Most of the British public will have a bet, a flutter or a punt on a horse in the 2021 Grand National.
Whether this is a straight win bet, each-way or in the work sweepstake, most of the general public really get into the race.
But like all big events, there are a lot of myths around the Grand National. Here are six of them that a lot of people tend to believe are true.
The Grand National Is A Lottery
Largely this is untrue. Yes, technically any runner can win the Grand National, as the handicapped system is designed to give them all an equal chance.
However, the reality is that with some well-chosen trends analysis, statistics and comprehensive form study, most of the field can be eliminated.
That leaves you with those most likely to compete and do well if they have a little luck on their side.
Therefore, reducing the field size and picking out the most likely contenders illustrates that it’s not a lottery.
Picking A Horse By Name Is More Worthwhile
There are always people who pick their horse by its name only. And sometimes they get lucky.
Examples include those who backed Rule The World in 2016 because it was their favourite Take That song. Others backed Pineau De Re because they like wine.
Some even picked Auroras Encore because it reminded them of their favourite Disney Princess. One For Arthur attracted fans who were related to somebody named Arthur.
The list of reasons is as bonkers as you can imagine.
Overall though, picking by name only is pure luck rather than judgement. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.
The Horses Ridden By The Well-known Jockeys Have The Best Chance
Top jockeys get the choice of the horse to ride from the trainer they are employed by. For example, when Ruby Walsh was the stable jockey for Willie Mullins he had his pick.
Likewise for AP McCoy when he was employed by super-owner JP McManus. With multiple runners in every Grand National, AP could pick his favourite.
But in most cases, neither actually won the race. Despite being Champion jockeys it took AP McCoy fifteen attempts before he finally won in 2010 on Don’t Push It.
Ruby Walsh had a better record winning the Grand National twice. But that was over a period of 20 years.
Richard Johnson has still never won it and yet Ryan Mania won it on his first attempt in 2013!
The Aintree Fences Are Too Big, Which Accounts For Fallers
This is one that is up for debate. The Grand National fences have undergone quite a few changes in recent years. And while reducing the size seems logical to most onlookers, it actually causes more problems than you would think.
The adrenaline of both horse and jockey means that they are travelling too fast to encounter the obstacles. Higher fences would slow the field down and probably reduce the number of accidents.
Unfortunately, the public believes the fences should be reduced, but that would mean an even faster cavalry charge and unfortunately more accidents.
Those That Finished Well Last Year Have Just As Good A Chance This Year
Weirdly, this has never been true apart from two horses – Red Rum and Tiger Roll. The weight that gets allocated to those that performed well in a previous year manages to scupper its chances of running just as well the next year.
However, some do manage a place at best but it’s often a case of waiting until the following year for a better weight allocation.
Anibale Fly is one of those horses that has previously been top weight and despite finishing two Grand Nationals has never won it.
2021 sees him run off his lowest weight in the race which could very well increase his chances of winning on his third attempt.
Cheltenham Winners Are Bound To Do Well At Aintree
Horses are like Olympic athletes where they are trained to peak at the major events. Most racehorses are at peak fitness for the Cheltenham Festival if that is their main aim for the season.
Because of the demands of the races and the recovery that is needed afterwards, it’s only natural that a horse’s fitness is on a downward curve in the weeks following such a hard race.
This is a reason as to why it’s extremely rare that a Cheltenham winner follows up by winning the Grand National.
It’s always worth siding with horses that haven’t been trained with Cheltenham in mind, or that fell at the first fence without getting a run whilst at their peak.
Hopefully, we’ve been able to dispel some of the Grand National myths. It may even save you a few quid on backing a horse that hasn’t got much chance of winning.
With a pinch of luck and some good analysis, you have a much better chance of backing a winner.