The thrills and spills around Aintree’s four miles and two furlongs course is a phenomenon that no sporting event can match.
Forty horses go hell for leather over some of the world’s toughest national hunt fences, but only one can claim victory – and it takes a majestic horse to do so.
Millions of people will be watching from around the world, but what horses are likely to fight out the finish in the big race?
Well, it takes quite an astute tipster to find the winner but many people achieve this feat year after year. Most punters will look towards the head of the market in search of the winner and with the quality on offer this year, that theory should reap the benefits.
Some shrewd judges have suggested that this year’s Grand National will be won by a horse at the head of the betting as the handicap isn’t as compressed as it is in most years.
The horse catching most people’s attention at this stage is the well backed ante-post favourite On His Own, who is just a 13/2 with Paddy Power.
Just seeing how short the price is will give people an idea of just how well fancied the Willie Mullins charge is. Rarely is a horse this short in the betting for a Grand National at this stage, and that price could even shorten up if jockey Ruby Walsh decides to take the ride.
Come the day, once the Irish get stuck in, then On His Own could be nearer a 4/1 shot than a 13/2 chance.
His credentials only further enhance his claims.
Mullins’ charge was running a huge race in last year’s Grand National before making an out of character mistake and falling on the second circuit.
There was every chance that the way he was jumping and travelling suggested he would have been right in the frame to finish in the first four. However, every cloud does have a silver lining, and that fall has meant that his handicap mark has stayed the same for this year’s renewal.
He ran a great prep-race in Ireland with an impressive win over hurdles and he looked to have improved physically, which bodes well for his National chances.
Obviously, for many punters On His Own won’t be a valid betting proposition due to his skinny odds, so each-way punters are looking elsewhere.
Their focus seems to be on Teaforthree as a potential Grand National winning horse, who can be backed at 16/1 with William Hill.
Trained by the promising Rebecca Curtis, Teaforthree looks ideally suited to the demands of Aintree despite never actually racing there.
His performances when winning the National Hunt Chase at the Cheltenham Festival along with the way he battled to finish second in the Welsh Grand National are key pointers that he will relish the test of Aintree.
His handicap mark is a little bulky but connections seem confident that he will be able to carry a monster weight around Aintree with no problems.
But it’s not just about the Grand National on the Saturday; there are six other top-class races for punters to get stuck into.
Races like The John Smith’s Maghull Novices’ Chase and the John Smith’s Liverpool Hurdle provide the perfect build-up to the John Smith’s Grand National itself at 4.15pm.
Betting wise, keeping an eye on Celestial Halo in the Liverpool Hurdle could prove a profitable punt.
Owner Andy Stewart won’t be able to run Big Buck’s but Celestial Halo showed at Cheltenham Stewart could still win this race for the sixth year running.