The 2018 Grand National Betting Guide

Grand National Betting Guide – Who Bets and How to Bet

It’s once a year, it is a British tradition, 70,000 people will watch it live and an estimated 600 million people will tune in around the world.  It is, of course, the Grand National.  Read on for the Betfinder Grand National Betting Guide with all you need to know for making the most of your Grand National bets.

The great race, with its famous 30 obstacles, 40 runners and gruelling 4-mile 2-furlong trip is the centrepiece of the three-day (Thursday, Friday, Saturday) Aintree Festival which incorporates ‘Liverpool Day’, ‘Ladies Day’ and ‘Grand National Day’.  Saturday’s Grand National, which will generate more than £250 million in bets, is supported by six races including the Liverpool Hurdle which has been won by some of the greatest ever staying hurdlers.

But it is the 21st and final race of the festival which will carry the hopes, dreams and money of a quarter of the UK’s adult population.  For the most part those millions of punters will be placing their one and only bet of the year, so online bookmakers make ‘bet placement’ as straightforward as possible.

A series of simple clicks will allow you to easily make your selections, choose your stakes and place your choice of bet.  But look out for some knockout Grand National betting offers amongst the bookmakers pages – online sportsbooks are like any other type of shop meaning they regularly feature sales, discounts, bonuses and even Grand National free bets.


Form Choice – Grand National Credentials

The Grand National betting bonanza sells newspaper aplenty as all the major red-top papers have a dedicated pull-out section featuring expert opinions, basic form guides and Grand National betting tips.  But Grand National betting guides can also be found at the major online bookmakers. They may not feature in-depth form analysis but they generally state a case for all the runners and highlight the credentials of the Grand National betting tips.

But the more informed Grand National punters will be analysing the form in-depth at one of the industry authority sites, in the Racing Post newspaper or via the better-known online bookmakers.

These are probably the best place to do your form study as many not only list race records and in-depth analysis of recent starts, they also offer video form guides – meaning you can do some visual schoolwork.

Grand National Betting Guide
Grand National Betting Guide – Leading Contenders

Blaklion 12/1

Fourth in last year’s Grand National when 8/1 favourite, Blaklion showed his liking for the Aintree fences when winning the Becher handicap Chase over the National fences in December.

He is trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies who is the only currently active trainer to have won the Grand National more than once. Therefore it is encouraging that he has made no secret of the fact that Blaklion is being trained specifically with the Grand National in mind.


Total Recall 12/1

Hails from the powerhouse stables of Willie Mullins in Ireland and is though highly enough to have lined-up in the Cheltenham Gold Cup where he fell three fences from home.  

Previously unbeaten in three chase races since joining the Mullins stable and potentially really well handicapped with 11st 1lb, 5lb less than Blaklion’s racing weight.


The Last Samuri 16/1

Runner-up in the 2016 Grand National when 8/1 joint-favourite and sixteenth in 2017, The Last Samuri has been running well this season and finished runner-up to Blaklion in the Becher Handicap before Christmas.  He does have a liking for soft going and has been given some relief from the handicapper. Last seen in the Cross Country Chase at the Cheltenham Festival which worked as a stepping stone for 2007 Grand National winner, Silver Birch. Probably has too many miles on the clock for our liking.

Anibale Fly 16/1

Being an improving eight-year-old this Irish-trained runner has a great profile for this race. Won a very valuable handicap at Leopardstown over Christmas and finished an excellent third in the Cheltenham Gold Cup.  If that race has not taken too much out of him and he takes to the Aintree fences he could definitely play a major part as he appears to have plenty of stamina.

Cause of Causes 20/1

Irish-trained runner-up in last year’s Grand National.  But massively disappointing in two runs this season. Pulled-up in Cheltenham’s Cross Country Chase and few Grand National winners prevail following a pulled-up effort.

Minella Rocco 20/1

Just the one win from 13 chase starts has to be off-putting but that victory did come in the stamina sapping four-mile National Hunt Chase at the 2016 Cheltenham Festival. On that day he beat this year’s Gold Cup winner, Native River, into second and he was runner-up to Sizing John in the 2017 Gold Cup (again touching off Native River).  He is clearly a classy type but that is reflected in his racing weight of 11st-7lb. Seems to go on most types of ground.

Gold Present 20/1

A faller over the Grand National fences in last season’s Topham Chase this Nicky Henderson trained runner looked a real improver with two wins in December. However he has shown a tendency to jump to his right – something you cannot do at the National fences – and was pulled-up with a broken blood vessel at the Cheltenham Festival in a three-mile chase.  Loads of questions to answer and it looks like he must have good going.

Tiger Roll 25/1

Bred for flat racing by Sheikh Mohammed and winner of the 2014 Triumph Hurdle, Tiger Roll returned to Cheltenham to win the 2017 National Hunt Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.  Remarkably this year the Gordon Elliott trained horse claimed a third Festival win, this time in the Cross Country Chase. There’s every chance he has improvement in him given he is an 8-year-old and he may enjoy the faster ground normally found at Aintree.  With just 10st-9lb to shoulder in the Grand National and stark similarities with the trainers ‘Silver Birch’, who won the 2007 Grand National, this one looks a serious contender.

Bellshill 25/1

Another from the all-conquering Willie Mullins stable, Bellshill has very few miles on his clock, bags of potential and handy racing weight of 10st-7lb. Successful in three of just five chase starts, he swerved this year’s Cheltenham Festival and heads to Aintree with just one run this season, a comfortable odds-on victory over 20 fences in the Grade 3 Bobyjo Chase at Leopardstown.  A Grade 1 winning novice hurdler at the Punchestown Festival, few horses take in the Grand National with so little experience. But it is this lack of racing which sees him carry such an attractive racing weight and no one can question the wisdom of his trainer.

Seeyouatmidnight 33/1

Hoping to become the second successive Grand National winner trained in Scotland, Seeyouatmidnight is handled Sandy Thompson, one of the smaller training yard in the British Isles. Unraced for a year this ten-year-old has some excellent form in 2016, beating Blaklion in a Grade 2 at Cheltenham (when in receipt of just 3lb) and showing he has stamina by finishing third as one of the top weights in the Scottish Grand National.  Clearly he has had issues and he has also had some ‘wind surgery’ but if he retains any of his old ability he could come right into contention carrying 10st-8lb.


Types of Grand National Bets

If you find the Grand National winner you are sure to be handsomely rewarded.  A field of 40 runners means even the race favourite is likely to be 7/1+ so, given the lottery-type nature of the historic race, most people tend to place each-way wagers.

It is well worth shopping around when placing your each-way Grand National bets as some firms will pay out additional place paying places.  Instead of the traditional first four places, some will give you a dividend on your each-way bet if your selection finishes fifth and even sixth.

As well as win bets and each-way wagers intrepid punters can place forecasts which needs you to select the first and second in correct order, and tricasts requiring first-second and third.  But those that don’t possess a crystal ball and prefer a less speculative type of bet can and will elect to invest their money in ‘place only’ markets.

Another way of making a return more likely is by placing wagers amongst some of the ‘special markets’ which are always bounded around at Grand National time.  These will allow you to place bets on the ‘number of finishers’, the ‘age of the winner’, ‘an Irish trained winner’ and other such outcomes.


Grand National Odds

The recent winners of the Grand National have all been big prices:  2017 winner, One For Arthur, and 2011 winner Ballabriggs were both 14/1 but they bookend winners priced 25/1, 33/1 and even 66/1.

For the uninitiated these prices represent what you will win to a £1 or one unit stake.  The first number in a price is always what you will win to a single unit stake and, in theory, the bigger the odds/price, the more remote the chances of the horse winning.  Of course horses don’t understand Grand National betting odds.

The term ‘favourite’ refers to the horse which is the shortest price in the Grand National betting and it earns that status by the weight of money placed on it by the betting public.

While Grand National favourites have not fared too well in recent years, there were five winning favourites between 1996 and 2010:  

  • Rough Quest (7/1 in 1996),
  • Earth Summit (7/1 in 1998),
  • Hedgehunter (7/1 in 2005),
  • Comply or Die (7/1 in 2008)
  • and Don’t Push It (10/1 in 2010).

How to Pick your Grand National Bets

Turning to the record books is one of the best ways to determine what names will be in them in the future.  You don’t really need a Grand National betting guide tipster to dissect the race’ history and use the form to narrow the field in this year’s race.

  • Age 

Nine is the best age for Grand National winners.  A quarter of all winners have been nine years old. Selecting a horse between 9 and 11 makes is prudent. The last winner aged seven or under was in 1940 and there has only been one 12-year-old winner since 1995 (Amberleigh House in 2004).

  • Weight

Very few horses have managed to win the Grand National carrying big weights.  Since Red Rum in 1977 only four horses have won carrying 11st 5lb or more.

  • Recent Run and Stamina

 A recent run is crucial.  Only one Grand National winner since 1981 had its prep-run more than 50 days prior to lining up for the big race.  Similarly all but one of the last 48 Grand National winners had winning form at three-miles or more.

Of course others will simply side with coincidences.  The last three winners to have featured people’s names are: Ben Nevis (1980), Bobbyjo (1999) and One For Arthur (2017).  Horses beginning with the letter R have the best record in the race and the Grand National has been won five times by horses with ‘Red’ in its name.  And if you love a grey horse do consider only three greys have ever won the Grand National.


Grand National Betting Guide – Tips & Tricks

Once you have made your Grand National betting selections you have to decide how and where to place your bets.  Here’s our advice…

  • Grand National Free Bets

Most online sportsbooks will give new customers a free bet for signing-up to them.  But, to use that wager as a Grand National free bet, you must place a qualifying bet beforehand.  Therein open your new accounts early in the week in order to receive and place your free bets on the Grand National.

  • Bet Early

At the 5.15pm race time approaches the prices of the majority of Grand National runners shrinks, so place your bets early in the day and be sure to ‘take’ an early/fixed price.

  • Shop Around

Make sure to shop round for the best possible betting deal.  That is, get the best price available about your selection and if you are betting each-way make sure to place your bets with one of the firms paying out on five or even 6 places.



Grand National Betting Guide Q & A

When is the Big Race?

In 2018 the Grand National is due to start at 5.15pm on April 14th.

Where is Grand National staged?

As it has every year since 1839 (apart from 1916, 1917, 1918 when it was staged at Gatwick racecourse) the Grand National will be held at Aintree Racecourse five miles north of Liverpool city centre.

Where Can I Watch the Grand National?

The race will be broadcast live on ITV, in betting shops and with your online bookmakers – albeit you may need to place a small qualifying Grand National bet (normally £1 or more) to watch it online.

What is a Grand National ‘Fixed Odds’ bet?

Backing a Grand National runner at ‘fixed odds’ simply means you have a guaranteed rate of return (a set price). If you do not take a fixed-price your wager will be settled at SP (Starting Price).

What is a Starting Price?

An SP (Starting Price) is the odds that a horse is trading at when the race starts.  Every horse in every race will ultimately have an official SP.

How Does an Each-Way Bet Work?

An ‘each-way’ bet is a two-part bet with your stakes divided evenly between winning and achieving a ‘place’ position.  If your horse wins, you will be paid out both parts of the bet.

The odds of return on the place part of the bet is normally a quarter of the win odds meaning a 16/1 shot who is placed will be calculated as a 4/1 shot.  So, a £1 each-way bet (which will cost £2 to place) on a 16/1 shot that wins will return £16 for the win part of the bet and £4 for the place part of the wager.  Your stakes are also refunded meaning you will receive £22 back. If that horse is only placed, your return will be £5 (£1 at a quarter of 16/1).

Who is going to win the 2018 Grand National?

Richard Johnson is set to take his twenty-first ride in the Grand National this year. It will mean he has had the more rides in the race than any jockey in history. Unsuccessful in 20 previous attempts, we don’t see any good reason for his luck to change.

Trawling through the Grand National stats we will be looking for a nine-year-old who is not grey, not ridden by Richard Johnson, that has previously won a valuable chase race over three-miles or more and is carrying a weight between 10st-5lb and 11st-5lb.

We hoped you found our Grand National Betting Guide page useful, please feel free to leave your comments or questions below.