Grand National Tips

Ultimate Guide to Betting on the Grand National 2024: Tips, Odds and Predictions

Grand National fence
Check out our ultimate guide to the 2024 Grand National

With the Aintree Grand National just around the corner Mike Norman has put together his ultimate guide, providing you with everything you'll need to know about the world's most famous steeplechase...


The 2024 Grand National Festival

The Aintree Grand National Festival is a three-day horse racing meeting regarded as one of the highlights in the National Hunt calendar that culminates with the most famous steeplechase in the world, the Grand National.

It takes place annually in the middle of April at Aintree Racecourse in Liverpool, with this year's Grand National Festival commencing on Thursday 11 April and lasting for three days up to Saturday 13 April.

There are 21 Aintree races in total with each of the three days consisting of seven races, with the first race on Thursday and Friday commencing at 13:45, and the first race on Grand National day (Saturday) commencing at 13:20.

The feature race of the meeting, the 2024 Aintree Grand National, has a new time slot for this year and will commence at 16:00 on Saturday.


How to watch the Grand National Festival

ITV Racing will show five races each day with their coverage starting on ITV1 after the first race on Thursday and Friday and finishing before the final race, while on Saturday they will show the first five races of the day.

The Grand National itself will be shown live on ITV1 at 16:00 on Saturday 13 April.

Alternatively, every race of the Grand National festival can be watched live on Racing UK, a subscription paid service, or if you're out and about and have a Betfair account you can watch every single race for free by logging into your account on either laptop, tablet or mobile.


The 2024 Grand National Festival HUB

If you're looking for Grand National tips, pointers for a specific day or to back ante-post, visit our Grand National 2024 HUB where you'll find insight, previews, tipping columns and much more in the lead up to, and during the 2024 Grand National Festival.


NRMB on the 2024 Grand National

The Betfair Sportsbook are now Non-Runner Money-Back on this year's Grand National, so should you have a bet in the race now, and your horse becomes a non-runner, then you will receive your money back as cash.


The Grand National - A brief history

Founded by William Lynn on land he leased in Aintree, the Grand National is just shy of 200-years-old, though there is much debate as to which year the race was first staged.

Leading published historians state that the first running of the Grand National took place in 1836 and was won by The Duke, and the race was run again in 1837 and 1838. However, calls for these three races to be included in record books have been unsuccessful.

Lottery won the first official Grand National in 1839 (then called the Grand Liverpool Steeplechase), and his winning time of 14:53 is still the slowest on record.

In 1851 Abd-El-Kader becomes the first horse to win the race for a second time, and win the race in consecutive years. Just seven horses have won the Grand National on at least two occasions.

For three consecutive years (1916-1918) the Grand National wasn't staged because of the First World War, though an alternative race was run at Gatwick Racecourse, the first in 1916 being called the Racecourse Association Steeplechase, and the two others being called the War National Steeplechase.

In 1928 jockey William Dutton won the race on 100/1101.00 outsider Tipperary Tim after another jockey had earlier said to him, "Billy boy, you'll only win if all the others fall down". This turned out to be true as in very misty conditions 41 of the 42 runners fell. One eventually remounted meaning that just two horses finished that year's Grand National, the fewest ever.

The Grand National rose to prominence in Ireland during the 1950s when Irish-trainer Vincent O'Brien won the race for three consecutive years (1953-55). He remains the only trainer to win the race three years running.

The 1967 Grand National remains one of the most memorable on record after a pile up at the seventh fence on the second circuit (23rd obstacle of the race) caused almost all the jockeys to either fall or dismount from their horse.

Foinavon, a 100/1101.00 outsider and ridden by John Buckingham, was so far behind that both horse and jockey had time to manouvere around the carnage and clear the fence.

Foinavon established a huge lead, and although some of the unseated jockeys remounted and made up ground on the leader, none of them could catch the eventual winner. Not surprisingly, the seventh fence is now known as the Foinavon fence.

The 1970s will forever be synonymous with the Grand National because of the exploits of Red Rum, the only horse ever to win the race three times.

Trained by Ginger McCain, Red Rum won the race in both 1973 and 1974, and he came back at the age of 12 to win the race for a third time in 1977. 'Rummy' is regarded as the horse that saved the Grand National after its popularity and attendances dipped during that particular decade.

In 1975 the Grand National received sponsorship for the first time with the News of the World becoming the first official sponsors of the race.

The Grand National has had seven subsequent sponsors: The Sun (1978 & 1980-83), Colt Car Company (1979), Seagram (1984-91), Martell (1992-2004), John Smith's (2005-13), Crabbie's (2014-16) and Randox Health (2017-).

In 1981 the Grand National witnessed one of its most emotional winners when jockey Bob Champion rode Aldaniti to a popular success.

Two years prior to the race Champion had been given just months to live due to having testicular cancer, while Aldaniti suffered chronic leg problems. The duo raced to an emotional success, beating the strongly-fancied Spartan Missile by over four lengths, with the story being re-created in the 1984 film Champions.

The Grand National rose in popularity again during the 1980s with Jenny Pitman becoming the first female trainer to win the race when Corbiere won the 1983 renewal.

Pitman became well known for her love of horses and was visibly distraught when, in 1997, the race had to be postponed due to a bomb scare. That year's Grand National was raced two days later on the Monday.

Pitman also trained the winner of 'the race that never was' in 1993 when Esha Ness crossed the finishing line in first. However, the race was subsequently declared void following a false start in which only nine of the 39 jockeys realised the race hadn't officially started.

In 2019 the diminutive Tiger Roll became the first Irish-trained horse to win the race on two occasions, and following a Virtual Grand National in 2020 due to the Covid pandemic, Ireland had more success when in 2021 Betfair Ambassador Rachael Blackmore became the first female jockey to ride the winner of the Grand National.

*Timeline of significant events

1836 - The Duke wins the first 'unofficial' Grand National
1839 - Lottery wins the first official Grand National
1851 - Abd-El-Kader becomes first horse to win consecutive renewals
1853 - Oldest ever winner of the Grand National, 15yo Peter Simple
1870 - Winning-most jockey George Stevens wins the race for the fifth time
1919 - Poethlyn wins the race at 11/43.75, the shortest-priced winner
1928 - Just two horses finish the race, the fewest ever
1929 - The largest field of any Grand National, 66 runners start the race
1938 - Youngest ever winning-jockey, Bruce Hobbs wins at 17yo
1955 - Vincent O'Brien trains the winner for third consecutive year
1956 - Devon Loch loses race by doing 'air-jump' yards from finishing line
1967 - Foinavon wins at 100/1101.00 after most of the field dismount at 23rd fence
1975 - Grand National sponsored for the first time (News of the World)
1977 - Red Rum wins the Grand National for a record-breaking third time
1981 - Bob Champion recovers from cancer to win the race on Aldaniti
1983 - Jenny Pitman becomes the first female trainer to win the race
1990 - Fastest ever winner of the Grand National - Mr Frisk (8m:47.8s)
1993 - Esha Ness wins the race that never was (void race)
1997 - Raced on a Monday after bomb scare postponed the race for 48 hours
2019 - Tiger Roll becomes first Irish-trained two-time winner of the race
2020 - Race replaced by Virtual Grand National due to Covid pandemic
2021 - Rachael Blackmore becomes first female jockey to win the race


Grand National - Map of the Course

The Grand National course at Aintree is one of the most famous courses in the world, with a full circuit measuring just over two miles and consisting of 16 obstacles.

The Grand National requires horses to complete almost two full circuits (the bend after the finishing line is only raced over once) with 30 obstacles to be jumped over an official distance of 4m2f74y.

On the first circuit all 16 obstacles are jumped (1-16 on the map below) which includes obstacles 15 (The Chair) and 16 (Water Jump), which aren't required to be jumped on the second circuit. Obstacles 1-14 are jumped twice, meaning they become obstacles 17-30 on the final circuit.

GrandNationalMap.JPG

The Chair (15) is the largest obstacle on the course and is jumped directly in front of the grandstand, offering racegoers an exhilarating jumping spectacle.

Becher's Brook (6 & 22) is arguably the most difficult obstacle on the course because of not only its height, but also that the landing side can be up to 10 inches lower than the take off side.

The Canal Turn (8 & 24) is the furthest obstacle away from the grandstand and is positioned directly before a 90 degree left turn, meaning that jockeys have to position their horses at the fence at an angle, so that they can take in the sharp turn without losing too much ground.

Valentine's Brook (9 & 25) is another tough obstacle that requires a good jump, while the smallest obstacle on the circuit, Foianavon (7 & 23), was given the name in 1984 following the incident-packed 1967 renewal which was won by the horse of the same name after a melee at the fence caused many riders to fall or unseat.

The Grand National course has one of the longest run-ins from the final fence to the finish line of any National Hunt race, and measures just shy of 500 yards.

Half-way up the run-in jockeys aboard tired horses have to be wary of the elbow, the name given to the part of the track where the width of the run-in is dramatically narrowed.


Grand National 2024 Runner-by-Runner Guide

Betfair tipster Daryl Carter has put together his in-depth runner-by-runner guide to this year's Grand National, which which you can check out in full here.

Here's what you can expect to see as Daryl analyses four of this year's leading contenders:

Corach Rambler - 4/15.00

Last year's winner will look to emulate Tiger Roll and the great Red Rum by winning back-to-back Grand Nationals. Prominent in this betting after an excellent third in the Cheltenham Gold Cup in what was thought to have been his preparation for this race.

He is a horse with an outstanding spring record, with form figures in March or April reading 31111, and the 10-year-old holds strong claims again despite being rated 13lbs higher than his excellent victory in this race last year.

However, the negatives are relatively easy to find on this second attempt for those who want to take on the head of the market.

Eight of the last 11 winners were aged between seven and nine, and no horse had been older since Pineau De Re in 2014. At the same time, he finished exhausted in the grueling, hard-paced Cheltenham Gold Cup, which may have left a mark, and while he is almost certainly a good place bet, he may find one or two others better treated at the weights.

Admirable horse and a big player.

Corach Rambler.jpg

I Am Maximus - 8/19.00

Willie Mullins' I Am Maximus shot to the head of this market after a 14-length victory over 2023 Grand National runner-up Vanillier at Fairyhouse last month. This dour stayer may relish this Aintree test. He will tackle these National fences for the first time in his career, and the lightly raced 2023 Irish Grand National winner can not be dismissed easily.

It may be concerning for his backers that all of his victories since a Maiden Hurdle at Newbury in 2021 have come at his favoured Fairyhouse. He hasn't replicated that form anywhere else, suffering heavy defeats in five attempts.

Likeable but overbet at this stage.

Vanillier - 8/19.00

Vanillier was caught too far off the pace when runner-up in last year's Grand National but finished with a powerful kick to close on the winner Corach Rambler, to whom he had allowed too much rope.

He made up significant ground to be beaten under three lengths, and this year, Vanillier is only four pounds higher in the handicap and has a nine-pound swing with Corach Rambler.

Gavin Cromwell has had remarkable success in Britain this year, particularly with staying chasers, with six winners and three seconds from 20 runners over 2m7f plus at the time of writing.

There has only been one race in sight for Vanillier for the last 12 months, evident by having had three runs over trips too short of 2m, 2m4f and 2m5f, before his heavy defeat to I Am Maximus so he shouldn't be judged too harshly on that and a quiet preparation for his sole seasonal target could just be what the doctor ordered. Huge player.

Meetingofthewaters - 12/113.00

Powerhouse owner JP McManus had recently purchased Meetingofthewaters and ran a screamer in the owners' colours at the first time of asking when catching the eye in the Ultima Handicap at the Cheltenham Festival.

Willie Mullins' lightly raced seven-year-old is highly progressive and was seen to good effect to win the Paddy Power Listed Chase at Leopardstown in December.

His jumping can be a cause for concern, but he stays well. Four of the last five Grand National winners and eight of the last 16 have come from the Cheltenham Festival.

He will be even more interesting should the hood worn the last twice be removed and this young improver is impossible to write off with strong each-way claims.


Betting on the Grand National Festival

There are many ways you can bet on the 2024 Grand National and the festival's other races, either on the Betfair Exchange or on the Betfair Sportsbook, with the most popular and traditional way being to back via either win or each-way bets.

Seven of the 2024 Grand National Festival races are now priced up for ante-post purposes on the Betfair Sportsbook, with anyone doing so now receiving the Non Runner Money Back concession if having an early bet on the Grand National itself.

The 'day of the race' markets typically appear around 48 hours before racing should you want to wait until the final declarations (runners and riders) are known.


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And you don't just have to back singles. You can include more than one selection in what is called a multiple.

A selection in two different races combined in a multiple is called a double, three races it's a treble, and four or more races is often referred to as an acca (accumulator).

You can read all about the popular bet types here.

Closer to the races Betfair will be enhancing odds on certain horses, enhancing the place terms for each-way betting on some races (6 places paid instead of 4 for example), and providing plenty of 'specials' which can include a boosted price for a jockey to ride 2+ winners, or a horse to win by over 5 lengths, among many other specials.

Betfair Sportsbook Specials can be found here, while Exchange Specials can be found here.


Grand National Festival Day-by-Day Schedule


Day 1 Races - Opening Day

13:45 - 2m4f Novices' Chase (Grade 1)
14:20 - 2m1f 4yo Juvenile Hurdle (Grade 1)
14:55 - 3m1f Aintree Bowl (Grade 1)
15:30 - 2m4f Aintree Hurdle (Grade 1)
16:05 - 2m5f Foxhunters' Open Hunters' Chase
16:40 - 2m Red Rum Handicap Chase (Grade 3)
17:15 - 2m1f Mares' NH Flat Race(Grade2)

Unlike last month's Cheltenham Festival there is no early entry stage for most of the Grand National Festival's races, so we won't know which horses are likely to run until the five-day declaration stage before the final fields are declared at the 48-hour stage.

However, the Betfair Sportsbook have priced up three of the opening day's races for ante-post purposes.

The Grade 1 Aintree Bowl at 14:55 is a race that will feature some of the best chasers in the country, many of which will have run previously in the Cheltenham Gold Cup or Ryanair Chase.

Gerri Colombe, runner up in last month's Cheltenham Gold Cup, heads the market currently, just ahead of the multiple Grade 1 winner Shishkin who won this race 12 months ago.

The Grade 1 Aintree Hurdle at 15:30 is a fascinating race in that it can bring together some of the very best hurdlers from both the 2m and 3m divisions.

Irish Point, runner-up in the 2m Champion Hurdle last month but at one point considered for the 3m Stayers' Hurdle, heads the market ahead of multiple 2m4f winner Bob Olinger.

The final race to be priced up on the opening day is the Foxhunters Chae at 16:05.

This is a race that is contested on the Grand National course and is one for amateur jockeys that brings together the best Hunter Chasers from the UK and Ireland.

Runner-up in the Cheltenham Hunter Chase, It's On The Line, is the early market leader ahead of last year's winner of the Foxhunters, Famous Clermont.


Day 2 Races - Ladies Day

13:45 - 3m1f Novices' Chase (Grade 1)
14:20 - 2m4f Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3)
14:55 - 2m½f Top Novices' Hurdle (Grade 1)
15:30 - 2m4f Melling Chase (Grade 1)
16:05 - 2m5f Topham Handicap Chase
16:40 - 3m½f Sefton Novices' Hurdle (Grade 1)
17:15 - 2m½f Handicap Hurdle

The Grade 1 Melling Chase at 15:30 is the first race priced-up on the second day of the Grand National Festival.

This is a contest that can bring together a mix of top class 2m chasers moving up in trip, some of the very best 3m chasers coming down in trip, or horses good enough to run at the highest level at around 2m4f already.

Horses thought good enough to contest a Champion Chase, like El Fabiolo and Jonbon, are prominent in the market along with the first and second from last month's Ryanair Chase, Protektorat and Envoi Allen.

The Topham Handicap Chase at 16:05 is the other race priced-up for ante-post purposes on the second day of the meeting, and it' a first chance for professional jockeys to have a ride around the Grand National course.

It's an ultra-competitive handicap that has a history of producing big-price winners, and with this year's contest being 7/18.00 the field, there's a chance that another outsider could take the prize.


Day 3 Races - Grand National Day

13:20 - 3m½f Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3)
13:55 - 2m4f Turners Mersey Novices' Hurdle (Grade 1)
14:30 - 3m1f Handicap Chase (Grade 3)
15:05 - 3m½f Liverpool Hurdle (Grade 1)
16:00 - 4m2½f The Grand National (Grade 3)
17:00 - 2m Maghull Novices' Chase (Grade 1)
17:35 - 2m1f National Hunt Flat Race (Grade 2)

The Betfair Sportsbook have priced-up the race that precedes the 2024 Grand National, the Grade 1 Liverpool Hurdle at 15:05.

This is a contest that can often be a re-run of the Stayers' Hurdle at Cheltenham, and we have the winner of that particular race, Teahupoo, heading the market that also includes horses that ran in the Stayers' Hurdle, like Flooring Porter, Buddy One, Crambo and Home By The Lee.

So now we move on to the big one, the feature race of the meeting, the 2024 Grand National at 16:00.

There isn't much more we can say that hasn't already been said, so the only matter outstanding is to point you in the direction of some tips...


2024 Grand National Tips and Insight

When it comes to providing previews, tips and insight ahead of the 2024 Grand National Festival we believe at Betfair we offer unrivalled coverage.

When it comes to insight, Betfair Ambassadors Paul Nicholls and Rachael Blackmore will provide full, in-depth analysis of their intended runners and rides for all three days of the festival.

Unfortunately Paul won't have a runner in the Grand National itself but he has some very exciting runners across three three days, so be sure to check his previews that will be on betting.betfair the morning before each day.

Ahead of those however, Paul has provided us with a mini stable tour of all his intended Aintree runners. You can read it here.

With Henry De Bromhead having multiple entries in the Grand National it hasn't been confirmed which horse Rachael will ride in the big race, but like Paul, her previews of her daily rides will be on site approximately 36 hours in advance.

We already have some ante-post tips for this year's Grand National in the 2024 Grand National HUB, including Tony Calvin and Dary Carter's early thoughts on the race, and we will also have in-depth previews from our top tipsters the day before the Grand National.

As well as tips from Tony and Daryl we will have Kevin Blake providing his Big Race Verdict on the Grand National, while Timeform will provide their own exclusive previews for all three days of the meeting.

Aintree runners at fence 1280.jpg

Of course, there's nothing to stop you from having a bet on the 2024 Grand National now, safe in the knowledge that you'll get your money back should your selection become a non-runner.

If you do so then I believe you can do a lot worse than to back last year's runner-up Vanillier to go one better.

He was given a lot to do 12 months ago, being held-up out the back before making steady progress during the latter part of the race. He jumped the last some 12 lengths adrift of winner Corach Rambler, but ran on strongly to be beaten just over two lengths.

Vanillier has been brought along steadily this season, running in three races he had little chance of being competitive in - presumably to maintain his fitness - before running a very respectable race when runner-up in the Bobbyjo Chase six weeks ago.

That looks to have been a perfect prep run ahead of another tilt at the Grand National, and purely on last year's form he has every chance of reversing the form with Corach Rambler on 9lb better terms.

Now that we know he stays, and with experience of the race, I fully expect Vanillier to be ridden with more confidence, and providing he puts in a clear round of jumping it's hard to envisage him not being in the frame at least.

Back Vanillier E/W, 5 Places, in the 2024 Grand National @ 8/19.00 (NRMB)

Bet here

Rachael Blackmore's Serial Winner Charity Fund

Betfair is challenging the brilliant Rachael Blackmore to raise up to £250,000 for two racing charities by doing what she does best - winning horse races.

On Saturday 25 November (Betfair Chase day) Betfair launched the Serial Winners Fund with an initial £100,000 donation.

Since then Betfair have been adding £5,000 to the pot for every winner Rachael has had (£10,000 each for her two Cheltenham Festival winners) and will do so up until the Grand National on April 13.

The cause is great and the chances of Rachael reaching her target are good. Over the last five years, Rachael has ridden an average of 30 winners during the same period.



Proceeds will be shared evenly between the two charities that make a major difference to the lives of jockeys in both the UK and Ireland, the Injured Jockeys Fund and Irish Injured Jockeys.

The Injured Jockey's Fund has helped more than 1,000 jockeys and their families since 1964, distributing more than £20 million, and Betfair's donation will help fund continue their great work.

Betfair Ambassador Rachael Blackmore said: "This is a very generous initiative from Betfair and one that I am excited to be a part of over the coming season.

"The work of IIJ and IJF is vital in providing support services for jockeys past and present. It's great to have Betfair supporting not only me, but two organisations that are so important to us as jockeys."

Watch Serial Winners: Rachael Blackmore now...




Betfair Education - Betting Explained

We understand and appreciate that not everyone betting on this year's Grand National Festival will be familiar with how it all works, and that to some new customers it may appear a bit daunting at first.

With so much information already given in this guide you might just want to jump straight in and place some bets. If that's the case, then we have you covered.

Within our excellent Betting Explained section on betting.betfair.com you will find all the educational pieces that you will need to place a bet.

You might just want to know what the simplest types of bets are available to you, or how betting odds work, and even how to place a bet on either the Betfair Sportsbook or Betfair Exchange.

Click the links below for some popular Betting Explained articles for beginners.

- What are the simplest types of bet? Click here.

- How do odds work? Click here.

- How to place a bet on the Betfair Exchange. Click here.

- How to place a bet on the Betfair Sportsbook. Click here.


Make use of Betfair Beacons

Betfair have made it easier for horse racing customers to keep track of price moves on the Betfair Exchange, meaning you'll instantly be able to see which horses are shortening in price, and which are drifting, on all 21 Grand National Festival races.

The Betfair Beacons are here to light up a more efficient era where price movement is visible immediately.

A flames Beacon will show for horses that are popular in the market and are shortening. Horses that are not popular in the market that are drifting will be marked by a snowflake (see image below).

BB1.JPG

Betfair Beacons will not provide any information that isn't already available, but they mean you will no longer need to click into runners and check price graphs to see which horses are being backed and which ones are drifting as that information is shown automatically via the fire and ice.

They will indicate which horses are attracting money in the market and which ones aren't, allowing you to make quicker and better betting choices during the 2024 Grand National Festival.


Now read more Grand National tips and previews here.


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