The 174th annual Grand National horse race will be run with a field of approximately 40 horses at the Aintree Racecourse in Liverpool, England on Saturday, April 9th. Approximately 70,000 spectators will fill the stands for the first time since 2019 as the 2020 race was canceled and last year’s edition took place behind close doors due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Minella Times is the reigning champion as Rachael Blackmore became the first female jockey to win the race last year.
The famous National Hunt handicap steeplechase has been run since 1839 over the official distance of 4 miles and 514 yards. It’s known as Europe’s most valuable jump race and is a part of British culture.
To qualify for the Grand National, horses must be at least seven years old, rated 125 or more by the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) and previously placed in a recognized steeplechase of at least three miles in length.
The race consists of two laps and a total of 16 different fences which are topped with at least 14 inches of spruce with the horses jumping the first 14 fences twice. All 16 fences are jumped on the first lap with 14 of them also being jumped during the second lap. The 15th fence is the highest at 5-feet-2-inches while the 16th fence, known as the water jump, is the lowest at 2-feet-6-inches. However, both of these fences aren’t jumped during the second lap.
For jockeys to qualify for the Grand National, they must have ridden at least 15 winners in hurdle races or chases under the Rules of the Irish National Hunt Committee and/or Rules of Racing and ridden at least 10 winners in chases.
The head of handicapping at the BHA decides which horses will be asked to carry the lightest and heaviest weights. This handicapping method is designed to give each horse a fair chance of victory. Therefore, the better horses carry more weight than the mediocre ones. The most weight a horse can carry in the race is 154 lbs with 140 being the least. The weight they carry is typically based upon the horse’s official rating however the handicapper has the final say.
The horses race-number depends on how much weight it’s carrying. For example, number one is assigned to the horse with the most weight and number 40 goes to the horse with the least amount of weight.
Grand National Trivia
The fastest winning time came in 1990 when Mr. Frisk completed the course in 8:47.80
The slowest winning time came in the first official Grand National in 1839 when Lottery took 14:53 to run the race.
The oldest winning horse was 15-year-old Peter Simple back in 1853 while the youngest winners were all five-year-olds. These were Alcibiade in 1865), Regal in (1876), Austerlitz in 1877, Empress in 1880 and Lutteur III in 1909.
The oldest jockey to win the race was 48-year-old Dick Saunders in 1982 while 17-year-old Bruce Hobbs was the youngest in 1938.
The horses with the longest odds to win the Grand National all came in at 100/1. These were Tipperary Tim in 1928, Gregalach in 1929, Caughoo in 1947, Foinavon in 1967 and Mon Mome in 2009. Meanwhile, the winner with the shortest odds was Poethlyn in 1919.
The smallest field of horses to run the race was 10 in 1883 with the largest field being 66 horses in 1929.
Since the inception of the Grand National, 13 mares of been victorious with Nickel Coin being the most recent in 1951.
The fewest horses to finish the race was just two in 1928 while the most to finish was 23 in 1984.
The jockey with the most all-time races run is Richard Johnson with 21 between 1997 and 2019 and he also holds the record for the most Grand Nationals run without ever winning one.
Let’s take a quick look at the top favorites to win this year’s Grand National
Delta Work (+900 or 9/1)
Nine-year-old Delta Work is the current favorite with the bet365 oddsmakers after winning by a nose at the Glenfarclas Chase at Cheltenham.
Any Second Now (+1000 or 10/1)
This 10-year-old finished third in last year’s race but he’ll be carrying more weight this year.
Escaria Ten (+1100 or 11/1)
This 8-year-old is a fine long-distance chaser and placed third at last year’s National Hunt Challenge Cup Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham and then ran in the Irish National. The horse came in second to
Any Second Now in February’s Bobby Chase.
Enjoy D’ Allen (+1200 or 12/1)
Eight-year-old Enjoy D’ Allen finished third at last year’s Irish Grand National and has done well so far this season by coming in third at December’s Paddy Power Chase at Leopardstown. This will be the horse’s first appearance at the Grand National.
Snow Leopardess (+1400 or 14/1)
Snow Leopardess is currently in fine form as the 10-year-old mare won the Becher Chase at Aintree. She’ll attempt to become just the 14th mare to win the event in its history.
Fiddlerontheroof (+1600 or 16/1)
Eight-year-old Fiddlerontheroof is quite consistent thanks to eight places in 10 races over fences. He placed second at last year’s Novice’s Chase at Cheltenham and was narrowly beaten in his two previous races.
Burrows Saint (+2000 or 20/1)
Burrows Saint is a 9-year-old who is trained by Willie Mullins and usually finishes his races in the top four.
Minella Times (+2500 or 25/1)
Minella times enters the race as the reigning champion but the 9-year-old will be asked to carry over 14 lbs more this year.
Run Wild Fred (+2500 or 25/1)
Run Wild Fred is an 8-year-old who finishing second at last year’s Irish Grand National. He also won the Troytown Handicap Chase and finished second at Cheltenham’s National Hunt Chase.
Mount Ida (+2500 or 25/1)
Eight-year-old Mount Ida four victories and has placed three times the mare’s last eight outings. This includes a win in Cheltenham’s Kim Muir event. However, she also finished last at the 2022 Paddy Power Mares’ Chase.
There are also some Grand National Specials available at bet365 including the weight of the winner, age of the winner, and start as favourite betting options.
For a complete list of 2022 Grand National betting odds and options please visit bet365 at https://www.bet365.com/#/AC/B2/C172/D101/E59217568/F2/P14/