GRAND NATIONAL BETTING

The Grand National is a National Hunt horse race held every April at Aintree Racecourse in Liverpool, England. It is the richest jump race in Europe with a purse of £1 million in 2014. The Grand National was first run in 1839 and is contested over a steeplechase course of 4 miles 3 ½ furlongs and includes 30 jumps in two circuits. The field is limited to 40 horses though as many as 66 horses have competed in the Grand National throughout its history.

GRAND NATIONAL FORMAT:

While the race is virtually unknown to North American fans it is a huge event throughout Europe and other parts of the world with an estimated 500 to 600 million watching on television every year. It's similar to the Super Bowl in the United States and the Melbourne Cup in Australia in that it attracts betting interest from casual fans and the general public who otherwise might not bet on a horse race during the course of the year.

The overall format of the Grand National—and for that matter jump racing in general--may be unfamiliar to North American racing fans and justifies some explanation. Jump racing is very popular in Europe and especially in Great Britain where the horse racing season is split between jump racing or 'National Hunt' racing and flat racing which is what most North American fans are familiar with. In addition to the challenging course, horses entered into the Grand National are assessed a weight handicap. This handicap is assigned based on qualitative factors and adds another element of complexity in handicapping Grand National bets. Another important element of the Grand National format is the race course itself which includes especially challenging jumps and fences that are higher than usually found in National Hunt races.

GRAND NATIONAL BETTING NEWS

Oscar Time Ruled Out of Grand National&h=223&w=348&zc=1

Added on December 10, 2014 , in Grand National Betting

Oscar Time Ruled Out of Grand National

While the Christmas season is a fairly quiet time in the United States horse racing scene there’s still plenty of action in

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HANDICAPPING THE GRAND NATIONAL

Due to the large field, the challenging course and particularly the weight handicap format determining which horses are worthy of your Grand National bets can be a tricky proposition. While there are obvious differences between handicapping jump racing and flat racing many of the same concepts of assessing pedigree, the skill set of a horse and past performance data are the same. As with flat racing one primary thing to consider is the recent form of the horses entered in the race. A horse with good recent form is, in theory at least, of greater interest for Grand National betting purposes than one who struggled—and particularly one that fell—in recent races.

MATURE HORSES ARE WINNING HORSES

One major difference between National Hunt/jump racing and flat racing is that horses reach their competitive peak at a much older age. In flat racing horses enter their 'prime' at age 4 or 5 after starting their racing career at age 2 or 3. Contrast that with the last 10 winners of the Grand National who ranged between 8 to 12 years in age. A horse younger than 8 hasn't won the Grand National since 1940 and no horse younger than 5 has ever won. On the other end of the spectrum, horses over the age of 12 are likely to be in the twilight of their competitive career. The oldest horse to ever win the Grand National was 15 years old but that was during a completely different era (Peter Simple in 1853). Since the salient components of success in the Grand National are stamina and jumping ability the handicapper needs to focus on horses in their physical prime.

WEIGHT AND STAMINA ARE IMPORTANT FACTORS

The weight handicap is extremely important in Grand National betting. As you'd expect, horses carrying excessive weight have a hard time winning the race. Most National Hunt/jump race handicappers consider the weight carried by a horse to be arguably the most important handicapping factor in the Grand National. There have been some changes to the race in recent years that have made carrying weight less problematic but its hard to argue with history—since 1945 only 6 Grand National races have been won by horses carrying more than 11 stone 5 pounds (159 pounds). Even with the recent course changes it is wise to eliminate any horse carrying more than 11 stone 7 pounds (161 pounds) from consideration. Stamina is also crucial and you want to focus on horses that have won at 3 miles or more—every Grand National winner since 1970 has won previously at this distance.