The biggest event of the annual horse racing calendar is fast approaching, and fans of the grand National are already beginning to place their bets on their hottest picks to take the title.
Even those who aren’t big horse racing fans will have no doubt heard about this iconic event, which draws in huge crowds of affluent spectators and even the occasional royal as the action unfolds trackside. This year, it’s set to take place at the famous Aintree racecourse in Liverpool on Saturday, 9th April, and once again promises edge-of-your-seat action and plenty of glamour for VIP guests.
The annual National Hunt horse race has been running since 1869, and is a handicap steeplechase run over a distance of four miles and two-and-a-half furlongs, with 30 fences along the course in total. Often called the ultimate test of horse and rider due to its complex combination of fences and turns, the Grand National is widely considered the toughest horse race in the world, and in addition to its immense global popularity, it also offers the largest prize purse of any race in Europe, with over £1 million bestowed upon the winner.
But it’s not the only money changing hands at the event, as it’s also one of the best-loved opportunities for sports betters to enjoy a flutter, with the luckiest often winning big prize pots, too. Promoted heavily amongst all of the major bookies, it’s the perfect opportunity to have some fun and maybe even walk away with some slightly fuller pockets. Unsure where to get started? Then we’ve put together the ultimate guide.
How to bet on the Grand National
There’s no winning formula to winning bets on horse races like the Grand National. Horse racing is a thrilling market to punt on, but it requires a lot of prior knowledge if you’re looking to make some serious money rather than just have some fun, and even then, nothing is guaranteed. There’s a whole web of information that can truly make a difference including the horse’s weight, recent form, and more – and getting to grips with these vital statistics will go a long way to helping you make an educated bet as opposed to simply choosing a horse at random.
Learn to read the racecard
All the information you need about horses running the race can be found on the racecard. It’s the all-important source of information that includes the horse’s age, weight, form, rider, and many other details – so when starting your research, it’s the sensible place to begin. If you don’t know how to read the racecard, chances are that you could miss out on placing a great bet, but the good news is that you don’t need to be an expert to get the information you need, because online racecards are user-friendly and allow you to sort the columns and stream of information for an easier read.
Horses on the Grand National racecard are numbered in descending order based on rating and weight. Underneath their number is the form, which you can read from left to right, checking out how the horse has performed in its past few races. The form is followed by the age, which is also an important factor to consider when deciding which horse to bet on.
Racecards rarely differ in terms of information they offer, and mostly follow the same formula, allowing you to see if a horse you want to pick stands a chance in the Grand National – so getting to grips with them before anything else will serve you well.
Shop around for the best terms
Horse racing is amongst the top markets at major bookmakers online. All offer different odds, so don’t be tempted to put your money on the first odds you come across. Shopping around for the best terms is not just a Grand National tip – it’s a horse racing tip for all the races. Some bookies have better prices on favourite and underdog runners, and it’s always wise to hunt for the best odds to ensure you receive the best returns should you win.
Pick your winners carefully – previous runners are not a lock
Many punters make the mistake of choosing runners to win the race just because they have previous experience on the track. Sure, they might have a better chance, but you shouldn’t let this sway you entirely. Many Grand National winners have won on their debut, and age is also an important factor, because in the past decade, the Grand National winners have mostly been younger than ten, compared to the decades before.
Bit by bit, the race is turning into a young horse game, so it’s important to check the racecard to know what you’re dealing with, as this can make all the difference when you put your money down on your bet.
Don’t follow trends
Following betting trends in horse racing is about the worst thing you can do, and favouritism of major runners has rarely worked well for punters on any race, least of all the Grand National. Many Grand National winners in the past decade have been priced 20/1 or longer, so putting your money on favourites can be costly.
Once again, shopping around for the best terms is essential, so check a handful of bookies online to find the best odds on all runners. Only then you can make a bet, but without being swayed by the latest trends.
Find the best offers
When the time comes for the Grand National to take place, bookies tend to have a range of enticing offers ready to tempt you to place your bets with them. They don’t just offer odds on all the runners – they also offer special deals that go beyond Best Odds Guaranteed. In a sea of online betting sites that offer horse racing, going through them all to find the best deals and offers is essential, and if you’re confident in your skills and knowledge, you can make a nice profit from choosing some of the best.
As the race approaches, you’ll surely have a bet or a pair of favourites at the very least in mind – but you need to stay flexible as the race draws near, as certain factors can change at short notice and you’ll need to respond to things promptly in order to get the most out of your bets.
Winning a bet on a horse race is never a given, but with the right research, you can certainly improve your chances of making a profit. Not only that, but having a flutter on an iconic event such as this is all part of the fun, and with just a week left until the big day, there’s no time like the present to place your bets.
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