Everything you need to know about the Grand National and how to bet on it. But what exactly is the Aintree Grand National? Well, the race itself is what is called a steeplechase, meaning it’s a jump race rather than a flat race. It forms part of what is known as the British national hunt season, but it’s reach extends far beyond that island as it attracts attention from trainers, jockeys, horse racing fans and bettors – serious and casual alike – from all over the world.
Grand National Betting 2023
What is the Grand National?
The Grand National is one of the oldest and famous horse races anywhere in the world. And its reach extends beyond those simply interested in horse racing, as within the UK and Ireland at least, its reach has permeated the public at large, with Grand National betting having become a staple of cultural life.
The venue of the Grand National is the world famous Aintree racecourse in Liverpool, England, and the event is held in Aprill. The event has a maximum limit of 40 horses, all of which must contend with 30 challenging fences – some of the biggest in the sport- to claim the ultimate prize. Competed over 4 miles 514 yards ( which is just short of 7kms), it is an event that tests the skill and endurance of both the jockeys and their mounts, and throws up some of the best racing seen on the turf anywhere in the world. It has become one of the most iconic sporting events of the calendar, especially in Britain and Ireland. And the betting numbers related to the event are simply huge. In fact, it’s probably the betting event of the year for many sporting fans based in the UK. And Grand National betting Ireland is almost as big!
Grand National horses and jockeys
The Grand National has a limit of 40 horses, and even getting a place on the starting line is a major achievement for trainers and race horse owners. It’s no surprise as well that it attracts the attention of the best trainers and jockeys in the sport, and the selection criteria and regulations for getting a ride in the event are as strict as they are for any event in the global calendar. Qualifying form is not only vital for entry, but is then as a result something that can be used by excited to punters to pick their bets.
So what is the criteria we need to know ahead of the Aintree Grand National? Firstly, all qualifying horses bring what is known as an official rating into the race. How is this rating decided? Simply speaking, past results, with the better these are the higher the rating the horse will have. It’s no surprise then that a race of this prestige has a minimum qualifying rating, and in the case of the Grand National this rating is 125, and it bestowed by the British Horseracing Authority. Not only must a qualifying horse have this minimum racing, but must have finished in the first three in an officially recognised chase event (which possess a minimum qualifying distance of 2 miles and 7 and a half furlongs).
The rating that a horse brings into the Grand National is then used to calculate what is called a weight handicap – an additional load – that that the horse must carry in the race so as to even out the chances of all horses running in the event. A horse must also be the minimum age of 7 years old. And therefore it is no surprise that the ratings, subsequent handicaps and of course ages of the horses involved are catnip to those who study the form looking for an advantage in betting on the Grand National.
But it’s not just the horses that face selection criteria too. Not just any jockeys will get a ride in what is one of the most famous horse races anywhere in the world. The jockey in questions must have previous been the rider of a least 15 winners – a significant amount – and furthermore, a minimum of ten of those wins must have been achieved in a similar steeplechases event. The calibre of the jockeys, horses and trainers involved all contributes to the intrigue of the event and leads to this great Grand National betting interest.
Top 5 Grand National bookies for Irish players
So what are the best bookmakers for betting on the Grand National? Here we look at the top 5 Grand National bookies for Irish players, that is the best bookmakers available to punters living in Ireland:
This Irish bookie has a top notch horse racing book offering and includes loads of promotions and dedicated bonuses to further the value and excitement. Plus, Paddy Power grand national odds are always among the most competitive.
Another Irish bookie which lives and breathes horse racing. It has a host of impressive racing specials and offers as well as offering other perks such as live streaming and best odds guaranteed.
This British bookie really knows horse racing betting and has a huge variety of markets and betting options, plus top features including live streaming, stats and form and more.
Another British bookie and another with tonnes of racing options and promotions, including best odds guaranteed, extra paid places, daily Racing Post tips and even a dedicated Coral Racing Club, a free racehorse ownership club.
Loads of horse racing options (including on the Grand National of course) plus competitive odds and great dedicated apps make 22bet a top choice.
Grand National Aintree Schedule
The 2024 Aintree Grand National will again be an incredible three-day event of world-class racing.
Here’s the full schedule:
GRAND NATIONAL FESTIVAL OPENING DAY - THURSDAY 11TH APRIL
|1:45pm||The SSS Super Alloys Manifesto Novices’ Steeple Chase (Class 1) Grade 1||2m 4f|
|2:20pm||The Jewson Anniversary 4-y-o Juvenile Hurdle (Class 1) Grade 1||2m 1f|
|2:55pm||The Betway Bowl Steeple Chase (Class 1) Grade 1||3m 1f|
|3:30pm||The Betway Aintree Hurdle (Grade 1)||2m 4f|
|4:05pm||The Randox Foxhunters’ Open Hunters’ Steeple Chase||2m 5f|
|4:40pm||The Close Brothers Red Rum Handicap Steeple Chase (Class 1) Grade 3||2m|
|5:15pm||The Goffs UK Nickel Coin Mares’ Standard Open NH Flat (Grade 2)||2m 1f|
LADIES DAY - FRIDAY 12TH APRIL
|1:45pm||The 20 Years Together, Alder Hey & Aintree Handicap Hurdle (Class 1) Grade 3||2m 4f|
|2:20pm||The Betway Top Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1)||2m ½f|
|2:50pm||The Betway Mildmay Novices’ Steeple Chase (Grade 1)||3m 1f|
|3:25pm||The Marsh Steeple Chase (Registered as the Melling) (Grade 1)||2m 4f|
|4:05pm||The Randox Health Topham Steeple Chase (Grade 3)||2m 5f|
|4:40pm||The Cavani Menswear Sefton Novices’ Hurdle (Class 1) Grade 1||3m ½f|
|5:15pm||The Park Palace Ponies Handicap Hurdle (Class 2) (Conditional & Amateur Jockeys)||2m 1f|
RANDOX GRAND NATIONAL DAY - SATURDAY 13TH APRIL
|1:45pm||The EFT Construction Handicap Hurdle (Class 1) Grade 3||3m ½f|
|2:25pm||The Betway Mersey Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1)||2m 4f|
|3:00pm||The Poundland Maghull Novices’ Steeple Chase (Class 1) Grade 1||2m|
|3:35pm||The JRL Group Liverpool Hurdle (Class 1) Grade 1||3m ½f|
|4:15pm||The Betway Handicap Steeple Chase (Listed)||3m 1f|
|5:15pm||The Randox Grand National Steeple Chase (Grade 3)||4m 2½f|
|6:20pm||The Weatherbys nhstallions.co.uk Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race (Grade 2)||2m 1f|
The history of the Grand National
How has the Grand National become such an iconic event? The answer lies mostly in the incredible history surrounding this event. And it has plenty of it.
The Grand National was first run way back in 1839 and has more or less been held every year since, with a couple of exceptions. That fact makes the Grand National one of the most long-established sporting events in the world, and partly explains its fame and reputation among fans and punters alike.
The prize money available at the Grand National makes it the richest steeplechase event in all of Europe. For example, the 2017 edition of the event saw a cool £1 million in prize money handed out. And in terms of TV viewing figures, the race is said to attract between 500 million and 600 million people in more than 140 countries from around the world, making it a true global sporting event.
And that’s not all, because the Grand National betting numbers are simply staggering. It has been calculated that the 2018 event attracted stake money of more than £250 million in just the UK, with a quarter of the adult population taking a punt. That means that plenty of people who would usually never place a bet make an exception when it comes to the Grand National.
Famous Grand National winners
If you win the Grand National, your name becomes immortal. And immortality has been achieved by everyone of these legendary Gtand National winners. Here are some of the stars of the event over its long history:
A double champion in 2018 and 2019, Tiger Roll also holds the distinction of having five wins at Cheltenham too. What a horse!
Because of the unique nature of the Grand National (namely the sheer difficulty of completing the race) there have been plenty of outsiders who have come in down the years. But there are none who were as unfancied as Fionavon back in 1967. Even the horse’s owner didn’t fancy his chances, and failed to attend the race. Fionavon’s win was so iconic that he still has a fence names after him more than half a century later.
The most famous of them all. Red Rum remains the only horse to have won the Grand National three times, a feat he achieved in 1973, 1974 and 1977. The Ginger McCain-trained mount also finished as runner up in 1975 and 1976, cementing the legend further. Will there ever be a better Grand National horse? Doubtful.
The Grand National Course at Aintree
The Grand National is always run at the iconic Aintree course in Liverpool, England. It’s a notoriously difficult course filled with eye-watering jumps that plenty of horses fail to clear. Indeed, the number of fallers always makes betting on the Grand National an even trickier affair than just selecting one from 40.
It's massive too. 152,000 spectators pack in for the highlight of the British National Hunt season. Indeed, this is one of the biggest sporting events of the year in the country, and it attracts attention from all around the world. The circuit is a 4 mile 4 furling affair, making it the longest in the UK and includes infamous jumps such as Becher’s Brook – more than five feet high on the landing side. That would be the reason some of the jockeys who have tackled it have described it as like ‘jumping off the edge of the world!’ Around a fifth of all fallers in the race fail to continue after Becher’s Brook, but there are loads of other hazards too. All in all, a whopping 63% of horses fail to complete the event each year, and the most that have ever finished is the 23 that crossed the line back in 1986. That pretty much sums up this legendary Aintree course, and goes some way to explaining the difficulty and drama that the Grand National brings in equal measure. And it’s also why rank outsiders can shock the world!
Betting and the Grand National
You could say that British people like to have a bet on the Grand National, but that would be a gross understatement. It was estimated that in 2015 up to 25% of all adults in the country placed a wager of some kind on the event, which is, quite frankly, incredible. It’s definitely true to say that this is an event that has transcended the sport of horse racing and become part of the popular consciousness in the UK and arguably Ireland too where the appetite for racing and British racing is right up there. Indeed, there will always be lots of Irish representation in the event in the form of ownership, trainers and jockeys.
So we know that people love to bet on the Grand National. We know that people who don’t usually even bet might still have a flutter on this particular race. In fact, we know that people who don’t event have the slightest bit of interest in horse racing might place a little wager just to have a little fun with friends and family. And in terms of how people like to bet, it’s with no real surprise that we reveal that each way bets are the most popular, accounting for 74% of total Grand National bets. With there being 40 runners and with more than half usually not finishing, there’s often more than a little luck involved in a Grand National bet. And going each way provides a little more spread on that bet.
How to Bet on the Grand National Online
If you’d like to bet on the Grand National but have never placed a bet before, it really couldn’t be easier. Here we run through some of the simple steps involved:
- First sign up with a sports betting site. Betyou.ie provided plenty of help to make the choice easier.
- Simply click on the ‘join’ or ‘sign up’ button on the bookmaker’s page and follow the instructions.
- Enter the personal details that are required. Please note that bookmakers will often look for a proof of identity in the form of personal documents before your account becomes active or before you can make a withdrawal. This is perfectly normal and is in fact in line with current anti-money laundering legislation.
- Once active, now navigate to the horse racing section. Depending on how long it is before the Grand National is due to take place, you may need to pay a visit to the ‘futures’ or ‘ante-post’ options which offer you the possibility to place a bet on big events that are still some time away. Nearer the time the Grand National will be prominently displayed on the site and you may even find dedicated bonuses connected to the event.
- Now it’s just a case of adding your selection to your bet slip, selecting your stake, and then placing your bet.
Just one more thing. Who are some of the bookmakers that you can make a Grand National bet with? Well, there are loads of examples, including:
Betting options and betting markets at the Grand National
What are the most popular betting options and betting markets on the Grand National? Here we answer exactly that question:
To win betting
As simple as it sounds, bet on which horse you think will win the event. It’s easier said than done, of course, with 40 runners and plenty of horses likely to fall. But this is often how you get the biggest return.
To place bet
A place bet will usually meaning wagering on whether a horse will finish in the top three positions of an event, but at the Grand National that will often be extended out to four or five positions. The odds shorten on this outcome, of course.
It has been discovered that 75% of all punters like to bet each way on a horse. What does this mean? Well, it’s actually two bets in one, because you are betting on a horse to win and to place at the same time. That means also that this bet will cost you double your stake, so if you bet €5 each way, the full bet will actually cost you €10. But on the plus side you are covering yourself, because you’ll win no matter where your horse comes in the top 5, although the amount you win will depend on the positions, with a higher position returning more money.
Top 5 or top 10 finish bet
Bet on a horse to finish in the top five or top ten in what is a pretty straightforward, but potentially not very rewarding, bet.
Now you can actually place a bet after the event has started with live betting or in-play betting options. Check out what’s been happening and then place a wager based on what you see in front of you. This represents the new craze in sports betting.
Top betting sites to bet on Grand National
We’ve already looked at the top five betting sites for betting on the Grand National. Now we run an eye over some of our favourite lesser known sites that also offer great options for betting on this iconic event.
Include some of the best betting sites, including:
Plenty of markets and events to bet on, decent odds and innovative promotions make Ivibet a nice choice in terms of lesser-known betting sites for your Grand National betting.
With a nice combination of pre-events, ante-posts and live racing, Casumo also wins points for plenty of each way plus offers, which are extra places to improve the change of a return.
A really impressive racing book with events from all around the world, we think you’ll be seriously surprised by the variety you can find as well as the quality of odds on offer at Silverplay.
Grand National Betting offers
You won’t be surprised to learn that the bookies will offer a host of top Grand National betting offers in conjunction with what is one of the biggest single races anywhere in the world.
As well as all of the more standard popular bets you will find a host of specials too with the top sites. Look out for best odds guaranteed meaning that sites will match the best price on an outcome that you can find anywhere before the event starts. Others will pay extra places or even give your stake back in the form of a free bet in certain outcomes, for example if you bet ‘to win’ and your horse finishes second to the favourite. Get extra places on each way bets too, so you may get a ‘place’ beyond the usual top three or top five. These are just some of the great examples of Grand National betting offers that you will find, and many Irish bookmakers will offer similar options on Irish Grand National betting too.
Grand National Free Bets
Did you know you can get what really amount to free bets that can be used on the Grand National? That’s right, you read correctly.
How you qualify for a Grand National free can be different from bookmaker to bookmaker, but you really can take advantage of this opportunity. With some sites it may be a perk of signing up as a new customer, with others you may get it as a form of loyalty bonus. The terms and conditions can be very different too.
As well as checking out the bookmaker welcome bonus offers, in the months leading up to the Grand National, keep an eye on dedicated bonuses on the Grand National. Some of the very best betting sites, as identified here by betyou.ie, will run dedicated promotions giving incredible betting offers and some free bets on the event. Irish and UK bookies like to do this in particular as they know the draw of this event better than anyone. Some of the sites that participate in these kinds of bonuses include:
- William Hill
- And more beside
Top Grand National Free Bets for 2024
Did you know that you can get free bets on the Grand National? That’s right, with the 2024 event not too long in the future, you can start thinking about how you can get the best value bet of them all by availing of a free bet from a top sports betting site. Here are some of the ways you can do just that.
BoyleSports: A new customer exclusive of bet €10 and get €50 in free bets
22Bet: Get 100% up to €122 as a new user welcome bonus
10bet: 50% matched bonus up to €50 for new customers
PaddyPower: Bet €20 and get it back in cash if your bet loses
Bet365: Bet €10 and get €50 in free bets plus offers sporadic free bets on big events when a customer
These are just some of the offers you can avail of if you want to get what amount to free bets on the Grand National 2024.
Best Apps for betting on Grand National
At betyou.ie we love betting apps. Why? Because we see that dedicated apps for iOS and android truly do provide the best betting experience for devices. And seeing as more people access sports betting sites via mobile devices, why not get the most enhanced service?
When it comes to the Grand National, we need an operator that provides top class Grand National coverage from a top class app. And there are not so many of those operators. But here are a few we really can recommend:
Paddy Power: This top Irish site has award-winning betting apps for devices. Furthermore, it’s got a brilliant Grand National offering, with dedicated promotions and bonuses in conjunction with all the favourite PP features. And they are delivered brilliantly on the apps.
Boylesports: Likewise BoyleSports. This is another Irish operator with a top class app that can be downloaded for iOS or Android. When you’ve got it you can access one of the most comprehensive horse racing and Grand National packages out there, with dedicated promos aplenty.
Bet365: The award-winning bet365 app brings all of the favourite bet365 features including comprehensive stats and results, live streaming, promotions and more to play on the Grand National.
Grand National Live Streaming Betting Sites
Live streaming may not be the most essential thing in the world when it comes to the Grand National. Why? Because this event is screened to a massive global audience each year, so it’s pretty easy to find on the telly. However, if you are out and about, plus you like to stream the event through your bookmaker site, then it’s good to know that there are plenty of sites which offer up the chance to catch up on the action, including:
- Bet365 Grand National live streaming
- BoyleSports Grand National live streaming
- PaddyPower Grand National live streaming
- Unibet Grand National live streaming
Grand National Best Odds Guaranteed
Did you know that some sports betting sites – including the likes of Coral and BetVictor – offer you the chance to get the guaranteed best odds on the starting price on a Grand National horse? That’s right. This kind of attractive promotion means that if you spot better odds on any other site on a horse to win the Grand National, these sites, and any others offering up this kinds of promotion, will instantly match those odds. And that’s great because that means you can guarantee you will get the best value on your bet. And as any bettor knows, value is essential. When looking for Grand National 2024 odds, make sure they are best odds guaranteed.
Aintree Grand National Betting Tips
Grand National betting strategies can involve the mundane to the frankly ludricous. For example, did you know that 20% off punters will base their choice of horse on nothing more than the jockey’s colours? 40% simply look at the name!
In a race involving so many potential scenarios it’s really difficult to say which approach is best. However, with our experience at betyou.ie we can deliver some intelligent tips to help you potentially find value from the Grand National betting. Here are our Grand National top tips:
Study the form: Apparently only 12% of punters study form before placing a bet on the Grand National. Now, you need to know what the form entails of course, but you don’t need a degree in horse racing stats to use just a little guile and see which horses have potential and others nothing more than a prayer. Yes, anything can happen of course – there are no guarantees here – but doing just a little bit of digging can increase the possibility of winning, and not just based on the bookmakers’ odds.
Check out some headline stats: Did you know that more 9-year-olds win the Grand National than horses of any other age? It’s true!
Consider the best type of bet to follow: Yes you stand to win more from a ‘to win’ bet, but going each way spreads the risk. Do you want to win big or increase your chances of winning at all? These are the questions you need to consider.
Use bookmaker promotions: In terms of spreading risk, the real way to do this is to jump on some of the great offers that bookies will provide for the Grand National. Returned stakes in the form of free bets are a type of insurance, for example, and you can even avail of a good sign-up offer to get what is really a free bet on the event.
Never bet more than you can afford: The simplest buy by far the best advice you can ever get!
Cheltenham and the Grand National
What are the two most famous racing meetings in the UK?
The Grand National Festival and the Cheltenham Festival. Held in March of each year at the famous course with the same name in the west country of England, Cheltenham is a huge deal and brings in some eye-watering betting numbers. It’s feature race – the Gold Cup – can’t compete with the Grand National in terms of one-off appeal, but the four days of racing at Cheltenham perhaps beat the Grand National in terms of a festival occasion.
But other than both being famous events, what are the links between Cheltenham and the Grand National? Well, as both National Hunt affairs and considering that Cheltenham takes place just a matter of weeks before the big event in the north of England, we can often use horse form at Cheltenham as a guide to what may or may not transpire at Aintree.
One particular race at the Cheltenham Festival which has become a great proving ground for future Grand National champions is the Cross Country Chase. We need look no further than the racing superstar Tiger Roll to see that three two victories in this particular race acted as precursor to Tiger Roll’s first success in 2018, while a third win in the Cross Country in 2019 came just a month before a second success at Aintree to cement the horse’s legend.
So keep an eye on Cheltenham to see what may unfold in Liverpool just a short time after. And jump on the similar offers that the bookmakers will run for these two behemoth events of the British racing calendar.
Where can I bet on the Grand National?
Everywhere. Well, at least with pretty much any major online sports betting site. There may be a couple of exceptions globally, but pretty much every Irish and British bookmaker will offer horse racing and therefore the Grand National as part of its betting offering.
When will be the Grand National 2024 be?
The Grand National is always held in early April and the next event will not be an exception. The 2024 edition will be held at the Aintree racecourse on 11th-13th April 2024. Grand National betting 2024 odds will already start to appear in ante-post offerings.
What are popular bets on the Grand National?
The most popular bets on the Grand National include to win, each way, to place and to finish in the top five or top 10. Online betting for Grand National is one of the biggest bookmaker events of the year and so expect dedicated promotions too.
What are best odds guaranteed on the Grand National?
Some of the best bookmakers will match the best starting price that you find with any other bookmaker on a horse to win. That means you can guarantee the best return on that particular win.
How do I sign up with a bookmaker to bet on the Grand National?
Follow the simple steps in this betyou.ie guide to start betting on the Grand National.