The Grand National is a wild and unpredictable race at the best of times so just how do you pick a winner? Well, you could spend some time studying the form but if you are a once a year punter like the majority who bet on the Grand National then learning just how to do that is probably unnecessary. Instead we have provided below some alternative ways to pick the horse that is right for you.

If there is a horse listed that shares a name with a friend or family member or even someone from your favourite band then that could be the one for you. Remember it doesn’t really matter what odds the horse has been given as there have been many horses that have won on long odds.

One way to narrow your selection is to go with a ‘grey’ horse as there were only 4 greys on the line up in 2011. Now while the last grey to win was Nicolaus Silver in 1961 but King John’s Castle was runner up in 2008.

If a horse has a link to your favourite football, rugby or any other sporting team you support then pick it! It could be down to strip colour or team name or home ground. Horses such as Cappa Bleu, Becauseicouldntsee, West End Rocker or even Organisedconfusion could ring true to you.

If you look at the colours (know as silks) the Jockey wears can you find a connection? If you do then with a bit of luck the Jockey will be riding a decent horse.

There could be a horse in the line up thats speaks to your favourite activity such as ‘Seabass’ for all you anglers or alternatively for the rigidly single ‘On His Own’ and for those who have a long time partner might find significance in the horse ‘Always Right’.

This is a suggestion that may have more substance to it than you think, go with the Irish horse, trainer or jockey or if feasible, all three! With 6 out of the last 12 races having irish winners then your money is in good hands. Midnight Club or Alpha Beat could be in with a chance this year and worth having a punt.

Steer clear of the French! This isn’t racist propaganda from the BNP it is simply and observation that a French bred horse hasn’t won the National for over a hundred years. With that being said if the horse has been trained in the UK it could be in with a chance as Mon Mome was trained by Venetia Williams and won in 2008.

And if there isn’t anything amongst these suggestions then you could always stick a pin in a list of the runners.

Once you have selected your horse you should place your bet with a bookie that has a Free Bet offer (there will be conditions). Paddy Power are giving a Free 20 Pound bet if you open an account on line and stake 10 Pounds of you’re own money. It wont feel half so bad if you lose using someone else’s cash and as they pay out on the first 5 horses (instead of the traditional 4) you have a better chance of collecting some cash.

Make sure you bet ‘Each Way’ this ensures you pick up some cash even if your horse comes in as low as 4th (5th with Paddy Power).