Grand National: How do the favourites fare?

Cloth Cap is currently as short as 7/2 for the Grand National
Cloth Cap is currently as short as 7/2 for the Grand National

The 2021 Grand National features a heavy favourite in the form of Cloth Cap, who, though should rightfully be at the top of the market, is as short as 7/2 to claim the most famous steeplechase in the world. With his price edging into the territory of unbackable for such a brutal and unpredictable race, we’ve looked back on the results of the race since the turn of the millennium to see if stats are on Cloth Cap’s side.

How many favourites have won?

Including joint-favourites, we have only seen four winning favourites of the Grand National since 2000, with two of them - Comply Or Die (2008, 7/1) and Don’t Push It (2010, 10/1) falling into the aforementioned joint-favourite category. The two stand alone favourites to taste success on Merseyside have been Hedgehunter (2005, 7/1) and the most recent winner of the race, Tiger Roll (2019, 4/1), who was also the shortest-priced favourite of this century, just ahead of Hedgehunter who was 5/1 when going for his double in 2006. 

Grand National Odds

How many favourites have been single-figure prices?

Of the 20 renewals of the race since 2000, 16 have been single-figure prices, with the remainder of the double-figure prices all being 10/1 joint-favourites. The mean average starting price of the favourites is 7.6/1, with three of the winning favourites coming below this price.

What has been the fate of the favourites?

As previously mentioned, four of the favourites (including all joint-favourites) have won -  giving them a 20% strike-rate per year. 16 of them have completed the course with ten of them having placed (Top five), while six have finished outside of the placing. 12 have failed to complete the course, with five pulled-up, five falling and two unseating. So statistically, the favourites do tend to complete the gruelling 4m2f contest, and you have a high chance of them placing - though at 7/2 that’s not much good with Cloth Cap!

How have the outsiders fared?

It may be no surprise that in a race with 40 runners, 30 fences jumped and over four miles contested that the outsiders tend to fare well when taking on the favourites. We’ve had 16 winners of the event - 80% - come from the outsiders since the turn of the century, with the most famous being Mon Mome, who landed the prize at 100/1 in 2009. In fact, the mean average starting-price of Grand National winners this century is 24/1, so it may be worth to look down the market for an each-way play rather than backing the short-priced favourite.

How the favourites have fared since 2000

  • 2019 - TIGER ROLL 4/1 - WON
  • 2018 - TOTAL RECALL 7/1 - Pulled Up
  • 2017 - BLAKLION 8/1 - 4th
  • 2016 - THE LAST SAMURI 8/1 JF - 2nd, MANY CLOUDS 8/1 JF - 16th
  • 2015 - SHUTTHEFRONTDOOR 6/1 - 5th
  • 2014 - DOUBLE SEVEN 10/1 JF - 3rd, TEAFORTHREE 10/1 JF - Unseated Rider
  • 2013 - SEABASS 11/2 - 13th
  • 2012 - SEABASS 8/1 JF - 3rd, SHAKALAKABOOMBOOM 8/1 JF - 9th
  • 2011 - THE MIDNIGHT CLUB 15/2 - 6th
  • 2010 - DON’T PUSH IT 10/1 JF - WON, BIG FELLA THANKS 10/1 JF - 4th
  • 2009 - BUTLER’S CABIN 7/1 - 7th
  • 2008 - COMPLY OR DIE 7/1 JF - WON, CLOUDY LANE 7/1 JF 6th
  • 2007 - POINT BARROW 8/1 CF - Fell, JOE’S EDGE 8/1 CF - Pulled Up, MONKERHOSTIN 8/1 CF - Refused
  • 2006 - HEDGEHUNTER 5/1 JF - 2nd, CLAN ROYAL 5/1 JF - 3rd
  • 2005 - HEDGEHUNTER 7/1 - WON
  • 2004 - CLAN ROYAL 10/1 CF - 2nd, BINDAREE 10/1 CF - Unseated Rider, JOSS NAYLOR 10/1 CF - Pulled Up, JURANCON II 10/1 CF - Fell
  • 2003 - SHOTGUN WILLY 7/1 - Pulled Up
  • 2002 - BLOWING WIND 8/1 - 3rd
  • 2001 - EDMOND 10/1 CF - Fell, INIS CARA 10/1 CF - Fell, MORAL SUPPORT 10/1 CF - Refused
  • 2000 - DARK STRANGER 9/1 - Unseated Rider
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