Grand National

The Grand National is the most famous jump race in the world and takes place over unique spruce-covered fences at Aintree in Liverpool.

It is the highlight of a three-day meeting in early April which features many of the top horses from the Cheltenham Festival.

The Grand National is the most popular betting race of the year and is watched by a worldwide TV audience of around 600 million.

Famous winners include Red Rum (1973, 1974, 1977), Tiger Roll (2018. 2019) and Aldaniti (1981).

Grand National

The Race

The Aintree Grand National is a handicap chase over an extended four miles and thirty fences.

It was first run in 1839 with victory going to the appropriately-named Lottery.

The fences include the notorious Becher’s Brook and The Chair where many races have been lost over the years.

Only four other races take place over the Grand National fences each season; The Grand Sefton Chase and The Becher Chase in December and The Topham Trophy and Fox Hunters’ Chase at the Grand National meeting.

The Grand National is the most valuable steeplechase in Europe with prize money of £1 million.

There have been changes to the course and the entry system in recent years in order to improve the safety of both horse and rider. It remains a gruelling test and one of the most coveted prizes in the world of sport.

Famous Aintree Grand National Winners & The National History

Red Rum is the only horse to win three Aintree Grand Nationals. His first victory in 1973 is remembered as one of the most thrilling Grand Nationals ever run. He came from an impossible position to wear down the long-time leader Crisp. He then defeated L’Escargot in 1974 with the runner-up gaining his revenge the following year. Rag Trade defeated Red Rum in 1976 but he returned to gain a record third success at the age of 12 in 1977.

Crisp is not the only unlucky loser to go down in Grand National folklore. The most famous loser in the history of the race was Devon Loch, owned by Her Majesty The Queen Mother. He was clear on the run-on in 1956, only to spook at something and come to an abrupt halt.

The Grand National produced another epic story In 1981 when Bob Champion rode Aldaniti to victory. Champion recovered from cancer to ride in the race while his mount had returned from a career-threatening injury. The race inspired the movie “Champions”, starring John Hurt and Edward Woodward.

In 1993 the race was declared void after several jockeys failed to realise there had been a false start. Jockey John White completed the course in front on Esha Ness, only to be informed of the chaos behind him after passing the post.

Four years’ later the race had to be abandoned on the Saturday after the course was cleared in the wake of a bomb threat. The race eventually took place on Monday with Tony Dobbin winning aboard Lord Gyllene.

Key Grand National Trials

Previous form over the big Aintree fences is a plus when assessing your Grand National tips.

Some horses do not take to the fences and you will know your fate very early in the race. Ten of the last 12 Grand National winners had at least one previous run at Aintree.

Horses that raced at the Cheltenham Festival the previous month also do well here.

The Cross Country Chase was the stepping-stone to the National for Tiger Roll in 2018 and 2019. Don’t Push It and Pineau De Re had warmed up for Aintree by running in the Pertemps Hurdle Final and Many Clouds had finished sixth in the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

The Haydock Grand National Trial, Eider Chase and Welsh Grand National have provided surprisingly few Aintree clues. These events can be very testing and it is possible that the winners often leave their Grand National hopes behind by having such a hard race.

Grand National Betting Trends

Betting on the Grand National is regarded as a bit of a lottery and recent results certainly support that theory.

Mon Mome was a shock winner at 100-1 in 2009 with Auroras Encore returning at 66-1 in 2013. Neptune Collonges (2012) and Rule The World (2016) both won at 33-1 while Pineau De Re (2014) and Many Clouds (2015) were both 25-1 outsiders.

Prior to Mon Mome’s victory, Foinavon (1967) had provided the biggest Grand National upset when scoring at 100-1. His success came when he was the only horse to safely navigate the 23rd fence after loose horses caused havoc.

There have only been two clear favourites to oblige in recent years, Hedgehunter in 2005 and Tiger Roll in 2019.

Don’t Push It (2010) was joint-favourite after a huge gamble on Tony McCoy’s mount on the day of the race.

Aintree Grand National Stats

  • The class of Grand National entries has improved in line with the safety improvements.
  • Horses rated 148 and over have the best recent record in the race.
  • Following a run of three consecutive eleven-year-olds, horses aged 8 or 9 have won the last five renewals.
  • The last twelve-year-old to win was Amberleigh House in 2004.
  • Stamina is a key factor in finding the Grand National winner. All but one of the last twelve winners had won at least once over three miles or further.
  • All of them had raced ten or more times over fences and at least three times during the current season.

Aintree Top Trainers and Jockeys

Gordon Elliott has now won the Grand National race on three occasions; Silver Birch (2007) and Tiger Roll (2018, 2019). He needs one more winner to equal the record shared by George Dockeray, Fred Rimell and Ginger McCain.

This race has so far eluded Nicky Henderson who finished runner-up with his first National runner Zongalero back in 1979.

The leading jockey in the history of the race is George Stevens who won the race five times between 1856 and 1870.

Richard Johnson has ridden in the race 21 times without success, coming closest on What’s Up Boys who finished second in 2002. He will take heart from the fact that Tony McCoy did not ride the Grand National until his fifteenth ride aboard Don’t Push It (2010).

Betting on the Grand National 2021

The Grand National provides the highest betting turnover for bookmakers of any horse race.

2021 Grand National ante-post betting is available throughout the year but begins in earnest with the publication of the weights in mid-February.

Bookmakers always have fantastic Grand National bet offers for new customers. Existing customers can also benefit from enhanced place terms, sometimes down to seventh place, and a wide range of special bets, sometimes even free bets.

You should make sure that your bookmaker offers the “Best Odds Guaranteed” as the starting prices are almost always shorter.

The odds for the 2021 race can be currently found with the following bookmakers, also check out our recommended best horse racing betting sites:

If you are looking to bet online we recommend the following great deals:

Summary of The Aintree Grand National

Grand National Day at Aintree is one of the most exciting sporting occasions of the year.

Approximately 600 million of “once a year” punters have a flutter on the Grand National and watch the thrills and spills live from Aintree racecourse, on its unique national course, on their television sets.

Legends like Red Rum and Aldaniti have put horse racing on the front page of newspapers.

Tiger Roll was denied the chance to equal Red Rum’s record of three victories by the Coronavirus Pandemic in 2020 (a Virtual Grand National was run) but the dream lives on for another year.