For 364 days of the year horse racing bets are placed by people who either know a lot about horse racing or people who claim to know a lot about horse racing. In my experience it’s largely the latter.
The Aintree Grand National, being run this Saturday, is the one race of the year when the openly ignorant can get involved without fear of ridicule or condescension. Not that the hardcore horsey punters climb down off of their pedestals for the day, they’re simply drowned out by the sea of enthusiastic racing plebeians making their decisions based on horse names, numbers and gut instinct. Good people, my kind of people.
My esteemed colleague Aidan has already covered the winningest colours and numbers in his piece here, I’m going to tie things off by giving you a quick run-down on some of the other crucial statistics.
A Horse By Any Other Name
First up, the most crucial factor in picking your selection, the name. Boston Bob and Bob’s Worth have been kind to me over the years so don’t dismiss this “tactic”.
Going back to the very first Grand National in 1867, more winners have had a name beginning with the letter R than any other letter. 19 to be exact. There are six horses in this year’s race whose name begins with the letter R, including the current second favourite Rocky Creek.
S and M (make up your own Fifty Shades of Grey joke) are the next best with 14 Grand Nationals apiece. S looks a good bet this year with the favourite Shutthefrontdoor. There are plenty of quality Ms to choose from too with the likes of Many Clouds and Moonbeg being well fancied by people who claim know about these things.
If you’re feeling less confident about trusting your money to the name of an animal you may decide to go down the jockey route instead. If you do then our research has shown that the most common name for a winning jockey is Tom/Thomas. Toms have racked up fifteen wins over the years. Followed closely by John with thirteen wins and less closely by George with nine.
We have two Toms riding on Saturday, Tom Scudamore and Tom O’Brien. The most promising of which is Tom Scudamore who rides Soll.
A jockey named Tom riding a horse beginning with S. That’s spelling out a winner right there.
The Price Is Right
Obviously the bigger the price you get the more money you can potentially win. Going for a big price allows you to dream of champagne soaked hookers feeding you whiskey and chocolate but it should also indicate that your horse has bugger all chance of winning. When it comes to the Grand National that’s not the case.
Over the course of its history only 15% of Grand Nationals have been won by the favourite. In fact the most common winning price is a tie between 25/1 and 10/1 at thirteen apiece, followed by 20/1 with eleven.
For the dreamers amongst you there have been five winners priced at 100/1, the last of which has in 2009 when Mon Mome shocked us all. The last three winners have all been priced over 25/1 so just because the office expert dismisses the 50/1 shot you’ve plumped for don’t lose faith. Gut instincts can turn tidy profits.
If you want to leave things entirely to chance then download the famous Paddy Power Sweepstake Kit here.