If you’re a fan of the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes or the Belmont Stakes, then you’ll know the buzz a major horse meet can attract. While horse racing is undoubtedly a major spectacle in the US, it’s an even bigger deal in the UK and every year there are few meetings that generate as much interest as the Grand National.
A jumps race that contains a mindboggling 40 runners, the National is a cacophony of thrills and spills meaning professional tipsters and casual observers are captivated in equal measure. However, as you’ll quickly come to realize when you start looking at the Grand National in more detail, picking a winner is a potential minefield.
Every year the race brings out a host of so-called “experts”; however, owing to the number of horses on the track, the process of choosing a champion isn’t easy. Although there are some things you can do in order to improve your chances of success, the first thing you need to do is understand the nuances of the race.
Kentucky Derby vs. the Grand National
Unlike events such as the Kentucky Derby, the Grand National is run on grass and instead of being 1 1/4 miles long like the Derby, the British race is a testing 4 miles. Additionally, the Kentucky Derby is a flat race that’s been described as the “most exciting two minutes in sports”, while the Grand National is a jumps contest that’s known as one of the toughest.
In fact, the number and variety of jumps in the Grand National is what separates from other races in its class. Over the course of ten minutes, some of the best horses in the world attempt to clear famous hurdles such as Becher’s Brook (5ft), Canal Turn (5ft jump on a 90-degree left turn) and The Chair (5ft 2 inches). Of those mentioned, The Chair is undoubtedly the most imposing and often catches out a number of runners.
One of the reasons why The Chair has built up such a formidable reputation is the 6ft wide ditch that precedes it. Put in place in order to slow down the horses before the testing jump, the ditch often spooks horses and causes a host of pull ups, stutters and false jumps. According to many Grand National betting experts, The Chair is where the race can be won or lost.
How to Beat the Grand National
Since launching in 1839, the Grand National has witnessed some of the finest horse racing performances in history. Standout performers such as Red Rum made their name in the Grand National and any horse that can make it across the line and claim the $1.6 million top prize is instantly considered worthy of greatness.
OK, so now you know a little bit more about the Grand National, how can you make some money from it? As we’ve mentioned, picking a winner isn’t easy. However, if you can follow these simple tips you should find that profits are easier to come by.
- Don’t Bet Too Much: It’s extremely easy to bet too much money on the Grand National because it contains so many runners. However, it’s crucial that you avoid this temptation and stick to a betting limit you can afford (known technically as bankroll management). Set aside a reasonable dollar amount and don’t go over it.
- Spread Your Bets: With 40 runners in the race it makes sense to bet on more than one. Although it’s not a good idea to bet on a large number of options, it’s a good idea to stake a reasonable amount on between three and five horses.
- Don’t Be Afraid to go Long: Bookmakers will often offer generous odds on each horse because the chances of success are low. This naturally translates into exceptional value if you can pick a winner and you shouldn’t be afraid to put down a bet on a long odds proposition because, in general, the favorite doesn’t usually win.
Although the UK’s Grand National takes place across the Atlantic, you can tune into the horse racing marvel courtesy of the BBC. Broadcasts of the event are aired to an international audience and you can soak up the action, enjoy one of the best horse races in the world and make some money at the same time.