With just over a month to go before one of the biggest horse racing events in the year’s calendar – the Grand National – excitement is already mounting. Although horse racing isn’t as universally popular as some other sports in the UK – such as Premier League football – there’s always plenty of interest in this, the most challenging of steeplechase races.
It’s been estimated that about a quarter of the UK’s adult population will have a flutter or two on the Grand National, and that figure doesn’t take into account all the unofficial sweepstakes that families, groups of friends or people in the pub will have on the big day. People who would never dream of having a bet on other sporting events have a different attitude for the Grand National.
Most of the people backing a horse in the Grand National will see it as a game of chance, picking the horse whose name they like best, or backing the favourite, rather than studying the form of the different horses in the field.
But, while there is always a big element of luck in the Grand National – due to the size of the field (40 at the starting line), the difficulty and number of fences to be jumped and the unknown quantity of factors such as the weather and the ground until the day of the race – there is certainly value in studying the past performances of the horses taking part. Even if you’re not a horse racing aficionado, you can still glean plenty of information by looking in the right places. For instance, by taking a look at bet365, you’ll find a wealth of information on the latest odds for the big race.
Favourite so far in the ante-post betting is Shutthefrontdoor at 9/1, followed by Rocky Creek and Balthazar King. Last year’s winner, Pineau de Re, is currently priced at around 22/1, but history suggests a second win is unlikely.
If you’re going to the Aintree Festival this year, and want to make sure you get a good view of the Grand National, then try and find a good spot to watch the action from. The West Tip enclosure is always popular as it is in line with the final fence – an ideal spot for amateur photographers to see if they can snap the winner as it crosses the line.
Of course, you’ll need a pretty powerful zoom lens! The Chair Pavilion has been extended for the 2015 Grand National – providing an extra 1500 unreserved seats for people who wish to catch some of the most thrilling action on the 4.5 mile course, as the remaining contender horses thunder down the famous home straight at Aintree.
While it’s a thrilling day out for anyone, and about 150,000 make the trip to Aintree, most people will be settling down to watch the Grand National on TV at home, which always guarantees you a great view of the racing action – from every angle. An estimated 9 million viewers will tune into Channel 4 to watch the build-up from noon before the race begins at 4.15pm.
And remember, no matter how much research you’ve done and whichever horse you’ve decided to back, you’ll still have to have luck on your side to see your horse coming home the 2015 Grand National winner.