This coming weekend sees the biggest National Hunt race of the season take place at Aintree in Liverpool. The culmination of a massive three-day festival of races, the Grand National is the one race a year where the UK goes betting crazy, with many people often having their sole bet of the year on this historic race.

With forty runners to be confirmed 48-hours before the race from a field of many more, picking a winner a week or so before the event can be tough, but it doesn’t stop many punters perusing the potential line up for a decent ante-post bet. This year’s race however could be one for the record books as there is the potential for another legendary name to be carved into the long and eminent history of this great race.

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The showpiece race at Aintree on Saturday is always one of the biggest betting days of the year and if you fancy putting on your own bets for the big race then bet365 Sport is the place to head. New customers can join using the current bet365 Sports New SignUp Bonus and once there you can head on over to the Racing section to get all the latest prices and news on the runners and riders in what is the biggest national hunt race of the season.

The question on most punters lips is whether Tiger Roll could be the first horse since the legendary Red Rum to win back-to-back Grand National races. The 2018 winner is back again this year to compete and is the clear favourite in the race, but as history has shown, being the favourite, and even a past winner, often means little in what is the ultimate test over fences for horses and jockeys.

A Brief History of the Grand National

The first official Grand National took place in 1839 and was won by a horse named Lottery. Since then there have been very few back to back winners of this great race.

The first was Abd-El-Kader who won in 1850 and 1851 and then in 1870, The Colonel completed the double, following up his win in 1869 with another a year later. Manifesto won twice in 1897 and 1899 but was beaten in 1898 by Drogheda. Indeed, it was not until 1936 that the next back to back winner occurred when Reynoldstown won his second crown, after winning in 1935.

Those three horses were then joined by arguably the greatest name in Grand National History. Red Rum, Ginger McCain’s famous runner won in both 1973 and 1974 and then incredibly finished second in both 1975 and 1976 before producing an incredible third victory in 1977 to earn legendary status with Grand National fans.

Other Grand National Facts

  • In 1929 Grand National featured the most runners with 66 horses competing. In later years this was reduced to a maximum of 40.
  • The smallest field in a Grand National race occurred in 1883 when just 10 horses competed in the race.
  • The quickest time to win the race came in 1990, when Mr Frisk completed the race in 8 minutes 47.8 seconds. In comparison, Lottery won the first ever Grand National Race in a time of 14 minutes and 53 seconds.
  • The race with the fewest number of finishers was he 1928 race when just two horses completed the race, with the winner being 100/1 shot Tipperary Tim.
  • The most number of horses to complete the race was 23, which occurred in 1984.
  • The shortest price favourite to win the race was Poethlyn, who achieved victory in 1919 at odds of 11-4.
  • The Chair is the tallest fence on the course at 5ft 2” tall. It is also the broadest fence for the horses to jump. It is so named because it used to be situated close to the seat where the distance judge would sit to watch the race.
  • Another famous fence is Becher’s Brook which is named after Captain Martin Becher, a jockey who fell from his horse at the fence and took shelter in the brook to avoid the other runners.
  • The oldest horse to win the race was Peter Simple, who won aged 15 in 1853. A number of five-year-old horses have won the race, although the most recent was Lutteur III who won way back in 1909.
  • Only three grey coloured horses have ever won the national, the most recent being Neptune Collonges who won the race in 2012.
  • The last mare to win the race was Nickel Coin, who win way back in 1951.
  • Only one jockey from the current crop of riders has won the race twice and that is Ruby Walsh who won in 2000 aboard Papillon and then again in 2005 on Hedgehunter.
  • Gigginstown House Stud, owned by Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary, has produced two of the last three winners of the race, Tiger Roll last year and Rule The World back in 2016.

Grand National 2019 Contenders

Tiger Roll (7/2)

Prior to winning last year’s race, Tiger Roll won at Cheltenham in March and after a disappointing return in November 2018, he has won at Navan and then once again landed a victory at Cheltenham, winning by an incredible 22 lengths over 3 miles 6 furlongs. He is the class act in the field and a very short priced favourite for what is always an unpredictable race.

Anibale Fly (10/1)

After a stunning second place in the Cheltenham Gold Cup back in March, the odds on French runner Anibale Fly tumbled to 10/1. That’s a short price for a horse who was fourth in last years race. His form since then has been steady, but he has improved in 2019, with two second place finishes in two races, to enhance his prospects here.

Rathvinden (10/1)

This will be the first time around Aintree for the popular Irish horse who was an impressive winner over 3 miles and a furlong at Fairyhouse back in February. Whether the Aintree atmosphere and track will suit remains to be seen but Rathvinden seems to be Willie Mullins best chance of landing his first Aintree winner since Hedgehunter’s success back in 2005.

Our Selections

I’m always wary of making selections before the 48-hour declaration for the race but the top three horses are hard to pick between. I think Anibale Fly may find things a bit tougher this time around and his lack of victories means that I am going to discount him as a winner, but he could still place in the race. Tiger Roll is the obvious pick but as we have seen, back to back winners of this race are very rare indeed, which means to me Rathvinden, if he can overcome his lack of experience around Aintree, could be the best pick of the trio.

For a decent each way bet, then Ms Parfois is currently a 25/1 shot and if they manage to secure one of the 40 spots in the race, could go well.