One of the more interesting markets offered on the year’s biggest betting event is that of the winning distance – that is the number of lengths the winner is victorious by, according to the Aintree judge.
Those who watch a lot of horse racing will know that winning distances tend to increase as the ground gets softer and this is borne out in the National.
The largest winning distance in the last ten years came when Hedgehunter was victorious by 14 lengths on good to soft going in 2005 and the only bigger margin since 2000 was in Red Marauder’s victory by a distance (30 lengths or more) on heavy going in 2001.
Last year (on good to soft) Auroras Encore won by nine lengths.
The going is currently predicted as good to soft with some showers forecast, but also sunny spells over the next few days. Aintree clerk of the course Andrew Tulloch describes course as having ‘perfect jumping ground’, but some of the top jockeys are holding off choosing which horse to ride until they know more.
At the time of writing only 888Sport are offering odds about the winning
distance. They go 13/8 that the race is won by under three lengths; 6/4 between
three lengths and eight lengths; and 9/4 over eight lengths. I would expect
more bookmakers to be offering odds over the next few days.
The Fate Of The Favourites
The last two winners of the Grand National have been priced at 66-1 and 33-1,
showing what a hard puzzle this 40-runner event can be to solve. The last clear
favourite to win was Hedgehunter in 2005, although Don’t Push It (2010) was
10/1 joint favourite and Comply Or Die (2008) was joint 7/1 favourite. At the
moment it looks like last year’s third, Teaforthree, will go off at the top of
the market at around 9/1. Last year’s favourite Sea Bass finished 13
of the 17 finishers.