Grand National 2024 | The facts behind race numbers

horse racing, Grand National

The Grand National. The most famous chase in the world and still the most valuable jumps contest in Europe.

Now in its 185th year from its 1839 inception, the cream of National Hunt assembles at Aintree once more this weekend.

A race as much part of British culture as it is global, this year’s edition features just 34 runners.

So, with a tightened field ahead of Saturday, here at BestofBets we’ve teamed with the Guardian’s Tony Paley, to delve into the numbers and look for a numbers pattern to success.


The personal punt

When it comes to the Grand National, even the rarest of punters can be drawn to have a casual flutter.

As far as finding a winner goes on the big day, bettors often rely on a blend of knowledge and superstition.

Whilst studying the form like on any other occasion can be essential, a steeplechase over 4m2f can often throw up the most unlikely of winners.

Many often turn to personal charms or omens, perhaps persuaded by the allure of a jockey’s colours, the presence of a grey horse, or a name that strikes a chord.

However, it is individual numbers that can carry their own weight in this tapestry of choice.

These numbers, can often dictate the decisions at the tote or counter, from choosing lottery numbers to placing bets on a particular runner.

This study, by Lottomart, analysed the latest data from recent Grand National races to determine which numbers have seen the most success down the years.


Successful numbers

When scrutinising the outcomes of the Grand National over recent decades, it has become apparent that certain numbers have surfaced more frequently in the winner’s enclosure.

Over the span of the last 22 years, a total of 17 distinct numbers have achieved victory, highlighting a diversity in winning digits.

|However, closer evaluation reveals that in the last 22 years, entry numbers 10, 13, 29, and 35 have emerged victorious on multiple occasions.

Notably, 29 and 35 have been particularly favourable, featuring twice each amongst the winners within the previous decade.

Said victories include Auroras Encore in 2013, and Rachael Blackmore on Minella Times in 2021.

Both were adorned with the number 35, but of course, this year there will be no entry for that digit.

Similarly, Pineau De Re in 2014 and Rule The World in 2016 both found good fortune with number 29.

Historical patterns have shown horses carrying numbers between 11 and 29 are favourable, as they have provided 12 of the 22 winners within the previously mentioned time frame.

These numbers, despite being less than half of the total entrants, has demonstrated a distinct edge in achieving Grand National success.

Last year, Corach Rambler raced with the number 26. This also made it the first win for the number 26 in the last 22 years.


Across the boards

When engaging in each-way betting at the Grand National, where payouts usually extend to the top four or five, it’s interesting to look towards numbers that historically finish strong.

The National is not just about picking a winner but also about identifying horses that are likely to place.

Historical data over the past two decades reveals that numbers 8 and 39 have not had a top-six finish. It may be prudent to steer clear of these when considering each-way bets this year.

The number 27 has consistently been a runner-up since 2000, runner-up no less than four times.

Whilst not clinching victory, backing a horse with this number could be favourable.


Top-weighted toils

Historically, horses burdened with the heaviest weights often struggle in the Grand National.

Notably, entrants labelled with any of the first nine numbers frequently do not even complete the race, all registering double-digit non-finishes.

The horse assigned top draw number 1 typically bears the brunt, with a record of seven non-finishes within the past ten events.

But the standout figure for misfortune over the past decade is undoubtedly number 31.

Achieving only a single completion since 2007, this number is associated with a high risk of falling or pulling up.

Horses with lower odd numbers also tend to have a higher rate of incomplete races, a trend that can influence betting and expectations.


Least successful

Finally, In the realm of the National, riders and punters alike may find themselves wary of number 20.

Historically, it has endured a string of misfortunes, often not completing the course due to the chaotic nature of the race.

Incidents such as being unintentionally brought down by a falling horse ahead or being sidelined by an errant, riderless horse have plagued this number’s record.


Whoever you are backing in this weekend’s Grand National, remember to gamble responsibly.


The 2024 Randox Grand National takes place at Aintree on Saturday, race time 16:00 BST

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