The Randox Health Grand National Steeple Race is the highlight of the season at Aintree, taking place on Saturday 8 April. 40 horses will gallop out in Britain’s biggest and arguably best race – and with such a large selection of steeds, nothing is certain.
This betting preview will tell you everything you need to know about the odds-on favourite horses, which outsiders might be able to clinch a win,and, more importantly, bag you more wallop for your wager!
Before the race has even begun, one horse has edged out as a favourite. Vieux Lion Rouge has pipped ahead of nearest rival Definitely Red, with online bookmakers like bet365 offering 10/1 on the first. Definitely Red is a close second at 11/1, with More of That and Cause of Causes both tying for third with odds of 12/1.
The eight-year-old Definitely Red is trained by Brian Ellison and has won both the Rowland Meyrick and Grimthorpe, though it could be worth a bet on Vieux Lion Rouge, who won the trial at Haydock (though at last year’s National faded to seventh place). Cause of Causes is also one to keep an eye on, not least because he's trained by Gordon Elliot, who also trained previous National winner Silver Birch.
Cause of Causes did run in the National in 2015, eventually coming in 8th, but a recent win in the Cross Country at Cheltenham puts him on better footing for this race. Last year’s runner up in the Grand National, The Last Samurai, is currently attracting slightly longer odds of 14/1 and could be a solid choice for an each way bet.
Two horses on the outside to keep an eye on are Rogue Angel and Thunder and Roses, a double assault on the National by trainer Michael “Mouse” Morris. He was pictured with tears of joy last year when his third horse, Rule the World, defied the odds to win the 2016 Grand National.
Both of Morris’ horses are gathering odds of 25/1 at online betting sites, but of the two, Rogue Angel may be the smarter bet, having won the Irish Grand National last year, while Thunder and Roses won it the year before.
There are a few horses that online bookmakers like bet365 are offering with odds of 50/1 that might be worth a cheeky wee wager. Pendra had a good run of wins in 2013, but since then has only managed one in the 2015 Sodexo Gold Cup Handicap Chase at Ascot. Similarly, at 11 years of age, Royale Knight might not be as spritely as he was, but like Pendra he enjoyed many victories in 2013 and also bagged a win in the 2015 Sean Magee Sedgefielders Durham National Handicap Chase.
Another 50/1 entry worth watching is The Craft Butcher, who managed a 2nd place finish at the Paddy Power Chase at Leopardstown after Christmas and a 3rd place finish at the Arctic Tack Stud Veterans Handicap Chase in Wexford a few weeks ago. There's also the younger Stellar Notion, who came 2nd place in both January’s Leopardstown Handicap Chase and the JT McNamara Ladbrokes Munster National Handicap Chase at Limerick last October.
These days it’s not just the winners that punters can bet on. Online betting sites run a number of special bets surrounding the Grand National, including the Age of Winner. bet365 is offering odds of 6/5 that the horse first past the post is seven, eight or nine, but if the horse is ten, you could be quids in with odds of 8/1. Should one of the older horses steal a win, there are longer odds available of 10/1.
The National is a notoriously tricky race to finish; you can place a bet on just how many horses will manage to negotiate the first fence or how many will cross the finish line. If all runners manage to clear the first fence, you could get reasonable odds of 6/4, although if one falls prior to this, the odds drop to 8/15.
Similarly, if over 18 horses manage to finish the race, bet365 is offering odds of 15/8. Under 16 is garnering odds of 7/4, while if it falls between those two you can get 13/8. If you think you can pick the winner by a nose, why not visit bet365 now? If you join today, bet365 is offering a 100% First Deposit Bonus up to an incredible £200.