Aintree Racetrack Facts and Betting Tips
In any other racetrack around the world you can easily select a few favorite contenders and in 4 out of 5 times those favorites will end as winners or in the 5 top places. This is not the case at Aintree, especially during the Grand National, were longshots or horses with far off odds can win, and have won, more often than favorites throughout the history of the race. This is attributed to something called “The Aintree Factor”, and mastering this aspect can make a handicapper very happy for selecting a horse with large paying odds. In a sense this is the racetrack were Bookies have it all wrong and you can crack the real favorite to win with a large payout.
Aintree Racetrack is a legendary place inside the world of horseracing. It could be well more than 200 years than the first group of friends gathered in that same strip of woods by the Leeds Canal and decided to race each other cross-country. In those times racers would challenge each other to run a course through various natural obstacles with the steeple of the church as reference to the point of turning or goal, the steeplechase race.
Aintree is special as its stands outside of Liverpool in the countryside and possessed numerous natural obstacles like fallen logs, a stone wall, irregular terrain and the canal right midway with many horses ending in the water after a difficult jump.
Since the 1830’s when the very first Grand National took place, the racetrack has remained in the same spot with renewed obstacles, but many of which remain as it was back them. Several of the obstacles are famous for their difficulty and setting a difficult pace through the race in which both jockey and horse require to be well focused. The racetrack is also the longest jump race in the UK with 4 miles and 500 yards, 16 jumping obstacles, and given its two laps during the Grand National, it’s regarded as one of the toughest races in the world.
There at least 4 obstacles that require some skill to overcome giving the speed, fatigue and the dozen of falling horses around you. This would be “The Turn”, “The Chair”, “The Pool” and “The Brook”.
The Brook – Could be considered one of the most difficult obstacles in the race. The ground before the jump is higher than that of the land. The skill lies on the jockey who has to anticipate the jump and push back to rear of the horses in order to keep the saddle after landing on a very steep angle. Many riders are unsaddled at this point. The Brook is called in that manner thanks to a famous jockey that took a fall in the first Grand National and found refuge from the raining horses under the brook formed from the obstacle, after he made the famous quote “Water tastes horribly without whisky”.
The Turn – The Turn can be considered the middle of the race, the turning point at the end of the track were horses begin their race back to the finish line parallel to the Canal. The Turn is a jump obstacles right in front of a 90 degree turn, beyond that is the river. In the past when the track wasn´t fully regulated as it is today this obstacle saw many unwary horses ending in the water for not regulating the speed and anticipation before the jump.
The Chair – One of the final two obstacles that is only required to be jumped once during the Grand National. It was here were the judge of the race used to sit to register the final arriving horses and declaring non-finishers. Located just in front of the main stands it has grown in popularity as it presents the viewers with the best possible spectacle of the jumps as racers come at full speed. This obstacle has seen a great amount of falls, injuries, horse deaths and the only jockey race from the Gran National in the 70’s.
The Pool – The final obstacle called this way for the mud pool by the obstacle. It has lost interest of the crowd in exchange for the spectacle of The Chair, but it is worth nothing it comes right after the tough Chair and right before the finish line. Here racers are forced to reduce their pace and stabilize for the jump and then race at full speed to the long finish line. This obstacle can be bypassed on the second lap.
Betting Tips, How to Select your Winning Horse at Aintree
Only 30 favorites have won during the Grand National in over 180+ years, many of them didn´t even finish. In the recent past horses with odds of 20/1 have won the race, Aurora Encore won with 66/1 odds in 2016.
There are a few keys on selecting your horse, and odds is not one of them.
- Pick a horse aged between 10 to 11.
- Do not select a horse with more than 14lbs.
- Look for the Aintree Factor, which is horses that have previous Aintree experience and know the track well performing each time better and better. Red Rum was the best example, the horse won 3 times the Grand National and finished Place on two other occasions. The Aintree Factor goes for the jockey and trainer as well.
- The horse tends to finish top 3.
- French bred have won since 2009.
- Irish bred horses used to win a lot in the 90’s, but not anymore. Instead Irish trained horses tend to win since the 2000’s.
For Aintree horse racing odds and future races - all gathered on William Hill's site.
Date Published: 11/05/2017