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How To Pick Your Horse For The Grand National

OLBG - How To Pick Your Horse For The Grand National

How To Pick Your Selections For The Grand National

Lots of different methods can be used to select the horses you want to back in the Grand National and, if you are only an occasional gambler, you might like to back a horse that stands out to you for a particular reason. Below are a few of the alternatives people use when making a selection for the Grand National:

‘I back a horse with a real name’

There can be many reasons why a horse stands out to you such as the horse has the same name as somebody close to you (for example, there have been former Grand National winners with the following names: One For Arthur, Monty’s Pass and Bobbyjo). 

For the 2021 Grand National if you want to back a horse with a real name you could try Chris’s Dream, Kimberlite Candy, Minella Times or Balko Des Flos

‘I always pick the grey horse’

You may want to be able to easily pick out the horse you have selected so have chosen to back a grey horse (most horses are black or brown so greys do tend to be very easily distinguishable). 

In the last twenty years, 48 grey horses have run in the Grand National and one has won (Neptune Collonges who won at 33/1 in 2012.) This may seem like a small return for grey horses in the Grand National but it is thought that greys only make up around 3% of the horse population so one win in twenty years is actually pretty good!

As it has been nine years since the last grey winner perhaps their turn is due in 2021? 

‘What grey horses are running in the 2021 Grand National?’

  • Bristol De Mai
  • Farclas
  • Lake View Lad
  • Tout Est Permis

‘I always back the favourite’

The basic logic of backing the favourite makes sense; the bookmakers have used their knowledge of form combined with the amount of money that has been bet on each horse and have come up with a horse who is the ‘favourite’. This just means this horse is the shortest price of all the horses in the field and will therefore return you the least amount of money if it wins compared to the other horses in the race. 

Is backing the favourite profitable?

In the last twenty years two outright favourites and two ‘joint’ favourites have won the Grand National (the term ‘joint favourite’ means that at the time the race started two horses were the same odds with the shortest odds in the betting). 

If you had placed £1 on the favourite in each of the last twenty years you would have gambled a total of £20 and your return would have been £22.50 and returned you a small profit..

If you are unsure of which horse to back but do want to have a bet on the Grand National backing the favourite might be the approach for you.

The very well supported favourite for the 2021 Grand National is Cloth Cap. The Jonjo O'Neill trained gelding has been hugely impressive in his two wins this season and if the handicapper was allowed to reassess his weight for the Grand National he would be carrying a stone more weight!

‘I like to cheer on the ladies’

2021 Female Jockeys

  • Rachael Blackmore
  • Bryony Frost
  • Tabitha Worsley


Eighteen different female jockeys have ridden in the Grand National beginning with Charlotte Brew who rode 200/1 shot Barony Fort in 1977. 

Nina Carberry and Katie Walsh jointly hold the record for the most rides in the Grand National with six rides apiece.

Katie Walsh has also recorded the best placing of a female jockey when she finished third on Seabass in 2012. Other notable finishes from lady jockeys were Rosemary Henderson (5th in 1994), Carrie Ford (5th in 2005) and Bryony Frost (5th in 2018). 

2021 Female Trainers

  • Denise Foster
  • Katy Price
  • Jessica Harrington
  • Georgie Howell


Four female trainers have won the Grand National. National Hunt legend Jenny Pitman was the first woman to win the great race, winning with Corbiere in 1983. Mrs Pitman won the Grand National again in 1995 and had also had the first horse past the post, Esha Ness, in the famous ‘void’ Grand National in 1993. Since the trailblazing success of Jenny Pitman, three other women have trained the winner of the Grand National:


2021 Mares running in the Grand National

  • Magic Of Light
  • Cabaret Queen
  • Shattered Love


Thirteen female horses (known as mares) have won the Grand National but the last of these was in 1951!


Only very few mares have taken their chance recently with just four mares having run in the Grand National over the last ten years but, interestingly, all of them completed the course: 2011 Bluesea Cracker (14th), 2017 La Vaticane (15th), 2018 Baie Des Iles (12th) and 2019 Magic Of Light (2nd).

'Horses with previous experience of jumping the big fences at Aintree could be a good bet’

Horses in the 2021 Grand National who have run over the fences before and completed the course:

  • Ballyoptic
  • Definitly Red
  • Magic Of Light
  • Anibale Fly
  • Kimberlite Candy
  • Alpha Des Obeaux
  • Jett
  • Lord Du Mesnil
  • Vieux Lion Rouge
  • Minellacelebration
  • Sub Lieutenant
  • Hogan's Height
  • Double Shuffle
  • Blaklion


‘I back a horse wearing my favourite colour’

If none of the above methods appeal to you we are here to help you with some special tools on Grand National Guide to help you find your selection:

Lots of people like to look at the silks the jockeys will wear and go for one that features your favourite colour. We can save you some time by guiding you to a special tool that will narrow down all the horses that will feature each of the main colours. So, for 2021 if your favourite colour is red then one of the horses you could select is the favourite, Tiger Roll, whose silks are predominantly red in colour. 

In the last twenty years green has been the most successful colour with nine winners!

  • Green = 9
  • Red = 4
  • Blue = 3
  • Black = 2
  • White = 1
  • Yellow = 1


Find the horses that are wearing your favourite colour here

‘I back a horse who comes from the same part of the country as I do’

Another of the tools we offer on Grand National Guide is to illustrate what part of the country each horse is trained in to enable people who want to cheer on their ‘local’ horse. 

The last twenty Grand National winners have come from the following areas:

  • Ireland = 8
  • South West England =4
  • North West England = 2
  • North East England = 2
  • The Midlands = 2
  • Scotland = 1
  • South East England =1
  • Wales = 0


Do remember though the total number of horses running from, say, Ireland, over those twenty years will be much higher than the number of runners based in the North East or the Midlands. This is simply because there are more trainers based in Ireland than in those other two areas. 

Find the horses that are based in your area here

‘I back a horse born under the same star sign as me’

One of the most popular ‘fun’ tools for picking your Grand National selection on Grand National Guide is the Star Sign selector. 

We have added the birth dates of all the horses due to run in the Grand National this year so you can match up to a horse born under the same star sign as you. 

For example, current Grand National favourite Tiger Roll was born under the star sign Pisces and 2019 Grand National runner-up Magic Of Light was born under Taurus. 

Find your horse with your matching star sign here

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