The Grand National remains the most popular race of the year and one that sees the betting shops packed to the rafters with customers.
Most will come away empty-handed as the bookies fill their boots with the hard-earned cash of one-off punters who like to bet on the name of a horse or other unscientific methods.
Now and again it will come off and the bookmakers will take a hit, with half of Scotland seemingly backing this year’s Scottish winner, One For Arthur.
But it remains possibly the toughest race in which to predict a winner both for the bookmakers and punters.
There are a number of reasons for this and the obvious one is the length of the race at four miles 514 yards and the height of the 30 fences at Aintree.
Form prior to a race is usually critical but it seems to go out of the window on Merseyside with so many variables – another being the number of horses in the field and the possibility of being hampered by a loose horse.
There is also little point in following the favourite as the favourite or joint-favourite has won only nine times in the post-war era.
Therefore, it does appear to be a bit of lottery for bookies to price up the runners in order to come out on top and the horse racing news at Bethut is the place to go for all the best information in the build-up to the race.
But there are a few pointers to follow when it comes to trying to pick a National winner and the weight of the horse is important.
It is best to steer clear of a horse that carries over 11st03lb in weight as they rarely win, despite recent exceptions Many Clouds (11st09lb) Neptune Collonges (11st6lb).
Only horses experienced at running over three miles or more can be expected to challenge for honours as the stamina-sapping nature of the race separates the men from the boys, while the age of the animals is also a pointer to success.
Recent winners Neptune Collonges, Auroras Encore and Pineau de Re were all aged 11, while Ballabriggs and Don't Push It were 10-year-old winners.
Five winners since 2010 have been aged 10 or more but the general consensus is that it is best to back a nine or 10-year-old in the race.
French trained horses can be ruled out as it is more than a century since one trained across the Channel took the race.
Having looked at the various aspects of the race and the way in which bookies might try to predict the winner, the one thing a horse must have in the National is luck.
All the variables might combine to give an animal a good chance but one poor jump over the unforgiving obstacles and it is all over.
Many favourites have perished when coming unstuck at the famous fences or have been taken out by another horse and the unpredictability of the steeplechase makes it so appealing to viewers.
Bookmakers will win some and lose some but, when it comes to the Grand National, there will be a lot of finger crossing and looking to the heavens as the greatest race of all gets under way.
Article Posted on Wednesday 9th August 2017 @ 13.14