The Grand National can be the most difficult race of the year in which to find the winner. It is a unique race so some pieces of form will go out of the window whilst luck also tends to play its part with carnage a regular feature in the race. The Grand National winner is most commonly right in front of our noses though with the well fancied horses dominating the race in recent years. Seventeen of the last twenty-one winners were 20/1 or less whilst amazingly, only three horses at odds bigger than 20/1 have even managed to finish in the top five in the last four years. It should pay therefore to examine the fancied Grand National runners that have the best chance.
Barring any huge changes in the betting, the horse that starts favourite this afternoon in the Grand National will be Synchronised. It is not often that we see the Cheltenham Gold Cup winner line up in the Grand National and as a Cheltenham Gold Cup winner, Synchronised has to carry plenty of weight, he carries top weight this afternoon. He will carry more weight to victory than any horse since Red Rum should he win but he has certainly earned his weight. He will need to bring his seemingly limitless stamina to this race, he has not only won a Welsh Grand National in heavy ground but also a Midlands Grand National over four and a quarter miles, also in heavy ground. Synchronised runs for Tony McCoy and Jonjo O’Neill who won the race two years ago with Don’t Push It and it is pretty difficult to make a case against him.
Another of the horses who is likely to occupy most column inches today is last year’s winner Ballabriggs. No horse has managed to win the Grand National more than once since four time winner Red Rum in the 70s but it is worth noting that Ballabriggs is trained by Donald McCain Jnr, the son of Red Rum’s trainer Ginger McCain. Ballabriggs may be up against it for win purposes today but he certainly looks a decent place bet as four Grand National winners in the last decade have placed the following year. Those horses were Monty’s Pass (2003 winner), Hedgehunter (2005 winner), Comply Or Die (2008 winner) and Don’t Push It (2010 winner) and it would be no surprise to see Ballabriggs added to that list in his ideal conditions. Back Ballabriggs to place and get 6 Places and £100 of Free Bets on the Grand National.
There have been many horses backed and many horses that have drifted this week because of the changing going. The rain earlier in the week meant that Giles Cross and West End Rocker shortened in price. Many who backed Giles Cross may be ripping up their tickets as that one needs soft ground whilst West End Rocker is still of interest, he would prefer a bit of cut but handles good going. Meanwhile, Junior was on the drift because of the rain but the drying ground has seen a bit of money for the David Pipe runner but his jumping and inexperience is a concern.
Chicago Grey and On His Own are the best fancied Irish contenders, Chicago Grey will need luck in running as he is a confirmed hold up horse but if he avoids some of the carnage he could have a chance whilst On His Own merits respect as the choice of Ruby Walsh this year but he is the least experienced runner in the field this year (alongside Cappa Bleu who is also well fancied) with only six runs over fences and he may have a better chance next year. It is also worth flagging up Killyglen who fell last year when certainly in contention and he could be one of the best each way bets of the race.
When betting on the Grand National, it pays to shop around between the Grand National bookies as not only do the odds differ from bookie to bookie, but so do the offers. You obviously want the biggest odds on your Grand National bets but it is also worth noting the number of places your bookie is paying, some will only pay four places on each way bets whilst others will pay as many as six places. Other bookies compete for your bets though other offers such as refunds if certain horses win or money back if your horse finishes second.