As punters saddle up for the return of the Grand National on Saturday, historical research into previous winners has unearthed the horse with the best chance of grabbing the £561,300 prize. And it’s VIRGILIO!
Betting aggregator GrandNational.org.uk has studied the winning horses since the great race started in 1839 and found that, statistically, the winner of the iconic race has a certain profile.
He is usually nine years old, carries an average weight of 10st 7lbs in the handicap and has an average starting price of 19/1.
Other trends show that the winner is invariably ridden by a jockey called John or Tommy, trained by a man called Tom, and has an owner called John!
From this year’s expected line-up, bay gelding Virgilio perfectly matches the best age and weight and most closely resembles the typical Grand National winner.
And, with current odds of 100/1, this French-bred horse could allow racing fans to rein in some serious earnings if he crosses the finish line first.
Those concerned about the unfavourable odds should be reassured that a 100/1 outsider has been victorious at Aintree as recently as 2009. Mon Mome, also nine years old at the time, won with jockey Liam Treadwell less than a decade ago.
Of the leading fancies for this year’s race, just two of the five match the average winning age (TOTAL RECALL and BLAKLION), while TIGER ROLL is the closest to the ideal handicap with a weight of 10st 12lbs.
Other lucky characteristics that punters might look out for include the starting price. Horses with odds around 19/1 perform best and at the time of writing, UCELLO CONTI was one of those close to those odds, although prices will fluctuate in the build-up to Aintree.
Just 23 outright favourites have gone on to win, with a further six joint-favourites taking home the prize over the last 170 races.
The findings also show that successful horses often have a jockey called John or Tommy. Both names have won 11 times each. Riders called George and Arthur have claimed eight and seven wins respectively.
Sticking with lucky names, more winning horses have had a trainer called Tom (11) than anyone else, and George is another popular trainer first name (eight wins). SAINT ARE, currently priced at 50/1, is the only horse trained by a Tom in this year’s line-up, and ironically his last name is George.
There have also been 17 winning racehorse owners called John, 12 more than the next most successful name, which is Noel (five times).
Just seven horses have won the Grand National on more than one occasion and only one (Red Rum) has crossed the finishing line first at Aintree on three separate occasions (in 1973, 1974 and 1977).
A spokesperson from GrandNational.org.uk commented, “Our research shows that, historically, nine-year-old horses weighing 10st 7lbs race best, so this makes Virgilio an interesting proposition, despite the bookies rating the horse at 100/1.
“When placing a bet on this year’s Grand National, it’s worth considering the historical data as it is often contrary to the bookmakers’ favourite.”