Grand National betting 2014: Why a royal connection could see Monbeg Dude start as favourite - but short odds provide little clue to the winner

The average odds of the winner over the past 24 years has been 22/1

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The Independent Online

Since 1990 just four outright favourites have won the Grand National and each was priced at 7/1. This year’s race looks an open renewal and the market leader is unlikely to be that short in Saturday’s race. Two days ahead of the National it is not clear which horse will start favourite with punters likely to back both Teaforthree and Monbeg Dude.

The average price of the winner over the last 24-years has been 22/1 though this includes just 23 races as the National in 1993 was void. The price of the bogus winner was 40/1 and would take the overall average above 23/1. The shortest priced winners were the four favourites at 7/1 while the only winner at odds of 100/1 or more was Mon Mome in 2009.

Just seven winners since 1990 had a starting price of 10/1 or less while nine were in the range of 11/1 to 20/1.  Last year’s winner, Auroras Encore, was the second biggest priced. The last favourite to win was Comply Or Die in 2008. Over the last four years the winner’s odds have got progressively bigger.

You can bet on which horse will start favourite for the Grand National and the money in that market and the race itself has come for Monbeg Dude. The once a year bettors will probably focus on the royal connection. Monbeg Dude is part owned by Mike Tindall, the husband of Zara Phillips, the Queen’s niece. The Channel 4 TV coverage will no doubt focus on this story in the build up to the race and that will generate betting interest.

During the week the regular punters have been backing Monbeg Dude as the horse has solid form for the race. Tindal famously bought a share in the horse with some rugby colleagues almost by accident. The royal storyline and the horse’s credentials can see it backed into favouritism by race time.

Only two women have trained the winner of the National, Jenny Pitman and Venetia Williams. Teaforthree is another horse with an outstanding chance that also provides an intriguing storyline due to the female trainer. Rebecca Curtis has won three races at the Cheltenham festival, including with Teaforthree, and winning the National would be the next logical career step.

Nicky Henderson is one of the best trainers of his generation but the National is the one big race that he has not won. He has four chances on Saturday, including with Triolo D’Alene, the winner of the Hennessey Gold Cup. However, the bigger story would involve Long Run who is looking the complete the Cheltenham Gold Cup and Grand National double last achieved by L’Escargot in 1975.

Paul Nicholls, Henderson’s main adversary in recent years for the Trainer’s Championship, won the National two year ago with Neptune Collonges. His runner Tidal Bay is trying to become just the fourth winner aged 13 on Saturday. The late professional money should come for Long Run and Tidal Bay but the stories associated with Monbeg Dude and Teaforthree will attract most bests on those two horses on the day.

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