilise.
Go To Betfair
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New customer offer. Place 5 x £10 or more bets to receive £20 in free bets. Repeat up to 5 times to receive maximum £100 bonus. Min odds 1/2 (1.5). Exchange bets excluded. T&Cs apply.
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. You can bet on the following markets:
- 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
- Woman to train the winner
Taking a punt on one of the more uncommon betting markets is very entertaining. Bets such as all horses to clear the first fence, or the age of the winner often carries much more competitive odds.
*Odds at publication. Subject to change.