This year's favourite, and in fact last year's winner, is Many Clouds, currently at a fairly short 8-1. Of course Many Clouds is proven over the course so is something of a known quantity but with over 40 runners and 30 jumps, it's a brave man that thinks he's onto a short priced good thing at the Grand National. A favourite, or rather a joint favourite hasn't won the National since Don't Push It was riden to victory at 10-1 in 2010 by Tony McCoy. A joint favourite won in 2008 too (Comply or Die) but you have to go all the way back to 2005 and Hedgehunter riden by Ruby Walsh to find a favourite in its own right winning, on that occasion at 7-1.
With this in mind, the Grand National would appear to be a prime opportunity to pull a big winner out of the bag, while pretending you're some kind of horse whispering savant in the process. A cousin of mine has become well known for picking Grand National winners and while he doesn't even follow horse racing on a regular basis and there was likely no rhyme or reason to his selections, each year family and friends would all ask "what's he betting on this year?" as the race neared. Many other friends don't really get a say on who they are cheering on as it's all part of a office sweepstake or the like, or perhaps a horse's name stands out for them. That's not to say that, despite the many unknowns of a race like the Grand National, a bit of knowledge and nouse can't go a long way in terms of making your selections. We'll be going into that in more detail in the days to come.
If you're looking for inspiration though in anticipation of backing a big priced winner in the 2016 event, it's somewhat easier to achieve than spotting a favourite romping home in first place. Many Clouds, this year's favourite, was actually a fairly generous 25-1 when it won last year, but if you're looking for 'really' big odds, look no further than Auroras Encore in 2013 at 66-1 with bookmakers and the bind boggling 100-1 on offer for Mon Mome in 2009. I wouldn't have minded a few quid on that one. Will 2016 be another year of the big winner, or will Many Clouds or another short priced contender romp home? We won't have to wait long to find out now!
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