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Monday 30 January 2023 Dublin: 7°C
Tim Hales/AP/Press Association Images
# Grand National
5 fool-proof* ways to pick the winner of this afternoon's Aintree Grand National
*Warning: Methods advised may not be fool-proof.

PICKING THE WINNER of the Aintree Grand National is difficult at the best of times, even for the self-professed horse racing experts.

Run over nearly four-and-a-half gruelling miles with 30 fences standing between 40 horses and a first prize valued at almost £550,000, it’s easy to see why many punters would rather throw their couple of pound on the lotto numbers than on a horse.

Still the race has a special place in the sporting calendar and there are plenty of casual fans who will have a small flutter and then tune in this afternoon to see how their fancy gets on.

Rather than attempt any sort of scientific analysis — that would only end in tears — we’ve pulled together a few helpful hints that could help you pick the winner. They always seemed to work for the granny, at any rate.

1. The name

Rule number one: always back a horse with your name in it. If your name is Alan, imagine the scene in the pub tonight when Weird Al hacks up and all of your drinking buddies presume that you must have backed it: “It’s got the same name as you!”

Here are the “name” horses in this year’s field:

  • Weird Al
  • Roberto Goldback
  • Forpadytheplasterer
  • Oscar Time
  • Swing Bill
  • Rare Bob
  • Harry the Viking

2. The greys

There are people out there who love backing grey horses, particularly in the Grand National. Why? Well they’re beautiful animals and they’re easy to pick out in a crowd… but here’s the thing: a grey horse has only won on three occasions, including last year when Neptune Collonges crossed the line in front.

Here are this year’s contenders, grey fans:

  • Quel Esprit
  • Swing Bill
  • Chicago Grey
  • Tarquinius

3. The Irish

The patriots in rose-tinted glasses will always look for an Irish contender to lump on and there’s no shortage in this year’s field with 13 of the 40 horses saddled by Irish trainers. Be warned though — the last time an Irish-trained horse won was Gordon Elliott’s Silver Birch in 2007, although that did complete a run of three straight wins for the boys in green.

Here are the Irish chances this time:

  • Willie Mullins: Quel Esprit, On His Own, Quiscover Fontaine
  • Ted Walsh: Seabass, Colbert Station
  • Tom Cooper: Forpadytheplasterer
  • Paul Nolan: Joncol
  • Tom Taaffe: Treacle, Ninetieth Minute
  • Gordon Elliott: Chicago Grey, Tarquinius
  • Dessie Hughes: Rare Bob
  • Noel Glynn: Becauseicouldntsee

4. The ladies

Charlotte Brew made history back in 1977 when she became the first lady to ride in the Grand National, but no female jockey has ever won the race. The best-ever finish came last year when Katie Walsh partnered Seabass, trained by her father Ted, into an excellent third place.

Walsh is the only female jockey in this year’s field, teaming up with Seabass again. Could she make history?

  • Seabass (Katie Walsh)

5. The jockey

Some people prefer to back their favourite jockey rather than the horse underneath him — and sometimes it pays dividends. Barry Geraghty, AP McCoy, Ruby Walsh (twice) and Paul Carberry have all won the race in the past so they know what it takes to get the job done.

Or maybe it will be the turn of one of the new kids on the block like young Kerryman Bryan Cooper who rode his first Cheltenham Festival winners last month and has already been in the winner’s enclosure at Aintree this week.

  • Roberto Goldback (Barry Geraghty)
  • Colbert Station (AP McCoy)
  • On His Own (Ruby Walsh)
  • Chicago Grey (Paul Carberry)
  • Rare Bob (Bryan Cooper)

Have you any other tips for picking a winner? Who will you be backing in the Grand National today? Let us know in the comments below >

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