There are many ways to pick your Grand National runner.
Some people go by names or follow their favourite jockeys, or maybe draw their pick in a sweepstake.
But if you want to improve your chances of finding the winner, follow these four simple rules when making your selection.
Horses for courses
Look for horses with previous form around the Grand National course.
The unique test presented by the track requires technique, spring and speed, and a horse experiencing it for the first time is often at a disadvantage.
Stamina is an essential asset for the Grand National. Nine of the last ten winners had won over at least three miles, so cross any runner who doesn’t meet this requirement off your list.
There is nothing worse than seeing your horse loom up three out only to have jelly legs up the run-in.
Class will out
The Grand National has evolved in recent years. With the £1 million prize fund it has attracted a classier type of horse, the likes of Mon Mome, Neptune Collonges, Many Clouds, Rule The World and Tiger Roll were proven in Graded company.
While you obviously need a horse who stays and jumps well, pay particular attention to horses with the class to have contested Graded races.
Don’t bank on one
Last year longtime Grand National favourite Blaklion was gone after the first fence and it wasn’t even his fault.
The Grand National is not the lottery its reputation suggests, but 40 runners give plenty of opportunity for even the biggest certainty to come a cropper.
Reduce your stakes if need be, but your money is much more likely to last if you spread it around multiple runners – three or four is normally a good number.
The vital statistics for the world’s greatest steeplechase
● Aged eight to 11, ten winners in last ten runnings
● Won over at least 3m, 9/10
● Between three and six runs since the start of August, 9/10
● At least one top-three finish in last three runs, 9/10
● Finished in the first three in a race over at least 3m2f, 9/10
● Officially rated 143-157, 8/10
● Won chase worth at least £29,000, 8/10
● No more than one win that season, 7/10
● Achieved best RPR within previous 12 months last time out, 7/10
● Carried no more than 11st, 7/10
● 10-16 runs over fences, 7/10 (all exceptions had between 23-27 chase starts)
Each-way at 33-1 generally
Irish trainers saddled five of the first six home last year and they have seven of the top ten in the weights this year, but at this stage I think it might be worth siding with one of the best trainers of staying chasers in Britain and Grand National specialist Nigel Twiston-Davies, who runs Ballyoptic.
An unlucky second in the Scottish National last season, the nine-year-old has plenty of classy form including when defeating Bellshill and Balko Des Flos in a Grade 1 novice hurdle at Aintree and he beat Elegant Escape by 13 lengths on his chasing debut last season.
Ballyoptic came down in the Becher Chase on his reappearance but had jumped really well up until getting in too close. He had a rushed preparation for the Welsh National but ran respectably in the circumstances under a big weight and Aintree has always been his target.