Heads up: Top comment and controversy

Are you ready for the Grand National?

On Saturday, the most valuable jump race in Europe will take place at Aintree, with 40 jockeys competing for a £975,000 prize. Rather less money will also be at stake in bookies and office sweepstakes around the country. Are you ready?

Which horse did you get in the sweepstake?

Fingers-crossed not Mumbles Head, an absolute no-hoper at 150-1. You're probably feeling pretty smug right now if you nabbed 7.5-1 On His Own, but then as bitter experience has taught us, anything can happen on the day. (For a full list of horses and odds, check out The Independent's downloadable sweepstake kit.)

Where will you be watching it?

Don't forget your hat, if you're planning on watching from Aintree, otherwise die hard gamblers will be gathered under the TV at the bookies. others may find a local pub more salubrious. The aptly named Coach & Horses in Soho is one of many boozer's that will be screening the race live.

Do you fully appreciate the horse names this year?

Our favourites, in reverse order of weirdness:

3. The Rainbow Hunter (66-1)

2. Major Malarkey (100-1)

1. Big Fella Thanks (40-1)

Have you formed a view on the ethics of Britain's gambling habits?

Just in case conversation flags around Fence 7. Online betting is a £2bn business in Britain and the number of problem gamblers has soared to nearly a million in recent years. The treasury is yet to close a loophole that allows big gambling firms to avoid paying around £1bn in UK tax and the betting industry has organised lobby groups to keep MPs on side.

 

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