Grand National Betting Offers

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: THE 2020 GRAND NATIONAL HAS BEEN POSTPONED!! ********************

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 Previous Winners

  • 2018 – Tiger Roll – jockey Davy Russell, trainer Gordon Elliott
  • 2017 – One For Arthur – jockey Derek Fox, trainer Lucinda Russell
  • 2016 – Rule The World – jockey David Mullins, trainer Mouse Morris
  • 2015 – Many Clouds – jockey Leighton Aspell, trainer Oliver Sherwood
  • 2014 – Pineau De Re – jockey Leighton Aspell, trainer Richard Newland
  • 2013 – Auroras Encore – jockey Ryan Mania, trainer Sue Smith
  • 2012 – Neptune Collonges – jockey Daryl Jacob, trainer Paul Nicholls
  • 2011 – Ballabriggs – jockey Jason Maguire, trainer Donald McCain, Jr.
  • 2010 – Don’t Push It – jockey Tony McCoy, trainer Jonjo O’Neill
  • 2009 – Mon Mome – jockey Liam Treadwell, trainer Venetia Williams
  • 2008 – Comply or Die – jockey Timmy Murphy, trainer David Pipe
  • 2007 – Silver Birch – jockey Robbie Power, trainer Gordon Elliott

Grand National History

Jumps racing aficionados may like nothing better than the Cheltenham Festival, whilst those who prefer the bluebloods of the flat count down the days to the Derby in June each year, but for the public at large there is really only one race which captures the national attention. With sweepstakes run up and down the country and everybody and their granny having a bet, the Grand National is the one UK race equally likely to make the headlines on the front pages as well as the back.

There are many things which make this race so special but one of the most obvious is the unique nature of the challenge it presents. There’s simply nothing else quite like it. The 4m 2 ½f and thirty fences make this no place for the faint hearted, with only the bravest and toughest of horses and jockeys likely to make their way to the winner’s enclosure.

As mentioned there are thirty obstacles standing between the contenders and glory as the runners line up each year, but these aren’t any old obstacles, with a few being almost as famous as the race itself. Becher’s Brook – named after Captain Martin Becher who took shelter at the base of this fence when falling in the very first national- is around ten inches lower on the landing side than on take-off and often takes runners by surprise.

Canal Turn meanwhile practically requires a horse to jump around a corner as it veers so sharply to the left on the landing side. Then there’s Foinavon-scene of a famous pile up in 1967 – and taking its name from the shock winner of that race, and Valentines which is allegedly named after a runner who jumped the fence backwards.

The popularity of any sporting event is inevitably aided by a stirring tale or two, and the Grand National has had more than most. From one of the most popular horses of all time, Red Rum, winning the race a remarkable three times in the 1970’s, to cancer survivor Bob Champion and the chronically injured, Aldaniti landing a heart rending renewal in 1981, the National has just about had it all.

Topical winners have also added to the mystique of the race throughout its history. The very first edition was taken by the appropriately named, Lottery, Party Politics won in the election year of 1992, the 1991 edition sponsored by the Canadian company, Seagram was won by a horse called… Seagram.

Heroes have been human as well as equine here over the years, with a number of trainers and jockeys etching their names into the history books. We have a four way tie in the training ranks with George Dockeray, Fred Rimell and Red Rum’s handler, Ginger McCain sitting on four wins apiece. Amongst the jockey’s, it is George Stevens who stands alone, with no one yet matching his total of five wins achieved between the years of 1856 and 1870.

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