It’s taken until the end of the week but the bookies have started publicising their ‘speciality’ (aka novelty) bets for Grand National day and leading the way is Paddy Power. Many of the markets have nothing to do with the racing at all – but more to do with celeb spotting and style.
For instance, it’s 3/1 that Camilla Parker Bowles is photographed placing a bet, 10/1 that Katy B forgets her words, and 8/11 that Liverpool striker Luis Suarez turn up. Fashionistas can punt on the colour of John Parrott’s tie (blue being the 5/4 favourite, yellow going off at 8/1); and you can (if you are that way inclined) even invest your hard earned money on the HAIR COLOUR of the best dressed lady (brown is the even money jolly with blonde a just a neck or so behind at 5/4). Paddy Power reckon that TV viewing of the big event will peak at between eight and nine million viewers (the 5/4 favourite) – if you think over 10 million will tune in you can get 6/1.
Almost incredibly there are actually markets with some vague bearing on the race itself. It’s 5/4 that rain will fall during the National, and 5/1 the wind speed will top 30km an hour. The 7/4 that the starting price of the favourite is 17/2 or bigger looks interesting given what a wide open race it is this year, and it’s 6/4 that all runners clear the first fence. One firm family favourite is always the number of finishers of the 40 horse race – it’s 2/1 that 13 or fewer get round, 5/4 that 14-17 finish and 6/4 that there are 18 or more finishers.
The Grand National Experience
As the fences have been made less daunting and thus the impact of bad luck reduced, form over National style fences has become more important. Indeed last year’s top four – Auroras Encore (66/1), Cappa Blue (12/1), Teaforthree (10/1) and Oscar Time (66/1) - had all already been placed in either the Grand National, Scottish National or the Welsh National.
Twenty two of the declared runners have tackled the Grand National course before (not all in the National itself, as races like the Becher Chase, Topham Chase and Grand Sefton are also run over these fences). Of these, eight have been placed or won – these are Chance Du Boy (33/1), Last Time D’Albain (50/1), Mr Moonshine (40/1), Swing Bill (66/1), Teaforthree (9/1), Tranquil Sea (50/1), Triolo D’Alene (20/1) and Walkon (50/1).
The winner of the 2013 Welsh National was Mountainous (40-1) and he takes his chance, along with Tidal Bay (14/1), who came third in December’s race at Chepstow in a thrilling finish. The fourth placed horse from that race, One In A Milan (66/1), also runs. Another winner of the Welsh National that runs is the fancied Monbeg Dude (14-1), who triumphed 2012.