The Grand National Horse Racing Betting Guide 2020

Held at Aintree Racecourse, the Grand National is an annual National Hunt horse race that was first run in 1839. It is a handicap steeplechase that takes place over distance of 4 miles and 2½ furlongs that includes 30 fences and two laps.

This legendary English horse race is a notably hard race to bet on, due to the erratic nature of the toughening course and the large fences which must be hurdled by the huge field of 40 horses. It is also the race that traditionally signs off the jump season in the UK, making way for the flat and is run on the first Saturday in April each year. You can also check out our full list of bookmakers offering Non Runner No Bet as well as the Each Way Place Offerings for the Grand National.

Betting Sites We Recommend For the Grand National Horse Racing


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2021 Grand National Horse Racing Betting Odds & Tips

Unfortunately, the 2020 Grand National Horse Racing has been cancelled due to the Coronavirus outbreak. However, odds on next year's race are already out!

Grand National 2021 Outright Winner Odds

Tiger Roll20/1Bet365
Burrows Saint33/1Unibet
Vindication33/1Paddy Power
The Conditional33/1Ladbrokes
Native River50/1Betfair
Potters Corner40/1Bethard
View all the other odds at Paddy Power!

Statue of racing legend Red Rum

(Image: Aintree’s statue tribute to the best ever Red Rum | © Paul | Licence: CC BY 2.0)

Popular Grand National Horse Racing Bets

The Grand National is a race that tends to draw out casual bettors or rookie punters who do not generally like to bet the rest of the year. Of course, your regular bettor will be keen to follow along too and maybe enjoy a flutter or two but this race, in which a field of 40 horses run over the highest fences and longest distance in the game, can be a bit of a lottery so form studiers tend to prefer the Cheltenham Festival instead. Therefore, as one-off race, it makes sense to keep the bets simple.


Outright Betting

Outright betting is simply a case of backing the race’s winning horse. With the Grand National, you can study the form for hours (and read our Grand National betting tips above) to give yourself the best chance of success but the truth is this race regularly throws up long shot winners. In fact, there has been only one single figure odds winner in the last 12 years which was Comply or Die in 2008. Even Tiger Roll in 2019, going for his second win, was priced at 11/1, about as short as you can generally get. Because many “once a year” bettors come out and have a bet on the National, bookies often feel the biggest pinch when an amusingly named horse does well, even placing in this race. This tough is no route to success, such a thing cannot be guaranteed in the Grand National, it is better therefore to stick to the tips and hope for a good outcome.


Each Way Betting

To cover yourself when outright betting on the National, it is advisable to double your stake and go each way which allows your horse to place in the race. Placing means to come within a set amount of finishers from the winner. Typically, this is four runners but due to the competitive nature of online bookmaking, bookmakers will often run special promotions in which they will pay for a higher amount of places at either a 1/4 or 1/5 of the starting odds. By betting each way, bettors stand a better chance of getting some money back.



In horse racing, a forecast is where bettors pick, in the correct finishing order, the top two finishers in a race. Because of the amount of runners in a race such as the Grand National, forecasts, which are paid according to the official industry forecast return, can be extremely high and their reward is paid out to the £1. In the UK, the return is calculated using an equation that takes into account the odds of the horses involved and the number of runners in the race, which in this case is around 40.


Reverse Forecast

The each way equivalent of a forecast, in which you double your stake to allow your two horses to finish in the top two in any order. So long as they come first and second between them, your stake will payout as above.


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Grand National Horse Racing Structure

The Grand National itself is the culmination of the three-day Grand National festival and is famously one of the most difficult horse races in the world. The Aintree course is 2 ¼ miles and the huge field of runners must circle the track twice. On their way round they must make it over 30 fences, with the first 14, including the world-famous Becher’s Brook, being jumped twice, missing out fences 15 & 16 on the second lap. The home straight here is the longest run-in of any UK racecourse. Each of these fences stands over 4ft 6in high, except for the 16th which is a water jump. Over half of the horses that start the race will not make it past the finishing post. The race has been staged at Aintree race course in Liverpool since first being run in 1839.

Grand National Horse Racing History

Aintree was founded by the hotelier William Lynn who leased the land in Aintree from William Molyneux, the 2nd Earl of Sefton. In 1829, Lord Sefton laid the foundation for the course and accompanying grandstand.

The first ever Grand National at Aintree was won, quite appropriately, by a horse called Lottery in 1939. In that race, the horse Captain Becher fell at the brook to give it a name that is still in place today and is globally infamous. Back then, the horses were forced to jump a stone wall as well as travel over farmed land and navigate a double hurdle finish.

There is an argument that the Grand National actually begun three years prior to its first staging at Aintree. This, though, has largely been disregarded. From 1836 through 1838, races, known as the Grand Liverpool Steeplechase, are believed to have taken place at nearby Maghull, Merseyside, although there is evidence to suggest that those three races were also run at Aintree as racing at Maghull is believed to have ceased in 1835. For the record, the first running was in 1836 and won by The Duke. Either way, due to the confusion, the Grand National is officially recorded as beginning in 1839.

One of the main factors that helped propel the Liverpool race into a major national event was the introduction of the railway to the city in the 1830’s. The race was also boosted by the permanent cancellation of the Great St. Albans Chase in 1838, after which a committee was formed to better organise the Liverpudlian event. These factors led to a highly publicised race in 1839 with a much enhanced field of top horses and greater press coverage. In 1843, Edward Topham turned the chase into a handicap and within five years had bought the course outright. Since 2012, huge improvements, such as rebuilding fences, facilities and stables, have successfully been introduced in order to improve the welfare of horses racing at the Aintree Grand National.


Grand National Horse Racing Past Winners Since 2000

2019Tiger RollDavy RussellGordon Elliott
2018Tiger RollDavy RussellGordon Elliott
2017One For ArthurDerek FoxLucinda Russell
2016Rule The WorldDavid MullinsMouse Morris
2015Many CloudsLeighton AspellOliver Sherwood
2014Pineau de ReLeighton AspellRichard Newland
2013Auroras EncoreRyan ManiaSue Smith
2012Neptune CollongesDaryl JacobPaul Nicholls
2011BallabriggsJason MaguireDonald McCain, Jr.
2010Don't Push ItA.P. McCoyJonjo O'Neill
2009Mon MomeLiam TreadwellVenetia Williams
2008Comply or DieTimmy MurphyDavid Pipe
2007Silver BirchRobbie PowerGordon Elliott
2006NumbersixvalverdeNiall MaddenMartin Brassil
2005HedgehunterRuby WalshWillie Mullins
2004Amberleigh HouseGraham LeeGinger McCain
2003Monty’s PassBarry GeraghtyJimmy Mangan
2002BindareeJim CullotyNigel Twiston-Davies
2001Red MarauderRichard GuestNorman Mason
2000PapillonRuby WalshTed Walsh


Grand National Horse Racing Key Stats

  • No horse has competed in the Grand National more times than Manifesto who ran eight times between 1895 and 1904, winning in 1897 and 1899 and finishing third on three other occasions
  • 17-year-old Bruce Hobbs became the youngest winning jockey in 1939 in the centenary of the race
  • Hobbs won on Battleship, the smallest horse ever to win
  • Dick Saunders became the oldest winning jockey when he came in first on Grittar in 1982, aged 48
  • Jenny Pitman was the first woman to train a Grand National winner with Corbiere in 1983
  • Pitman won again with Royal Athlete in 1995
  • The least number of horses to complete the race is two, when Tipperary Tim and Billy Barton, who remounted, made it back in 1928
  • Red Rum is currently the only horse to have won three Grand Nationals in 1973, 1974 and 1977
  • This absolute legend of British horse racing also came second in the two intervening years, 1975 and 1976
  • George Stevens is the most successful Grand National jockey having won the race five times between 1856 and 1870
  • Peter Simple, aged 15, became the oldest horse to win the race in 1853



How many jumps are there in the Grand National?

The horses must successfully clear 30 fences if they want to win the Grand National.

How long is the Grand National?

The Grand National is run over 4 miles and 2½ furlongs.

How many horses start the Grand National?

A maximum of 40 horses can start the Grand National.

How many people attend the Grand National?

Over the course of the three-day meeting, around 150,000 spectators attend the event, with Saturday’s Grand National day regularly selling out.

What is the best way to bet on the Grand National?

There are plenty of ways to have fun betting on the Grand National but we recommend betting each way on the main race.


ThePuntersPage Final Say & Predictions

Taking place each year on April’s first Saturday, the Grand National is the culmination of the British national hunt season and practically ushers in the summer’s flat racing season. It is perhaps the toughest race to win in horse racing and certainly the longest in the UK. As part of the spectacular, 40 horses take on over two miles of Merseyside turf and 30 fences, knowing that only around 60% of them will make it home.

There is a reason that Red Rum’s record has stood so long and that is because it is such a ridiculously tough achievement to pull off. On that note, as much I would love to see history made and witness a Tiger Roll win, I just can’t see it happening. Instead, I am leaning more towards Pleasant Company and Burrows Saint. At a longer price, I am willing to wait and see if Poker Party prices drifts outwards but, should the market bluff us, I may be forced to move all-in on the Kerry National winner who, despite early misgivings about his ability to cope with a top-class handicap chase, is beginning to raise his game as necessary.


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