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Grand National horses: How do you pick yours?

| 10.04.2015

It may not be the biggest event of the calendar as far as racing aficionados are concerned but there is no doubting that the Grand National captures the public’s imagination more than any other.

The Aintree spectacular attracts attention from everyone from prolific punters to those who reserve their betting activity solely for this day and with such an eclectic mix of interested parties the way horses are chosen differs greatly.

Here are the strategies (or lack thereof) we think people use most. Read on and let us know how you’ll be approaching the Grand National on Saturday.


The obvious choice for those who have more than one bet a year. Everyone knows that the Grand National is the FA Cup final of horse races where form can go out the window. But you’d kick yourself for not having a least a little bit of action on the horse in the best nick approaching the big day.

The Druids Nephew (14/1) was a good winner at Cheltenham and Balthazar King (9/1), while out of action since November, has won on six of his last eight starts.


Some people are derided for just looking down the running order and picking out the silks that catch their eye but there may be a method to their madness.

Of the last 20 winners some 16 have worn either green or white, do with that stat what you will!


Everyone knows someone who has backed the winner purely because they liked the name but those liking nags with human-sounding names should be wary. Monty’s Pass and BobbyJo are the only two of that ilk to have won in the last 20 years!


Serious racing fans all have a favourite jockey, with AP McCoy and Ruby Walsh the most obvious choices over recent years. The former’s imminent retirement has plenty of fans dreaming of a fairytale win for the 19-time Champion Jockey who rides favourite Shutthefrontdoor (7/1) this time round.


Pretty much everyone has a lucky or favourite number with four and seven the most common. This could lead to picks for number four Rocky Creek at 9/1 or number seven Shutthefrontdoor but there are trends to bear in mind.

In the last 25 years the numbers six and 10 have proven the most prolific, with three wins apiece since 1990. This should lead some to include Balthazar King (9/1) and Spring Heeled (20/1) in their thinking.


Of the trainers involved this year there are three obvious names that stand out. Paul Nicholls (119 winners), David Pipe (113) and Jonjo O’Niell (97) have had the most winners and while this is largely down to the number of runners they have had one in particular still boasts an impressive strike rate.

O’Neill may have the jolly in Shutthefrontdoor but at just 16.25 per cent for the season punters may think twice.

Pipe, who has struck 20.93 per cent this term rests his hopes with 20/1 pick Soll but Nicholls, whose strike rate reads 25.11 per cent, could have the last laugh with Rocky Creek.

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All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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James Curtis

After studying for a degree in journalism and gaining his NCTJ, James contributed to a wide range of papers, online publications and broadcasters including the South London Press, Press Association and Sky Sports News before joining the Ladbrokes News team.