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Grand National 2024 Trends: What to look for in a Grand National winner

Do you go by the name? The jockey? The colours? Do you close your eyes and stick a pin in the paper? Or do you go for a more mathematical approach?

There are plenty of ways to go about picking your horse for the Grand National, but is there a way to identify a winner?

Of course, there’s no magic formula to predict who will win the world’s most famous race, but are there things you can look out for to give you the best possible chance?

We’ve looked back over past Grand Nationals to try and spot the trends of each winner.

Horse Racing

Grand National winners by price

How often do the favourites win the Grand National? While it doesn’t feel like a regular occurrence – and perhaps it shouldn’t be when lining up against 39 other runners – nine of the last 50 winners have been favourites, with 7/1 the most common price amongst favourite winners. This means that if you’d had £1 on every favourite to win the last 50 Grand Nationals, you’d have got £75 back.

Aside from the favourites, it’s not all that often that a big-price horse comes in. There was 100/1 Mon Mome in 2009 and 66/1 Auroras Encore in 2013 with two more winners at 50/1 (1985 and 2022) and 40/1 (1980 and 1995).

If you line up all the winners’ prices from smallest to largest, 14/1 is the middle price as well as the most common price with seven winners. There have been six winners at 10/1, five winners at 7/1 and four winners at 16/1.

17 of the last 50 winners have been 10/1 or shorter and 38 of the 50 have been 25/1 or shorter.

Grand National winners by age

The average age of a Grand National winner is 9.76 since 1972, though the average has been steadily dropping in recent years, with each of the last eight winners aged nine or younger, with Noble Yeats the first seven-year-old to win since 1940.

One of the reasons the average age has been trending downwards could be that the race isn’t the gruelling test it was, with fences lowered, meaning younger horses aren’t at the disadvantage they once were.

Nine is the most popular age of the last 50 winners, though more than half have been 10 or older. Amberleigh House in 2004 is the only 12-year-old winner in the last 26 years.

Eleven-year-olds won the Grand National in 2012, 2013 and 2014, but there was only one in the 15 years previous and have been none since.


No. of winners














Grand National winners by weight

The weights carried by each horse play a huge part in the Grand National. In a bid to make the race as equal as possible, the better horses carry more weight, but over more than four miles, some horses can be carrying nearly two stone more than others and that can be the difference on the long run home.

No top weight has won the Grand National since Red Rum in 1974, so Conflated has a big chunk of history to overcome if he’s to land the big one.

Many Clouds came closest to winning with top weight in 2015, when he was one pound shy of the 11st 10lbs maximum. Indeed, only four horses in the last 50 Grand Nationals have carried more than 11st 5lbs to victory and two of them were Red Rum. Favourite backers will be keen to know that Corach Rambler is right on the limit at 11st 5lbs.

No horse carrying less than 10st has won the National since 1914; indeed, horses given less than 10st don’t often make it to the race, with only the top 40 (34 this year) horses selected to participate, and the lightest horse this year will likely be around 10st3lbs.

10st 9lbs in the median weight carried by winners, with 24 horses carrying more and 23 carrying less, but the 10st 5lbs to 10st 7lbs is the range to keep an eye on, with 13 of the last 50 winners and five of the last 20 carrying one of those three weights.

There have also been 12 winners of the last 50 carrying between 10st 11lbs and 11st, with all four weights producing three winners each, and if that's expanded to the 10st 10lbs to 11st range, you get six of the last 20 winners.

Grand National winners by form

Form isn’t necessarily the easiest to interpret ahead of the Grand National. A horse may not have won any of its recent races, but good finishes in high calibre races may be more useful than winning low-quality races over unsuitable distances.

There are some things to watch out for though when considering a horse’s form going into the National.

While horses must have placed in a recognised chase of 2m7½f or more to qualify for the Grand National, over the last 20 years, every horse bar one had won a chase (the exception being Rule The World, who had finished second in the Irish Grand National and in a three-mile Grade 1 at Leopardstown).

All the remaining horses bar two had won chases over three miles, and of the two who hadn’t, one (Minella Times) had won over 2m6f, and the other (Noble Yeats) had placed second in a 3m Grade 2 at Wetherby.

Certain horses suit certain courses – hence the phrase – and while distance form is clearly important, course form carries some weight too, with 15 of the last 20 winners all competing around Aintree prior to their National win.

However, while a previous appearance at Aintree is useful a previous appearance in the Grand National is less so. Only two of the last 15 winners had appeared in a previous Grand National and one of those was Tiger Roll the year he won it for a second time, and the one before was 100/1 shot Mon Mome.

The thinking perhaps being that if you have a horse who's good enough to compete at a Grand National for a second time, the handicapper is unlikely to view your horse too leniently. Even 2009 winner Mon Mome, who finished 58 lengths behind Comply Or Die in the 2008 National, was given an extra three pounds for the following year's assignment.

How to pick a Grand National winner

So, based on the above, what can we assume? The Grand National has changed over the years, with fences made smaller, the race not as long, and new for 2024, there are fewer entries. Therefore some of the trends that might have applied in the 1970s and 1980s when 12-year-olds were winning the race might not be as applicable now, with younger horses winning the race more frequently.

In recent years, eight- and nine-year-olds have dominated proceedings. In 2023, there were as many seven-year-olds entered as 10-year-olds, and the average age of finishers was 8.82 - so it's worth looking at horses aged eight or nine.

Don't be put off from backing favourites; nine of the last 50 winners have gone off as either favourite or joint-favourite, and less than a quarter of the last 50 winners have been priced bigger than 25/1, while 32 of the last 50 have been between 7/1 and 16/1.

In terms of weight, there's a fairly even distribution across a number of weights. The top weights have typically struggled in the race, while the bottom weights usually aren't of sufficient calibre to win, but the 10st5lbs-10st7lbs and 10st10lbs-11st brackets have taken more than half of the last 20 winners.

It's more than likely you'll need to find a horse who has proven stamina, in the form of a win over 3m - similarly you want to find a horse who's won a steeplechase; it's very unlikely a horse's first ever win over fences will come in the Grand National. A race at Aintree is useful, but a previous run in the Grand National doesn't produce many winners.

In summary, here are some factors to watch out for:

Odds: Between 7/1-16/1 (11 of last 20 winners)
Age: 8 or 9 (seven of last eight winners)
Weight: Between 10st5lbs-10st7lbs and 10st10lbs-11st (six of last nine winners)
Form: Has won a Class 2 (or better) chase over 3m (17 of last 20 winners)
Experience: Has raced at Aintree; has never raced in the Grand National (15 of last 20 winners; 16 of last 20 winners)

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