Grand National Betting Guide

The Grand National is the one-horse race in the year that brings out the punter in everyone. In an often crowded field, picking the winner can feel like a lottery. But with unpredictable odds, calling it correctly could well be worth decent money.

Fortunately, the Grand National is big news for bookies, and a number of Grand National free bets and other themed promotions become available in the run-up to the meet. We’ll be keeping our ears to the ground to bring you the best promotional offers from the leading bookies, so your Grand National can be as fruitful as possible. But how do we choose Grand National betting sites and offers, and what makes our picks stand out from the field?

How We Choose our Grand National Betting Sites

We choose our recommended sites carefully, based on a number of key factors. While there are plenty of bookies out there willing to take your bets on the Grand National, they’re not all worth your while. We look for free bets offers, stake money back, the best odds and the right variety of betting markets before we’re prepared to make our recommendations. We look across the market so you can know where to go for the best deals, whether they come from a big name like Paddy Power or they are a smaller but still trustworthy source. Some bookies have more markets, others offer better odds, and some have the best free bets – we weigh up all these benefits to settle on our recommended places to bet.

How to Bet on the Grand National

  1. Choose Your Horse: Some people study form, others hang on the every word of tipsters. And some will just pick a name they like. However you choose your horse, that’s the first step on your journey to placing a bet on the Grand National. Tipsters can be a good source of expert information to inform your choice, but in our experience, it’s worth consulting more than one before making a final decision.
  2. Choose Your Bet: Are you backing the horse to win outright, each way, or to place? There are a number of different types of bets available to you, so it’s important to get to grips with what they mean for your odds, and for your corresponding chances of getting a payout.
  3. Find Free Bets & Promotions: Don’t bet until you’ve had a look for free bets and promotions. These can be a great way to reduce your risk or get enhanced odds on some outcomes – essentially, the best way to ensure you’re getting good value. And don’t worry – we can help point you in the right direction.
  4. Open Your Account: Once you’ve found the right free bets and promotions from our recommendations, it’s time to open your account and place your first deposit. Remember, there may be some restrictions in place like minimum odds, or a minimum deposit associated with claiming your free bet or bonus offer. Again, we’ve gone to great lengths to make sure you know the full score before choosing one of our recommended bets.
  5. Place Your Bet: When all your ducks (or should that be horses?) are in a row, there’s nothing left but to pull the trigger. Whether it’s a free bet, a money bet, or a combination, once you’ve chosen your horse, your bet type and your wager, it’s time to confirm your bet.

It’s pretty simple to actually place your bet on the Grand National. The real magic, of course, lies in knowing which horses to back.

2021 Grand National Line-Up – Fancied Runners

  • Cloth Cap (9-years-old) – His owner has already won 3 Grand Nationals before, and he has taken several trophies already in the past year. Though he is unproven on National courses, he is definitely a contender. 4/1
  • Any Second Now (9-years-old) – Won the Kim Muir Chase at Cheltenham in 2019. He did fall at the Irish National, but was running well at the time and has recovered exceptionally. 10/1
  • Minella Times (8-years-old) – This horse comes from the Irish stable yard of Henry De Bromhead. They have been chasing a win at the Grand National for quite some time, and this could be the horse to give it to them. 12/1
  • Burrows Saint (8-years-old) – Should he be a runner, it will be his first time in the Grand National. However, with a National win behind him on the Irish courses, this inexperience at Aintree will not hold him back. 14/1
  • Kimberlite Candy (9-years-old) – Kimberlite Candy’s performance might be affected by ground conditions on the day, as he definitely performs better on softer ground. He has been in excellent form all season, with a smattering of wins and silver places already. 12/1

The History of the Grand National

The Grand National is one of the most prestigious events in horse racing, not just in the UK but around the world. Even if people do not consider themselves to be fans of horse racing in general, many find themselves tuning in to watch the Grand National. 

Many historians debate precisely when the Grand National was founded. The first running was thought to have been in 1836, and the same horse, The Duke, won in both this inaugural year and the next. The newspapers considered the race in 1839 to be the first Grand National. In 1838, the Great St Albans Chase ran its last course. This was a major clash in the calendar with the races at Aintree, and its absence caused fans of the sport to look elsewhere for a new event. 

With railways opening across the North-West and easily connecting Liverpool with the rest of the country, Aintree proved to be a good option. The 1839 race was a brilliant showcase of the quality of the horses and their riders and helped to cement the reputation the race was building. This first official Grand National was won by a horse called Lottery and his jockey Jem Mason.

The Heritage of the Grand National

The Grand National has become an annual institution, responsible for a spike in interest in gambling markets from the general public each year. Held annually at Aintree, the event is one of the most prestigious races in the Steeplechase calendar. Famous for its fences including Beacher’s Brook and The Chair, the Grand National continues to put horse racing on the map, almost 200 years since it was first held.

These fences are much larger and more difficult than many other steeplechases you will find around the world. The turns are tighter, and the distance of the race overall all culminate in what is often thought to be one of the most challenging races that horse and rider can face together.

Betting Tips for the Grand National

Whether you have placed a bet on the races before, or you think that this year is the right one for you to place your first bet, PlayRight has some tips to help you out! 

  1. Remember that the winner is not the favourite. Many gambling sites like BetFred will put forward their horse that they think is the favourite. However, there is no guarantee that this horse will win. The race is over 5 miles long and contains 30 jumps – anything can happen!
  2. Age is a key factor to consider. Most horses that have won the Grand National so far have been aged between 8 and 11-years old. No horse that is younger than 8 has ever won. With this age comes experience and stamina, and both of these will be needed to succeed.
  3. Winners from other races might not prevail. A winner at the Grand National should have plenty of experience with steeplechase, but they should not have been over-worked recently. If a horse ran well at the Cheltenham Festival and is expected to run at the Grand National too, it is rare to see it succeed at both.
  4. Have they run the course before? The Grand National course is notoriously difficult. It needs an experienced horse and jockey working together. Those who have run the course before might find themselves at a small advantage over others.
  5. Keep an eye on the bookies. The Grand National is a very unpredictable race. A horse that might have been tipped as the favourite might suddenly find its odds suddenly slashed. These changes happen quickly, so make sure you are looking out for them!

If you’re looking for the best place to bet on the Grand National, consider PlayRight your form guide. We’ve cast our collective eye over the best Grand National Free Bet Offers from top-notch UK bookies, so all that’s left for you to do is pick your runner and place your bet!