In the UK, the Grand National has been more of a TV event than most other sporting spectacles – along with the FA Cup and others. Let’s face it, even if you could get tickets for Aintree, you’re going to be squashed in with 70,000 other spectators and you’ll be watching it on a big screen at the course anyway as you simply can’t see most of the fences from the grandstand.

So the best thing to do is stay home and plan the day out carefully. Here’s how to do it…

With a trusty group of friends, you split the National field up equally between you, drawing horses completely at random from the “hat”. You all put equal amounts into the pot and it’s simply winner takes all. That’s the easy bit – and it’s best to get this organised well before the fun starts.

Next, you each pick three or four horses from your own list of runners (any more than this quickly becomes unmanageable).

Now during the build-up to the race, which takes place all afternoon on Channel 4., each time one of your three or four horses gets a mention you must take a shot of whatever drink you all agree on. This includes mentions during the race itself if you can possibly keep up with the pace. It all gets a little frantic, but is well worth the effort!  It’s a fun way to spend the Grand National afternoon and the excitement really builds before the big race. This year, the National will be held on Saturday, April 5 – with TV coverage beginning early afternoon on Channel 4. The race itself is due to get underway at 4.15pm, so you have a few hours to get in the party mood. Another way to make it even more exciting is, of course, to have bet while you’re still sober – well before the off.

The best odds on the National are available around now – with an ante-post bet. The downside is that you lose your stake should your selection not be able to take part on the day due to any reason such as injury. To help you select the winner, here are a few stats which will help you narrow down the field…

  • Almost all the winners are aged between 9 and 11. In fact, 24 of the last 30 National winners have been this age.
  • Horses with a lot of weight tend not to win (the race is a handicap of course). The average weight carried round the four and a half mile course by the last 30 winners is 10stones 8¾ pounds.
  • Four out of every five recent winners ran over hurdles in the season they won the National, almost all recent winners had won a previous race worth at least £17k and the ten previous National winners ran at least ten times over fences before the big race.

So there we have it; have fun!

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