The Grand National is the biggest horse racing event of the year. It has the highest turnover of any single race held in the UK and is watched by millions each year. We share a few Grand National hints and tips to set you apart from the crowd and make you a winner.
Our racing expert and one of the UK's best horse racing tipster's Stephen Harris has posted his Grand National free tips for each race of the 2018 Aintree Festival including his 2018 Grand National tip. Stephen's Grand National free tips are available only at bettingexpert.
Aintree Festival Day 1 - Grand National Tips 2018
Grand National, Thursday April 12th
|13:45||Aintree Manifesto Chase||Cyrname||Read Preview||3.25|
|14:20||Juvenile Hurdle||Apples Shakira||Read Preview||2.88|
|14:50||Betfred Bowl||Bristol du Mai||Read Preview||6.50|
|15:25||Aintree Hurdle||Supasundae||Read Preview||2.0|
|16:05||Foxhunters Chase||Grand Vision||Read Preview||5.0|
|16:40||Red Rum Handicap Chase||Theinval||Read Preview||7.0|
|17:15||Aintree Mares NHF||Posh Trish||Read Preview||9.0|
Odds as at 12th April 2018.
Aintree Festival Day 2 - Grand National Tips 2018
Ladies Day, Friday April 13th
|13:40||Handicap Hurdle||Storm Home||Read Preview||11.0|
|14:20||The Top Novices’ Hurdle||Global Citizen||Read Preview||3.0|
|14:50||The Betfred Mildmay Novices’ Steeple Chase||Coo Star Sivola||Read Preview||8.0|
|15:25||The JLT Melling Steeple Chase||Politologue||Read Preview||6.50|
|16:05||Topham Steeple Chase||Top Gamble||Read Preview||15.0|
|16:40||The Doom Bar Sefton Novices’ Hurdle||Santini||Read Preview||3.0|
|17:15||The Weatherbys Champion Standard Open NH Flat||Danny Kirwan||Read Preview||2.62|
Odds as at 13th April 2018.
Aintree Festival Day 3 - Grand National Tips 2018
Grand National Day, Saturday April 14th
|13:45||Aintree Handicap Hurdle||Red Indian||Read Preview||13.0|
|14:25||The EZ Trader Mersey Novices’ Hurdle||Black Op||Read Preview||2.62|
|15:00||The Doom Bar Maghull Novices’ Steeple Chase||Lady Buttons||Read Preview||17.0|
|15:40||The Betway Handicap Steeple Chase||Thomas Patrick||Read Preview||6.50|
|16:20||The Liverpool Stayers’ Hurdle||Wholestone||Read Preview||11.0|
|17:15||Randox Grand National||The Last Samuri
|18:15||Handicap Hurdle||Michaels Mount||Read Preview||8.50|
Odds as at 11th April 2018.
If you want to make the most of our Grand National tips 2018, take advantage of the numerous bookmaker offers for the great festival. If you're keen to enhance your Grand National betting returns, be sure to check our Grand National bookmaker offers page for all the latest offers for each day of the festival. We recommend you to check all Price boosts, money back offers and risk free bets for the 2018 Grand National.
How To Bet On The Grand National
The Randox Aintree Grand National is the British equivalent of the "race that stops a nation" in Australia with the Melbourne Cup, with almost the entire country likely to take an interest and have a wager on the most demanding and stamina sapping contest of the entire racing calendar.
The race is run over 4m2f with steep and unique fences that have become household names over the years (like Bechers Brook, The Chair or Valentines), and it has a huge bearing on the financial fortunes of the nations bookmakers. Here we take a look at five key points to consider when making your Aintree Grand National selections...and how to make betting on this great race profitable.
1 - Look for horses with previous experience in the Grand National or over the unique fences
Those horses with previous form over the National fences traditionally always do well again. It is worth watching back the last five runnings of the Grand National to look for horses who have shaped well or who jump the unique fences without breaking their rhythm (particularly those that travelled well in the prevailing deep ground but failed to see things out/may be more effective if things dry out appreciably and the ground rides closer to "good"). Although modifications to the obstacles for safety reasons have obviously reduced the "Aintree effect" in the past ten years (six of the last seven winners of the great race had not run over this course before), it is still a useful tool for identifying likely contenders (four of those six did have Aintree form in the book either over hurdles or regulation fences).
2- Play each-way and focus on proven stayers/sound jumpers who are likely to give their running
With 40 runners lining up it can pay to back a few horses each-way at the best price available (win and place), searching for bookmakers paying extra places (the usual terms would be 1/4 the odds 1,2,3,4 but lots of online layers are very competitive and often offer upto 7 places). A good strategy is to back four or five horses each-way, focussing on those who jump fluently under patient rides and are likely to get round and complete the course. Opt for proven stayers...in the last ten runnings of the National eight have won or been placed over at least 3m4f previously, so clearly stamina is the key alongside experience (all of the last ten winners had run at least ten times over fences previously). The battle hardened, proven stayer with Aintree course form in the book is the "golden bullet" when it comes to identifying leading contenders.
3- Avoid short prices and hyped up "big name public horses"...search away from the obvious
Horses from the top stables with form in the big Saturday TV races or Cheltenham Festival winners are never going to be great value and have a poor record overall when trying their hand in the National. Only Many Clouds has gone from the Cheltenham Gold Cup to win the Grand National in recent years (and he had run poorly in the Cheltenham Grade 1 just weeks earlier). In the past it was always thought that Cheltenham and Aintree form would not work out (as the winners had hard races that left a mark so close to another run at the highest level).
4- Be price sensitive and shop around for the best bookmaker offers and place concessions (in the morning of racing). Avoid the SP!
It is important to have as many bookmaker accounts as possible funded and ready to go for the Grand National, with the layers often betting very fairly on the morning of the big race and willing to stand a big bet (and take on big liabilities). It is no good just taking 12/1 out of loyalty to your usual bookmaker just to have a bet, when another new up and coming layer is offering 16/1 and perhaps enhanced place terms. Be ready to move quickly to get the early value....by racetime the market has settled and the on-course bookmakers tend to trim up the front ones without pushing out the outsiders (the SP overound for the National in recent years has been very high and it is vital to take early prices).
5- Search for smaller, less known jockeys and trainers with a proven track record and experience on what it takes
The big name jockeys have a poor record in the Grand National. Champion Richard Johnson has now gone twenty rides without success, and Leighton Aspell with two wins has the best record of the UK riders of those that are still in action. Ruby Walsh has won the race twice , but he faces a race against time to be fit for the 2018 renewal after suffering a recurrence of an old leg injury when falling at the Cheltenham Festival. Top trainers also do not have the record you might expect, with Nicky Henderson yet to win despite saddling runners since 1979! Both Nigel Twiston-Davies and Jonjo O'Neill always lay out a few for the race and have respectable records, but the astute punter should not be scared of looking away from the obvious names when searching for the winner.
Here we take a look at the 5 things to consider about the Grand National odds on offer.
1 - Play each-way between the 12/1 - 33/1 range
People always believe huge prices can win the Grand National, and certainly in the past ten years they have been rewarded by the wins of Mon Mome (100/1) and Auroras Encore (66/1). Generally speaking though it is far more sensible to look towards the front of the market, without being suckered into public gambles for hyped horses that often collapse in price for reasons of sentiment rather than logic. Don't Push It in 2012 and Comply or Die in 2008 were both sent off joint-favourites when winning, backed down from double figure prices in the morning, and the price range between 12 and 33-1 is the area to concentrate on when trying to find the winner or a likely each-way wager.
2- Avoid the front of the market and the public gambles
Every Grand National there are "false" public gambles that are related to media coverage, hype, a lady rider, the grey colour of the horse or a popular sounding name...these are worth avoiding, especially as momentum builds and the price collapses closer to the off time. It is far better to remain detached and make your selection(s) on the basis of sound form and analysis in the long run.
3- Be price sensitive, use price comparison sites to seek out the best value
On the morning of the Grand National the competition for the punters pound or Euro is high and the firms bet very fairly indeed, especially if you shop around and play ew at the top prices on offer (and take advantage of all the concessions available to entice you to have a bet). It is imperative to play first thing in the morning and to take the best price available. Most firms will offer Best Odds Guaranteed anyway, so if the SP is bigger than the price you take then you get the SP anyway, so there really is no reason at all not to do some homework and research to seek out the value.
4- Look for the extra places on offer...some firms will offer 1/4 odds for 1,2,3,4, while others will be 1/4 odds for 1,2,3,4,5,6,7
Each-way betting is a good strategy for the Grand National, with 40 runners and finding the outright winner always tricky. By having a wide range of accounts opened and primed then the astute punter can find some excellent value in the enhanced place terms on offer. With marketing departments battling hard for custom, the mathematics can tilt dramatically in the backers favour if 6 or 7 places are available (even if the win prices are slightly reduced). Professionals can look to put together a package of perhaps 5 horses in the 10/1 to 20/1 range and back them all each-way. They only need a couple to place to play a draw, and if they happen to find the winner then substantial profits can be made.
5- Bet professionally but do not increase your stakes out of their normal size
The Grand National remains a very hard puzzle to solve, with a big degree of randomness and luck in running playing a huge part, and punters should not step out of their comfortable staking zone just because of the excitement attached to such a big sporting occasion. Keep stakes proportionate and don't become overexposed...all forty horses are trying, fancied and off for their lives, and traditionally it has been an event which is something of a "harvest" for the bookmakers as an uneducated public have a bet and are not price sensitive or informed at all.
Top 5 Aintree Festival Grand National Tips 2018
1 - The Last Samuri (16/1 generally)
Kim Bailey's Aintree specialist has won 5 from 15 over fences in a light career, and has been laid out deliberately to make a bold bid in the 2018 renewal by his National winning trainer (Mr Frisk won in 1990). He finished second behind Rule the World in the 2016 renewal, jumping superbly under a typically positive ride, and had suffered training issues in the build up when only 16th behind One for Arthur in 2017. This season has gone a lot more smoothly, with a cracking run over hurdles at Kempton in November followed by two excellent efforts over fences. He was no match for Blaklion in the Becher Chase here in December, but found very deep ground against him there and is now weighted to reverse the form with his old rival, with better ground on the day sure to suit given how strongly he travels on the bridle. At around the 16/1 mark he makes maximum each-way appeal at this stage, coming here with the yard in terrific form and proven course form always a huge plus in this unique contest.
2 - Tiger Roll
The Cheltenham cross country winner has plenty of the attributes of a Grand National contender, being a classy,strong travelling nimble jumper with endless stamina. His trainer Gordon Elliot heads to Aintree after a fantastic Festival (edged out Willie Mullins for champion trainer over the four days), and he seems to go close with luck in running under his usual hold-up ride.
3- Minella Rocco (20/1 generally)
Jonjo O'Neill's charge has rather lost his way since finishing in the frame behind Sizing Jon in the 2017 Cheltenham Gold Cup, but he has long shaped as though an extreme test of stamina would suit (winner of the NH Chase over four miles in March 2016). He has certainly been given a right chance by the handicapper for one with his back-class and, with the assistance of the top class Barry Geraghty in the saddle, does look the type to go extremely close granted some luck in running.
4- Gas Line Boy (33/1 generally)
Ian Williams experienced Aintree performer finished a cracking 5th behind One for Arthur in the 2017 renewal, and proved his liking for this venue when winning readily in the Grand Sefton in December (finishing really strongly having been briefly tapped for pace over the 2m5f trip). He jumps these big fences economically and is basically a safe jumper despite a couple of unlucky falls round here in the past (fell at the first in 2015), and seems sure to go well again with his stable enjoying a terrific 2017-18 season.
5- Anibale Fly (25/1 generally)
Tony Martin is a very astute trainer very much one to fear when the cash is down, and this classy performer went into the notebook for a big prize when winning the valuable Paddy Power Chase at Leopardstown in December. He took a nasty fall two out when last seen in the Irish Gold Cup behind Edwulf in February, looking short of speed kept to three miles in Grade 1 company, and is completely unexposed granted an extreme test of stamina. There should be improvement to come after just ten career runs over fences (if he is none the worse for that latest experience), and a market move could be extremely significant on the day given owner J.P.McManus loves nothing more than a tilt at the betting ring.
Grand National Tips 2018 Top 5 Jockeys (riding in 2018)
1- Ruby Walsh
The best rider of this generation, Ruby has landed the Aintree Grand National twice, winning for his father Ted Walsh on Papillon in 2000 and repeating the feat on Hedgehunter in 2005 (as stable jockey for Willie Mullins as he remains to this day). He has suffered an injury ravaged season in 2017/18, only recently returning from several months on the sidelines to ride at the Cheltenham Festival. No other rider has Walsh's poise or finesse on a horse, and he often appears to be travelling best/longest on the bridle which is a big asset in these competitive staying chases where plenty of jockeys go for home too soon.
2- Noel Fehily
Fehily has yet to win the Grand National in 13 previous rides in the race, but he has reached the frame three times and comes into the 2018 renewal riding at the height of his powers. He is a very patient jockey who rarely makes a mistake and gives a horse time and confidence in the race, never rushing or misjudging the pace, and possessing real strength in a driving finish when it is required.
3- James Bowen
The find of the 2018/18 season, this 16 year old wonderkid has already won the 2017 Welsh National in a short but remarkable career so far. He has understandably been signed up by Nicky Henderson, and is very much a young rider to follow over the next few years regardless of his fate in the 2018 Grand National. He has a terrific brain in his head for one so inexperienced, tactically flawless and brilliant over a fence, and seems destined to be Champion jockey sooner rather than later as the old guard near retirement.
4- Sean Bowen
The older brother of James, Sean has tied up with great success with champion trainer Paul Nicholls, already notching over 250 winners despite only losing his claim a couple of years ago. He is able to ride at the minimum 10 stone which is a huge asset for any top flight jockey, and it will be fascinating to see which horse he chooses to ride given his connections to several of the top yards.
5- Barry Geraghty
Gained his only Grand National win on Montys Pass in 2003 (from 14 rides in the big race in total). Retained by powerful owner J.P.McManus and one of the best riders for a decade over jumps, Geraghty has long been regarded as one of the finest jockeys over a fence of his generation. He is the consummate horseman and professional, able to ride with equal alacrity from the front or off the back, and has the pick of either Minella Rocco or Anibale Fly at this stage (which one he chooses will have an immediate shortening effect on the price of that horse).
Grand National Tips 2018 Top 5 Trainers (with runners in 2018)
1- Paul Nicholls
The champion trainer has had 57 runners in the Grand National since 2003, with a remarkable 22 completing the course and his Neptune Collonges landing an emotional victory in 2012. He is sure to have a strong hand in the 2018 renewal, with perhaps the Scottish National winner Vicente his best hope of more glory at this stage.
2- Jonjo O'Neill
Jonjo won the big race with Don't Push It in 2010 (landing a wholesale nationwide gamble in the process), and has come very close on numerous occasions to adding to that tally (7 of his 31 entrants since 2003 have finished in the places). This season his main chance rests with the classy Minella Rocco, who is certainly very well handicapped if able to recapture his best form that saw him run Sizing Jon close in the 2017 Cheltenham Gold Cup.
3- Willie Mullins
A win for Hedgehunter in 2005 ended a frustrating run of near misses for the top Irish trainer, but he usually targets this race with a high class handicapper/Graded performer and has Total Recall as a leading candidate this season. Sometimes with the big name trainers it can be the case that their horses marks are a good bit higher than perhaps they should be on form, with reputation of connections perhaps influencing the handicapper unduly.
4- Nigel Twiston-Davies
Earth Summit (1998) and Bindaree (2002) were memorable winners of the Aintree Grand National for one of the stalwarts of the game, with the laters famous victory preventing him from retiring at a time when he was really struggling to make an impact. He has suffered plenty of disappointments in recent Nationals, but this season has the course specialist Blaklion to rely on and he seems sure to start one of the favourites.
5- Gordon Elliot
The rising star in Eire, he won the Grand National with his first ever runner in the great race when the 33/1 outsider Silver Birch sprang a major shock in 2007. Since then he has sent out 12 losers, but 8 of them completed the course and he has a very strong hand for 2018. Perhaps the tough and consistent Cause of Causes will be the stable number 1, but it is not unusual for those carrying the second or third Gigginstown colours to outrun their prices and cause a surprise.