Grand National Ante Post Betting Guide – Everything You Need to Know Before the Event

16 August 2019
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The Grand National is arguably the most famous horse race in the world. It is known as The People’s Race because it attracts once a year punters who don’t bet on any other race. The Grand National is also huge for ante post betting and bookmakers publish odds for the race immediately after the Grand National the previous year. Ante post betting on Grand National increases after the weights are announced in February. The race generally takes place on the first or second Saturday in April at Aintree Racecourse which is about five miles from Liverpool.

Grand National betting in 2020 will be dominated by Tiger Roll who if running will be tying to be the first horse to win the race in three consecutive years. However, the owners have announced if the horse is allocated too much weight the Grand National is not an option but making history could be tempting. Tiger Roll could be the subject of Grand National ante post tips.

The Basics Of Grand National Ante Post Betting

Traditional online bookmakers offer markets on three types of betting: pre-match, in-play and ante post. Customers like to place ante post bets on the major championship races at the Cheltenham Festival and Royal Ascot and standalone races such as the Derby on the Flat and the Grand National over jumps.

The Grand National is the biggest betting race of the year and as such bookmakers issue ante post odds up to 12 months before the race. Plenty of pundits will be suggesting Grand National ante post tips.

The Grand National course at Aintree and the conditions make the Grand National a unique race. It is the longest jumps race of the season and the fences are different to the conventional fences jumped in any other steeplechase. That means bookmakers factor in previous form in the race when compiling their Grand National ante post betting.

Many horses run in the race more than once and if a horse is suited to the race conditions bookmakers adjust the odds.

The Grand National is a great opportunity for bookmakers to attract new accounts. Millions of people only do Grand National betting so will be looking for the best odds or bookmakers who offer a generous welcome bonus. The attraction and competitive nature of the race means bookmakers offer extra places and enhanced odds.

The major UK betting brands, such as William Hill, bet365, Ladbrokes, Paddy Power, Betfair, Betfred and Unibet, all provide Grand National ante post betting for the 2020 race.

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Grand National Ante Post Betting: The Potential Pitfalls

Ante post betting has its inherent risks but there are also benefits. Bettors who invest in a Grand National ante post bet up to a year in advance of the race could potentially be holding a great bet but there is a downside.

The stake money is tied-up for several months and the bet is subject to price changes. The race often produces plenty of Grand National ante post tips.

The following potential pitfalls should be considered when thinking about ante post betting for Grand National:

The backed horse might not run in the Grand National

Bookmakers are happy to take ante post bets on any future race because if a backed horse is withdrawn before the day of the race stakes are not refunded. Several bookmakers introduce the Non-Runner/No Bet concession in the weeks leading up to the race.

Once this rule has been introduced backed horses who are pulled out of the race count as non-runners for bet placement purposes. The Grand National has a maximum field of 40 runners but many more are quoted in the betting.

A horse could suffer an injury, not qualify or be targeted at another race and hence not run. Bettors should take this into account when making bets on the Grand National.

The best odds are not guaranteed

The attraction of ante post betting on any future horse race is the potential for better odds than available on the day of the race. Bookmakers have to provide potential bettors with an incentive to lock up money for up to 12 months.

That incentive might be extra places or enhanced odds or simply the potential for better odds than the Starting Price on the day of the race.

Even getting to the line-up for the Grand National is not assured because horses are susceptible to injury and loss of form. A horse who runs well in the autumn could underperform in spring which means the Grand National ante post betting odds offer less value than the odds on the day of the race. Horses can shorten but also drift in ante post betting on Grand National.

Grand National Ante Post Betting

Changes in ground conditions and the field make-up

The Grand National is run over four miles and two and a half furlongs and there are 30 obstacles. That’s two circuits of Aintree Racecourse and there are 16 fences on the first circuit and 14 fences the second time around.

The distance was reduced a few years ago to take the start away from the stands but the intrinsic nature of the Grand National has remained unaltered for over 100 years. However, if there is a great deal of rain in the weeks leading up to the race, the going could change from good to soft.

Formerly unconsidered horses could enter the betting after running significant trials. Other runners could experience a dip in form so there is always the potential for the odds to change in Grand National ante post betting. These factors are important when assessing the best Grand National ante post tips.

Not being able to claim Grand National special offers

As the race approaches there is an increase in media coverage, both in the mainstream media and racing Press. Potential bettors become aware of the race and look for offers from bookmakers. This promotional activity reaches a peak on the day of the race and potential customers are faced with a barrage of offers.

Any bet placed in Grand National ante post betting will not qualify for these offers which means customers miss out. In the days leading up to the race bookmakers will introduce a range of offers. Typically in previous years the range of offers included enhanced odds, extra places, refund for a horse that falls and money back for finishing second behind the favourite.

These offers do not apply to most Grand National ante post betting.

The Benefits of Grand National Ante Post Betting

An ante post bet up to 12 months in advance of the Grand National is a significant commitment. There are obvious risks but they can be offset by a number of benefits. The advantages of ante post betting on Grand National are published by the bookmakers and the main ones are described below:

The potential for better value

Ante post bettors are attracted by the potential for some value in the odds. A punter may have some information about a horse that is not in the public domain. A shrewd gambler may recognise qualities in a horse that have not been fully exposed by the form.

Information is key and a potential bettor who has some specialist knowledge can gain an edge over the bookmakers and identify some value. A well-informed bettor may believe a potential runner will be a shorter price on the day of the race than in ante post betting on Grand National.

Better odds than on race day

The art of bookmaking is to offer odds on outcomes of an event to attract balanced betting across all the options. The Grand National ante post betting market is framed with many potential runners in mind.

Bookmakers know some of these horses will not run in the Grand National so they can offer better odds in ante post betting than on the day of the race.

The field is limited to 40 runners so many horses quoted in Grand National ante post betting will not run. Bets on non-runners are not refunded which means bookmakers can afford to offer better odds in Grand National ante post betting. These factors are important elements of Grand National ante post tips.

Grand National Ante Post Betting Rules

Grand National Ante Post Betting Rules

Ante post betting on horse racing is straightforward and there are no hidden rules or restrictions. Bookmakers may restrict stakes on big-priced horses but this practice is less likely in Grand National ante post betting.

The race attracts massive turnover over up to one year so bookmakers have plenty of time to adjust their odds and balance the books. However, certain rules do apply across the board and these rules have to be considered before placing bets on ante post betting for Grand National especially when the bets are based on Grand National ante post tips:

Non-runners are losing bets

In the early stages of Grand National betting any non-runners are seen as losers for bet settlement purposes. If a horse is deemed to be a non-runner all stakes are returned. Ante post bets are classed as runners so stakes on withdrawn horses are not returned.

This rule gives bookmakers a significant edge and allows them to be flexible with their odds for the remaining runners. This rule applies across the industry until the introduction of non-runner/no bet. This rule should be considered when identifying Grand National ante post tips.

Odds at the time of the bet apply

Bets placed in Grand National ante post betting are settled at the odds at the time of placing the bet. Many bookmakers offer Best Odds Guaranteed (BOG) but this promise is only introduced the night before the race or the morning of the race.

Most bets in Grand National ante post betting are paid out at the price when the bet is accepted. Horses may drift or shorten in the betting which means the Starting Price is different to the ante post price but the latter applies for bet settlement.

Non-runner/no bet (NRNB)

Grand National ante post betting increases when bookmakers introduce the non-runner/no bet rule. This usually happens in mid-March for a race that takes place early in April. The rule provides insurance against a horse being withdrawn before the day of the race.

The NRNB concession also comes into play if a horse does not qualify for the race. The maximum field is 40 runners but many more horses will have been quoted in Grand National ante post betting so stakes are returned for non-runners.

The Grand National And Betting Exchanges

Potential bettors on ante post betting for Grand National should consider a betting exchange. These operators allow customers to back and accept bets on outcomes. The betting exchange brings backers and layers together to match bets. The leading firms in this field introduce Grand National ante post betting up to 12 months before the race takes place.

The operator makes money on commission and not the difference between bets and payouts. Betting exchanges can offer better odds and provide a mechanism for laying Grand National bets
Betting exchanges do not apply NRNB and all horses are considered runners even those who don’t take part.

Betting exchange activity is a major part of ante post betting for Grand National. A layer can in effect place a bet on a horse not winning as long as a counter bettor wants to back the same horse. The bet is struck at a mutually beneficial price and there is a backer and layer.

If a horse is withdrawn the lay bet wins and bets are settled accordingly. The customer who layed the outcome has a winning bet ahead of the race because the horse did not win the Grand National.

Back bets placed during Grand National ante post betting can be cashed out to guarantee a profit or limit the loss regardless of the outcome. The back price could be 20/1 and shorten to 10/1 which puts the backer in a strong trading position. The cash out value depends on the original stake and odds and the odds at the time of the cash out stake.

If the odds move in favour of the bet, the bettor can lock in a profit even if the backed horse does not win the Grand National. Conversely, the payout is restricted if the odds move in the opposite direction.

Grand National Back And Lay Example

Let’s assume the horse is backed at 33/1 with the betting exchange of fixed odds bookmakers and the lay price with the betting exchange is 20/1. If the stake unit is £10 here are the bets and potential outcomes:

Backed and layed horse wins the Grand National:

  • £10 back bet at 33/1 means a profit of £330.
  • £10 lay bet at 20/1 means a loss of £200.
  • Net profit of £130.

Backed and layed horse does not win the Grand National:

  • £10 back bet at 33/1 means a loss of £10.
  • £10 lay bet at 20/1 means a profit of £10.
  • Break even which equates to a free bet.

This illustration shows the value of using a betting exchange rather than a fixed odds bookmaker when considering ante post betting for Grand National. The odds on offer are generally better with a betting exchange than traditional bookmaker.

However, the back bet has to be matched with a lay bet and sometimes this is not possible at the advertised odds. The stake could be fully or partially matched or the market could reject the bet which means the odds have to be reduced. A good source of information for these bets is Grand National ante post tips.

The mechanics of an exchange are an important element of any Grand National ante post betting. If the odds move in favour of the bet, the betting exchange can be used to lay a horse that was previously backed at better odds.

It is common for shrewd bettors to back a horse in anticipation of a good trial for the Grand National. The odds on the impressive winner of a key trail or prep race may fall significantly which means the backer is in a strong trading position in ante post betting on Grand National.

Grand National Ante Post Betting Closing Comments

Betting is not an exact science and certainly Grand National ante post betting is vulnerable to many variables. This comment applies to Grand National ante post tips.

The circumstances may change in favour of the bettor or conversely events could transpire against bet. Betting on the Grand National is subject to many ifs, buts and maybes.

In any fluctuating betting market there are winners and losers and this applies more often with Grand National ante post betting. A customer could be holding a valuable ticket or a losing bet depending on events leading up to the race and the vagaries of betting.

Here is a summary of the factors that can influence Grand National betting:

  • Injuries.
  • Loss of form.
  • Improvement in other horses.
  • Weight allocation.
  • Weather conditions that affect the going.
  • Special bookmaker offers.

A horse could have been backed at 50/1 and is 20/1 on the day of the race or 100/1 on race day or not even in the field. Ante post betting based on Grand National ante post tips and personal opinions has ups and downs and that will certainly be the case for the 2020 Grand National.

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