There are some sporting events that are so quintessentially part of British culture that you just have to go once to be able to say: “I was there”. An FA Cup final, Royal Ascot, a Rugby League Challenge Cup final, the Oxford-Cambridge boat race, Wimbledon, test cricket at Lord’s and many other sports events could be on this list. Chief among them all for me, though, is the Grand National, the world’s most famous horse race.
This is a day out like none other. It brings together 75,000 people from all parts of the UK, along with quite a few overseas guests – and people from all strata of society. This is a true festival of racing and of British culture – at Aintree racecourse near Liverpool. It’s also great as it’s usually held on the first or second Saturday of April and it’s often the first real hint of sunshine and warmth of the year.
But to get here – you need to start planning early. The 2015 Grand National will be held on Saturday April 11th so book your tickets well in advance as they go like hot cakes nearer the time.
Try to get your bets on early too. If you can find a runner that will definitely be going for the big race barring injury and you like the look of it – take a chance and back ante-post at long odds as they tend to come right in on the day.
If you look at the horse racing statistics down the years, you’ll see that the winner is likely to be a sound jumper, be aged 8-11, and carrying 10-11 stones. It will also like the ground and be quite highly rated. If your horse matches these criteria and the trainer says in an interview leading up to the National that the horse is being lined up for a crack at the big race – then take the odds early. It’s very likely that you’ll be able to lay it back for much shorter odds should you wish to.
Otherwise, let it ride and have fun. And big fun you will most certainly have here – whether or not you have the winner.