The secret to Grand National success
The scale of Grand National Day is not to be underestimated. Turnover is likely to be in the region of £35m across both brands, so it is possible we could be managing the biggest ever individual fieldbook on a horse race tomorrow.
There is an art to managing a book of this magnitude and Head of Racing James Knight has given us an insight into the thought process behind our position for this truly unique occasion.
“Unlike any other race in the entire year, our positioning has not been driven by form opinions, but more by the expected turnover we are likely to see for each horse,” James told us. “Our goal when trading the race will be to create as balanced a book as we can, so the sensible strategy for the morning prices is to be competitive about the horses that we think will be unpopular with the ‘once-a-year’ punters and be less competitive about the horses that we think will be backed by the public regardless – perhaps because they have a catchy name or popular jockey.”
So what does that strategy look like in practice? “Whatever you think of their form chance, Vieux Lion Rouge, Tenor Nivernais, Ucello Conti, Ballynagour, Vicente, Saphir Du Rheu, Raz De Maree, Shantou Flyer, Le Mercurey, Roi Des Francs and La Vaticane all have pretty desperate names that are very hard to latch on to, so they are horses we will be happy to lay at top prices in the morning,” James explained. In contrast: “Horses at bigger prices that we think could attract the housewives' fivers include Wonderful Charm, Saint Are, Rogue Angel, Thunder and Roses, Drop Out Joe and Cocktails at Dawn.”
As for the horse we should all be cheering against, it comes from the front end of the market. “We expect Definitly Red (10-1) to be the best backed horse due to having ‘Red’ in the name and he is likely to be our worst result come the off,” James said. “Last year’s second, The Last Samuri will also likely be well supported, along with the attractively named Blaklion and the obvious ‘name’ horse, One For Arthur.”