After all the excitement of Cheltenham, attention turns to the greatest steeplechase of them all. The 167th Grand National will be held at Aintree on Saturday, 5 April and it promises to be as open a race as there has been in years.
Lucky punters have benefited from some long shots winning in recent years and with online bookmaker BetBright looking to make a splash with the best Grand National odds, we look at the favourites and a few outsiders to watch in this year’s Grand National.
A record prize-fund of £1 million is on offer this year. There will be a brand-new Grand National winner this year as, unusually, there are no former winners in the race.
The ante-post favourite is Teaforthree who finished 8th in the recent Cheltenham Gold Cup and ran a brave race when third in the National in 2013. He will carry 5lb less this year than last and could certainly go well again.
There’s also been plenty of backing for the 2012 Welsh National winner Monbeg Dude, part-owned by former England rugby union captain Mike Tindall and ex-Wales fly-half Nicky Robinson.
After the horse’s fifth place finish at the Grimthorpe, trainer Michael Scudamore said: “He’s come back all happy and well. We’re happy enough with the way he ran, all things considered, and he’s all set up nicely for Aintree.”
2011 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Long Run could certainly be a challenger if he can reproduce his best form, while top weight Tidal Bay would become the oldest winner of the race since Sergeant Murphy in 1923.
Another horse with previous National form is Sunnyhillboy who was beaten by a nose by Neptune Collonges back in 2012.
In recent years, the Grand National has been particularly profitable for those punters who backed the winning horse. In the past seven years there has been a 14-1 winner, two 33-1 winners, a 66-1 winner and, of course, Mon Mome who won at 100-1 in 2009.
One of the leading outsiders is Mr Moonshine, trained by Sue Smith who won last year’s National with Auroras Encore. He ran well in his pre-race preparation at Kelso and despite being pulled up in last year’s National with four to jump, he could go well again. There’s a slight question mark over his stamina — he may be better over a shorter distance — while you have to go back almost 50 years for the last time a trainer won two consecutive Grand Nationals with different horses.
Trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies has won the Grand National twice — with Earth Summit in 1998 and Bindaree in 2002 — and his leading hope this season is Same Difference.
The 8-year-old won the Kim Muir Handicap at Cheltenham a year ago and he has been given just 4lbs more to carry on April 5. He has never won on ground worse than good to soft and so it may be worth waiting to see if there is decent ground at Aintree before backing him.
Exclusive to Horse & Hound readers, BetBright has offered a completely risk-free bet up to £20 on the Grand National. Simply place your first bet up to £20 and if it loses, you get a full cash refund — you simply can’t lose with this great offer!
The big race goes off at 4.15pm this Saturday, April 5. For all the best bets on the big race, head to over to www.betbright.com and check out the latest betting odds.
Don’t forget, they’re the only bookie paying out on the first 6 places in the race. There really is some excellent value on the table from our bookmaker of choice!
Best of luck with your bets!