What will the “Once-a-year” punters back in the Grand National?
The Grand National is the biggest betting race of the year by a country mile. Well over £100 million will be bet on the National which is ten times more than the second biggest betting race of the year, The Cheltenham Gold Cup. Yet the volume of bets is not the only thing that sets the race apart.
Remarkably more than half the adult population in Britain will have a flutter on the National, most of them placing their one and only bet of the year. And given this betting shop invasion by irregular or new punters, the horse’s that attract the greatest number of bets on the Grand National are often not the favourites or the form horses, but those that appeal for a variety of other reasons. These reasons might be something catchy or meaningful about the horse’s name, a popular jockey, the colour of the silks or perhaps a celebrity owner. And for bookies it pays to try and anticipate which horses are likely to attract this mass market, and often illogical, betting support, as it helps them avoid building up massive and unexpected liabilities on those runners.
The 2014 Grand National is unusual in that very few of the runners contain a person’s name. Just Swing Bill, Chance Du Roy and Rose Of The Moon appeal on that score and Roy and Rose are hardly common names these days.
Monbeg Dude is certain to attract lots of attention in the media as it is owned by a number of high profile Rugby Union players, most notably Mike Tindall, and the link to Zara Phillips, will make him an obvious public horse. Teaforthree has a likeable name, finished third last year and is the probably favourite, so will also get plenty of betting attention by the masses but there are other less obvious horses that may get heavily bet.
Walkon does not have much of a form chance but as the first line of the Liverpool FC anthem, “You’ll never walk alone”, he will surely get heavy support by Liverpudlians and the many more that support Liverpool FC across the country, at a time when the club has a great chance of winning the Premier League title.
Mr Moonshine has a catchy name and is also trained and ridden by last year’s Grand National winning combination of Sue Smith and Ryan Mania (Aurora’s Encore), so I can see him being popular. Shakalakaboomboom’s brilliant name jumps off the page and will surely be well backed as will Double Seven by anyone for whom seven is a lucky number. The smuttier amongst the British public may go for The Package whilst the more religious may opt for Our Father, both trained by previous Grand National winning trainer David Pipe (Comply Or Die).
There are also a number of horses that are likely to go largely unbacked either by racing enthusiasts and students of the form book or by ‘once a year’ punters, and Britain’s bookies will be desperate for one of these horses to win. I can’t see any reason why the following ten horses will attract much support – Last Time D’Albain, Alvarado, Raz De Maree, Golan Way, Pineau De Re, Kruzhlinin, Lion Na Bearnai, Buckers Bridge, Quito De La Roque, Battle Group – and you can assume that a victory by any of these would be greeted by stunned silence at Aintree and in living rooms and pubs across the nation.
Simon Clare’s Grand National Selections:
For what it’s worth I’m feeling smutty and think The Package will win, with Mr Moonshine an each way alternative. Teaforthree will chase them home with Long Run staying on for fourth. In reality I’d be happy if any of my four selections makes the frame but that’s the beauty of the Grand National. It’s hard to find the winner, but if and when you do, you never forget it and you’ll dine out on it forever.
1. The Package
2. Mr Moonshine
4. Long Run