The Aintree Grand National - A Race For Everyone
Horse races can sometimes be relevant to just a minority of the sport's followers. But if there is one race that captures the imagination of the nation more than any other, it is the Aintree Grand National.
Europe's richest jumps race has been in existence since 1839 and has provided some of the most memorable moments in the world of horse racing. The Liverpool track plays host to the famous race in April of each year, with thousands in attendance and millions viewing from home.
Everyone Has A Bet
The action on the track is not the only thing that keeps viewers glued to their screens. The Grand National is one race each year that everyone likes to have a bet on. With 40 horses in the line-up, sweepstakes between family or work colleagues are also popular ways of having an interest in the race.
When it comes to choosing to bet on the Grand National, there are many horse racing betting options on offer. The most popular is an each-way bet, where you can select a runner at big odds and receive big returns if they finish in the first five horses to complete the race.
One thing to remember is that the amount you wish to place on a horse will be doubled for an each-way bet.
"Horse racing" (CC BY 2.0) by Paolo Camera
The Race Itself
The Grand National is a thrill a minute, not just for those having a bet, but for trainers, jockeys, and even the horses themselves. This is because the race includes 40 horses each year, and these horses will be jumping some of the biggest and unique obstacles in the sport.
Some of the jumps are named after legendary horses of the past, with each posing a different test for a variety of reasons. Watch out for the 'canal turn' where the runners must jump a huge fence whilst the track turns at a ninety-degree angle.
The distance of the race also differs from the norm. The Grand National is run over 4 miles, a huge stamina test for even the best horses.
The run to the line is also unique in the Aintree showpiece. There is still a long way to the finish line for potential winners and they must also slide past the famous 'elbow' where the track takes the runners to their right in the closing stages.
"Finishing Post At Aintree" (CC BY 2.0) by Paolo Camera
How To Pick A Winner
Picking the winner, or even a horse to finish in a place in the Grand National is amongst the hardest things to do in racing. The famous race is actually a handicap, meaning each horse will carry a different weight on their backs.
Potentially the best horses will carry the most weight, so a handicap race is supposed to give every horse the same chance of winning, although this doesn't always go to plan.
The race has a history of throwing up plenty of surprise results, with horses priced at 66/1, 50/1, and even 100/1 winning in the not-so-distant past. This is proof that no bet in the Grand National is a silly one.
Things like people's favourite names, numbers, and jockey colours have all proved to be viable ways of picking a winner from time to time!