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Grand National Betting Tactics: #1 I just want a run for my money

Your best bets for finding a horse that will stay on its feet. Maybe.

by Aidan Elder | April 3, 2014

Picking the horse you want to back for the Grand National is difficult. Some people like to do the painstaking hours of research and analysis while others just rock up, throw a dart at the racecard and hope for the best. No matter what tactic you choose, there’s no guarantee of success. So in honour of the various methods people use, here’s our breakdown of the ways to pick a Grand National horse. Here’s part one of a five part series that will hopefully get you closer to landing a winner.

#1 I just want a run for my money

Also known as ‘for the love of God, please stay on your feet for a few fences at least’. Falling at the first fence is a major fear for a lot of people. Not quite as bad as the deep-rooted primal fear of getting cancer, a nuclear apocalypse or the Spice Girls releasing another album, but it’s not far off.

Having your horse fall at the first is an absolute nightmare. And to make matters worse, it’s something your friends will most likely slag you remorselessly for – as if it was your fault the horse got a bit carried away and suddenly thought he was ET on that bike.

Realistically, no-one expects to pick the winner in the Grand National, but getting a run for your money and the excuse to shout obscenities at the TV is enjoyable compensation. With that in mind, we’ve had a look at the horses running in this year’s race who’ve had a crack at the Grand National before, to see if we can rely on any of them to stay on their feet long enough to give us the deluded feeling we might actually win.


For this edition of the National, solid previous experience is harder to find than a Kanye West quote that doesn’t make him sound like a prick. There are a few snippets which might help, especially if you just want a horse to get safely around an extend your sense of false hope as long as possible.

Swing Bill counts as a veteran in the race. In his two attempts to date, he’s got around safely, bagging a commendable 10th and sixth on those occasions. He could probably do with going a bit quicker if he actually wants to win the race, but he should be a solid bet to navigate his way around safely.

On the basis of his third placed finish last year, Teaforthree has been a popular choice. He hasn’t fallen in 19 career jumps races and if you want to shout at something in the closing stages, there are worse options.

The horses with less than glittering record are in plentiful supply. The Rainbow Hunter, Tidal Bay, Colbert Station and Mr Moonshine have each had one previous attempt at the National  and their attempts to complete have been about as successful as Leonardo Di Caprio’s attempts to nail that Oscar. Keep her going lads, you’re bound to get there eventually!

Of course, in the madness of the National, all this supposed reliability can disappear quicker than you can say ‘wait a second – was that my horse who just ate a turf sandwich?’, but it’s nice to think a horse has the happy knack of getting around Aintree.




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