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Grand National Betting Markets Explained

The Grand National is the biggest betting event in the UK and one of the largest in the world. It is estimated that roughly half of the UK’s adult population place a bet on the race each year betting in excess of £300 million on the steeplechase race.

Here at we offer all the betting markets you could possibly need to back a horse or two in the Grand National. With so many horses and bet types to choose from, it is possible to build an advanced betting strategy that will give you the best possible chance of placing a winning bet.

Different Types of Grand National Bets

If you are new to horseracing betting, you may think that your only option is to bet on which horse will win the Grand National. However, there are many more options and by using them carefully, you can somewhat reduce your risk.

Types of Straight Bets

A straight bet is a wager that is placed on one horse. There are different types of straight bets and here we will lead you through the choices. The first is a ‘win’ where you are simply backing the horse to win the Grand National.

If you fancy a horse but you are not 100% sure it will win, then you can make a ‘place’ bet. Here you will win if your horse will finish in first or second place. However, as the bet has less exposure to risk, expect the odds to be lower than a straight win.

Odds will again be reduced but winning chances increase if you go for a ‘show’ bet where you are backing the horse to finish in a top three position. You can go one further and select a straight ‘across the board’ bet, also known as a combo straight wager. Here you will have all the prior options, win, place and show rolled into one bet. Basically, you are making three different bets all rolled into one. The stake will be higher so if you make a £2 bet it will cost you £6 in total. Third placed horse wins the show bet, second place the show and place bets and a winner returns all three bets.

A similar bet type to across the board is ‘win place, place show’. This is not one bet but a combination of multiple bets. The place show means a second placed horse will win you both bets whereas third place wins only the show. Similar logic prevails for a win place bet. A first placed horse wins you both bets and second position only the place bet.

What are Exotic Bets?

Exotic bets can potentially bring a bigger win from the money staked, which of course means that the odds are bigger and the risk is greater. Exotic bets allow you to bet on more than one horse, in some cases similar to accumulators.

The ‘daily double’ or ‘pick 3’ respectively means you have to pick two or three winners in consecutive races, very much like a football accumulator where you may pick a number of teams to win their matches. While you are unlikely to use this with the Grand National, you may use it for some of the other races on the day’s race card.

You can also place bets on the exact placings of horses in a race. This can be done from a minimum of two horses up to a maximum of four horses. In each instance the placed bet specifies the exact order each horse will finish. Selecting the first four horses is known as a ‘superfecta bet’. Selecting the exact finishing position of the first three is known as ‘trifecta’ and choosing first and second place is an ‘exacta’. A ‘quinella’ bet is placed on two horses that you will expect to finish first or second. No matter in which order they pass the finishing post you will win the bet.

With the exacta, quinella, trifecta and superfecta bets it is possible to ‘box’ them. Boxing the bet increases the stake but it will mean you will still win if the chosen horses finish within the placings, but in any order.

Things to Look Out for when Placing a Grand National Bet

The Training Stables and Trainers

Owners select trainers that they think will help to maximise the conditioning of their horse. Some trainers are more recognised and sometimes trainers have better records at some venues than others. There are a number of trainers notable for their success at the Grand National. The more successful a trainer is, the more horses they will have to manage and sometimes the best trainers enter more than one horse into a race. At events with large race cards, trainers will help to select and enter the horse that is best suited to the conditions, length of the course and fences.

The Influence of the Jockey

Sometimes the jockey and horse are just made for each other creating a successful partnership. There are jockeys that may really love racing at a particular venue, for example, Ruby Walsh won 59 times at the Cheltenham Festival. Prestbury Park must have been one of his favourite places to race. Keeping an eye on which jockey is riding which horse needs to be closely followed as it can potentially increase or decrease the chances of a win.

Race Conditions and the Course

The performance of a horse can vary dependant on the ground conditions under foot. You may often hear commentators confirming the conditions as ‘good to soft’ or ‘good to firm’. Horses may be used to training in particular conditions and may arrive on race day with an advantage, if the conditions suit. Checking the form of a horse over certain course conditions can give an idea if it will run well.

The Horse

Probably, you will find yourself paying most attention to the horse, which is not such a bad thing when considering where you want to place your bet. Researching the horse’s form is paramount when deciding if it is a goer for the Grand National.

It does not take long to look at the form guide of a horse. You can quickly learn about their recent races, how they performed, by what distance did they win or how far they were from the leader. You may also note some of the other horses they were running against in case the same names appear in the same race on the race card. It can be possible to see if they have raced at the venue before.

There is plenty of information to research including recent placings and rating figures. The media is also awash with information and write ups about horses and races from knowledgeable journalists or former professionals within the sport.

There are a huge number of runners in the Grand National, so researching them all is quite an undertaking. However, the more research you are able to do, the better your chances will be. On the other hand, there can never be any guarantees, especially in a race like the Grand National, which is notoriously unpredictable. That is why it is sometimes best to make use of the different types of bets explained above. You can cover many different eventualities and hopefully, at least one of your bets will win.

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