The UK is gearing up for one of the biggest sporting events of the year. The Grand National. One of the most exciting, and popular horse racing spectacles on the planet.
That time of the year has arrived as Aintree Racecourse near Liverpool is again set to host the Grand National, the world’s most famous horse race. It is an equestrian spectacle that half of UK residents wager on, boasting a prize pool of £1,000,000. Forty thoroughbreds will line up on Saturday, April 10, to run the 6.9-kilometer track, jumping over thirty fences in front of an estimated audience of around 600 million people.
The competition will be distinct in that there will not be on-site spectators, and punters will only be able to bet online. UK’s roadmap out of lockdown states that racetracks cannot allow crowds until mid-May and that non-essential retail stores will open after April 12. Thus, this unique set of circumstances, paired with Tiger Roll’s absence from the race, has generated massive interest. Following the most recent scratching deadline, 77 horses now remain in contention. Everyone will have their eyes on Aintree on Saturday to see who will be the first winner not named Tiger Roll since 2017.
Part of the appeal of the race is the unpredictability of who will win. Only 15% of the time, the favorite has won. This infographic from FreeBetOffers.org.uk shows just how popular the race really is. It will be shown in 140 countries and over 600 million are expected to tune in to watch the action.
This infographic is shared by Free Bet Offers UK
After a Year of Virtual Racing, the Real Horses Are Back
Due to the ongoing global pandemic, the 2020 race did not take place. Instead, it got replaced by a virtual one. Computer-generated iterations of assumed to enter horses competed for the crown. At the end of the algorithm-determined contest, Potters Corner denied Tiger Roll a third consecutive victory. Most bookies had 18-1 odds on a Potters Corner win and were super- relieved that a favourite did not triumph.
The virtual Grand National has run since 2017, and it has done well to predict the winners of the actual race. In 2018, it projected a Tiger Roll victory. However, even though virtual sports betting is growing in popularity, most fans do not feel that it is an adequate substitute for the real thing. Therefore, they cannot wait until actual horses get their hooves in the dirt at Aintree.
Multiple Worthy Challengers Shall Compete for the Top Spot
On March 10, news broke that Tiger Roll will not be defending his title in 2021. Its owner, Gigginstown House Stud, confirmed the withdrawal, citing excessive weight. Following the announcement, most bookmakers listed Jonjo O’Neill’s Cloth Cap as the favourite, with Tom Lacey’s Kimberlite Candy trailing behind. However, the odds have now shifted. Ted Walsh’s Any Second Now and Willie Mullins’ Burrows Saint now share the second-most-likeliest to win position.
The Tabitha Worsley Sub Lieutenant Pairing
Odds-on favorites aside, one story that has many fans gripped is Tabitha Worsley. Her quest to become the first female jockey to win UK’s most prestigious race. Sub Lieutenant, a 12-year-old Maserati from Georgie Howell’s seven-horse Worcestershire stable, is the horse that she will be riding. Howell is Tabitha’s mother, and this family duo has high hopes for this year’s National, and so do many fans that have been following their story. Sub Lieutenant is a two-time Grade 2 winner and has finished fourth in listed contests at Ascot in December of 2020 and March of 2021.