Grand National 2018 Betting Offers and Free Bets, plus History, Stats and Facts about this famous, enthralling race!
The Grand National is simply the biggest race in the world, the most valuable National Hunt race in Europe and is the most popular race among the public, many of whom only ever place a bet on the Aintree showpiece.
With an estimated global audience of over 500 million, the Grand National is certainly a well-watched race, but it is usually the bookies who are the winners as it is such an unpredictable race… which is probably what makes it so exciting!
Here we bring you a brief history of the famous race, along with stats, facts and information, but first let us take a look at the latest betting offers for the 2018 Grand National which takes place at 5.15 on Saturday 14th April at Aintree.
Note we’ve also got Irish National tips and betting offers and tips for the Scottish Grand National too. Oh, and Wales isn’t left out either!
Grand National Betting Offers 2018
Grand National 2017 Free Bets and New Customers Bonuses
Most bookies DO NOT offer free bets or welcome bonuses on the day of the Grand National, which is a bit tight of them.
The following bookmakers, however, are offering Free Bets or Bonuses to new customers for the Grand National:
RaceBets have really pushed the boat out for the 2017 Grand National: they are offering new customers the chance to back any horse in the Grand National at enhanced odds of 100/1!
The offer is open to new customers who join and use the promo code GN1001. Then you must place your first bet on the Grand National – maximum stake £1.00 to be paid out at 100/1.
You must also ensure you MOBILE VERIFY YOUR OFFER or it will be invalid. If your horse wins, your winnings will be paid out in free bets which must be rolled over three times before you withdraw any funds.
Please see the RaceBets site for the full terms and conditions or check out our 100/1 RaceBets offer post.
Brief History of the Grand National
The initial founding and development of the race which has become the most famous jumps contest in the world can be credited to two gentleman. William Lynn set the ball rolling in 1829 providing the impetus for the building of the course and supporting Grandstand. Edward Topham was part of Lynn’s team and took over the reins as Lynn’s health began to fail him. It is Topham who first imposed handicap conditions on the race in 1843, thus creating the competitive contest we know and love to this day. Topham’s name lives on in the form of the Topham Chase which is also run at the track.
Early variations of the race were run as early as 1836 but the 1839 race is widely recognised as the first official Grand National. With a large high quality field, widespread news coverage and a significant on-course attendance this was the race that launched the Grand National into the public consciousness, where it has remained embedded to this day.
The first winner of the race could not have been more aptly named. Due to the large fields and consequent difficulty in predicting the winner, many observers, particularly the once-a-year racing fans, view the race as something of a lottery. The name of that first winner back in 1839 was… Lottery.
From these beginnings the race has grown into the race that grabs the attention on the nation like no other. It is currently the most valuable jumps race in Europe with a prize fund of £1 million. A major boost in the race’s popularity came with the advent of television. Aintree’s showpiece has been broadcast live on free to air television every year since 1960 and is watched by an estimated 500-600 million people in more than 140 countries.
Grand National Race Overview
So what is it that makes the Grand National so special? There are, after all, countless horse races run in the UK and around the world every year. None of them are quite like this though.
The trip of four miles and three and a half furlongs makes it the longest chase contest on the calendar. It is the nature of the fences, of which there are 30 in all, that really makes this such a unique spectacle. Standard National Hunt fences are around four feet and six inches high and fairly uniform in appearance. At heights of up to five feet and two inches, with ditches on both the take-off and landing sides, brooks and a water jump, the National obstacles are far from normal fences.
There are 16 individual fences in total, of which 14 are jumped twice. Each fence offers a stiff challenge of jumping ability but some are more famous than others. The names of the three most well-known fences have become synonymous with the race itself.
- Becher’s Brook: At five feet in height this fence looks much like any other on the course. The surprise comes on the landing side as it is around six to 10 inches lower than the point of take-off. This is a real test of jockeyship as the drop can often take both horse and rider by surprise.
- Canal Turn: Another real test of a jockey’s skill as the course veers 90 degrees to the left immediately on the landing side.
- The Chair: This is probably the most technically difficult of all the national fences. At five feet and two inches it is also the tallest of the obstacles. In addition to the height difficulty there is also a six foot wide ditch leading up to the fence and the landing side is six inches higher than the point of take-off. It is no doubt a relief to jockeys that this The Chair is only tackled on the first circuit.
Grand National Tales
In the 1950’s legendary Irish Trainer Vincent O’Brien completed the remarkable feat of winning in three consecutive years with three different horses. Training greatness is clearly in the blood as his son Aiden is one of the dominant forces in flat racing today.
One of the most famous incidents in the race’s long history came in 1956. The Queen’s Devon Loch had cleared the last fence and was staying on stoutly, all set to complete the course in record time. With the world watching and a famous victory beckoning, Devon Loch promptly produced a belly flop onto the Aintree Turf just 40 yards from the line leaving ESB to claim the honours. Many have speculated as to why he did this but really only Devon Loch knows.
At the 23rd fence in 1967 a loose horse veered straight across the leaders causing them all to either stop, fall, unship their jockey or start running in the wrong direction. There was one beneficiary of this chaos, namely the 100/1 shot Foinavon who was lagging well behind and thus able to plot a course wide of the unfolding carnage. He jumped the fence and went on to victory. The 7th/23rd fence was subsequently renamed in his honour.
Our personal favourite Grand National tale is that of the 1981 event. In 1979 jockey Bob Champion had been given just months to live having been diagnosed with cancer. Elsewhere at this time a horse by the name of Aldaniti was suffering from chronic leg problems and looking like his career may be over. Champion battled his cancer in a manner befitting his name whilst Aldiniti was nursed back to health by his trainer Josh Gifford. Champion rode Aldaniti to an emotion-drenched success in the 1981 event in one of the greatest tales of triumph over adversity ever told.
These are just a few of the tales from the annals of this race that is so rich in heritage. In truth there are too many to list here. No doubt the future of most popular steeplechase in the world will provide us with more stories to add to the list.
Grand National Stats and Facts
- The largest ever field came in 1929 with 66 runners
- Largest number of finishers: 23 in 1984
- Most Successful horse: The legendary Red Rum with three wins
- Most Successful jockey: George Stevens with five wins
- Most Successful trainer: Fred Rimmell and George Dockeray with four wins apiece
- Only three grey horses have ever won The National
- The race has never been won by a female jockey
- Oldest winning horse: Peter Simple at 15 years of age
- Golden Miller is the only horse to complete the Cheltenham Gold Cup-Grand National double in the same season
- Earth Summit is the only horse to have won the English, Scottish and Welsh Grand Nationals
- Tony McCoy will equal the record number of appearances in the race with his 2015 ride (19 rides)
- Richard Johnson holds the record for the most rides in the race without a win