The Grand National Meeting Favourites – how do they measure up?

We’re coming to the end of March. The next major horse racing meeting will be Aintree’s Grand National Meeting.

I thought I’d take a statistical trek through this April Aintree meeting, with a specific focus on favourites.

Over the last 10 years, in all races at Aintree in April, layers of favourites produced a 26 point profit with a 9.99% Return on Investment ( R.O.I.).

Should we maintain a focus as a layer for this upcoming Aintree Grand National Meeting?

Let’s see…


If there is a 36 furlong race this April at Aintree, back the favourite! 4 miles and 4 furlongs is the distance to look out for. 20.40 points profit to Betfair SP and a whopping 255% R.O.I.

24 furlongs is next best. That is 3 miles. 15.81 points profit to Betfair SP ( BSP) and a 40% R.O.I.

17 furlongs ( 2 mile and 1 furlongs) races are the best for the layer. 23.38 points profit laying to level stakes and an 89% R.O.I.

Remember these are across the whole Grand National meeting.

Race Type.

Think Bumper. Laying the favourites in National Hunt Flat Races in April at Aintree produced a 19.60 points profit to level stakes and 81% R.O.I.

Number of Runners.

40 runner races ( most likely the Grand National) has produced a 16.40 point profit to Betfair SP ( B.S.P.) and a 136% R.O.I. for the backer.

12 and 13 runner races are good for the backer too. 18 points BSP for these 2 .

19 runner races at Aintree in April have not seen a winning favourite yet. Note that.

And 21 runner races at Aintree in April saw only 1 winner in 21 runnings.

Favourites and their head-gear.

Look out , at Aintree in April, for favourites wearing (sheepskin) cheekpieces for the first time. Only 3 qualifiers, 1 winner, 7.18 points profit and 239% R.O.I.

Blinkers also have a 33% strike rate in only 3 occasions.

Favourites wearing tongue-ties at Aintree saw only 2 winners from 19 occasions in the last 10 years. 11.73 points profit and 61% R.O.I.


Hold-up horses have won only 31 of 163 races at Aintree in April. 16.24 points profit for the level stakes layer.

Where can I find pace information for free? Check out . Click on race cards and choose a race. Turn on the pace map and this is indicative of a leader, prominent or hold up horse. At this website, 4 and 5 would be the positions to look out for, 5 I suppose would be the ‘most’ held’up horse.

At there is a pace graph which will help you . Those horses with a shorter rating are likely hold-up horses.

Treat hold-up favourites with suspicion at Aintree. Proven over the last 10 years to under-perform.

This year’s Aintree Festival runs from 4th April to 6th April inclusive.

What caught my eye ?

Right from the get-go, laying all favourites has produced a 10 year profit. So I would recommend a focus on laying favourites at Aintree, particularly under these circumstances.

  • As a layer of favourites, National Hunt Flat Races are standout.
  • 19 and 21 runner races are best for the favourite layer.
  • Favourites who are hold-up horses, have a very poor record at Aintree.

I will look at the Grand National in isolation next e-letter. Although I must say, my Gran’s method of opening up the race card, closing your eyes, and stopping your finger at random is as good a method as any other at choosing the Grand National Winner.

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