Why is the Grand National the most unpredictable race of all?

Every horse racing fan knows that the Grand National is one of the most challenging and intriguing horse races of all. And every horse racing bettor knows that this race is the most difficult to bet on, simply because it is the most unpredictable of all.

Many bettors, who have tested their predictive and forecasting skills in online horse racing betting in Malaysia or in other places around the world where horse racing betting is popular, have -by now- realized how difficult it is. 

What’s more is that predicting outcomes in the Grand National is very hard and this is illustrated by the fact that in the last 22 years, since the beginning of the new millennium, the favorites to win the races have largely failed to do so. There have been several cases where 50/1 or even 100/1 horses eventually won and so many upsets that only verify how dynamic this race is.

There are three important factors that make the Grand National the most difficult race to bet on and these factors are also what constitute this race so unpredictable.

Grand National

1. It’s a very big field and a very long race

The Grand National is not only a long race  (in fact one of the longest in the sport) with more than 4 miles distance to be covered by horses, when other races typically feature 2 to 3 mile fields. It is also a big field. There are 40 horses taking part in the race, when other races are predominantly 20-horse fields. 

Such a big number of contenders for the first position only perplexes things in betting on horse racing. If it is difficult to predict the winner in a 20-horse field, just imagine how hard it can be to predict who is gonna win in a 40-horse field, which along with the big number of horses also has some other distinctive features that make it even more hard. In short, predicting the winner or the top positions here is nothing like making predictions, let’s say, on who will win the Europa League in football!

2. The fences

Typical race horses generally feature fences up to four and a half foot and horses pretty much show their skills quite easily. But the Grand National features higher fences, some above five-foot, which make it difficult for horses to stay in shape. 

The fact that there are higher fences as well as more fences in a race distorts any predictive ability, because jumps become more challenging and they might end up causing fatigue to the horses. That said, the favorites to a race can all too easily lose their ‘touch’ and eventually lose the race as well. 

Besides the more obvious impact of the larger fences on the fatigue of horses, it is also the fact that since high fences are not to be found in other races, horses are not actually trained to jump them. Some horses might have never even tried these high fences. What’s the result of this? Not being able to tell whether a horse will do it successfully or not. 

3. Horses are handicapped 

Handicapping horses is a way to make the races more competitive, more challenging and more interesting to watch. Typically, the better horses are given a handicap which translates into carrying more weight than others. 

The Grand National race did not start off this way. In the beginning there was no handicap and all horses were to carry the same weight. But this is not the case now -actually it is not the case since the beginning of the 19th century (!). Today, the horses with the greater abilities carry more weight. 

All so naturally, carrying more weight has a profoundly strong impact on how the race is going to go and how each horse is going to perform. The winner of a Grand National race, will most likely, for instance, not be the favorite in the next year as the horse is to carry far more weight than others. That’s the case with last year’s winner, Noble Yeats

Key takeaway

The thing is that the Grand National remains one of the most interesting and exciting horse races to watch, but betting requires a lot of research and a lot of analysis. And still it is quite uncertain whether you’ll be able to make effective predictions in such an unpredictable event!

Charu decided to unite her Honors Degree in New Media and lifetime of geekiness to pursue a career in tech and gaming journalism. You can usually find her writing about a variety of topics and drooling over new gadgets and games.