Ask anyone if they ever have a bet and the answer is usually always the same: “Yes, once a year on the Grand National.”
It is the most famous race in the world – and takes place this Saturday just round the corner at Aintree.
The four-mile 30-fence race is the single biggest betting event of the year with last year close on £200m wagered with an estimated one in four Brits having a flutter.
Everyone has a go from high rollers to housewives. This time the race will be under starters orders an hour later than usual so won’t clash with the football and will be broadcast on ITV rather than Channel 4 – two factors that will boost the numbers watching to a potential record of more than 600 million globally.
It was already going to be our busiest Saturday of the year with Premier league football at the top and bottom of the table continuing to surprise, a Betfred Super league season in full swing – and significantly golf’s showpiece event the US Masters.
Add the Chinese F1 Grand Prix to the mix and it is going to be a spectacular sporting weekend with all systems go at our 1,700 shops nationwide not to mention our betting hub at Birchwood here in Warrington which will be a hive of activity.
Of the 40 runners taking on the famous fences in what is sure to be a magical occasion at the 170th National – the ultimate spectacular stamina test – two horses are neck and neck in the early betting Vieux Lion Rouge and Definitely Red.
This year it is particularly close to call but all I would say is that the heavily-backed David Pipe-trained runner Vieux Lion Rouge has the all-important experience over the Liverpool track having won the Betfred Becher Chase in December – and of course the Betfred-sponsored Grand National Trial at Haydock in February.
Regular readers will know I’m a big yoga fan…and I am convinced the stars of Super League who we at Betfred sponsor would be foolish not to take advantage of my offer to train them in this most relaxing of pastimes. It was good enough for Ryan Giggs and will extend the careers and the reduce injury risk to the rugby league tough guys.
I offered up my services on Saturday ready for the lads at Warrington who were playing Hull. I hope you made a note of the day and were not taken in so I can’t unfortunately take any credit for the much improved performance by Tony Smith’s team who forced a creditable draw.
Next up for Wire are Leeds at home on Friday -and after getting their season underway against Hull start as slight favourites against the Rhinos who are flying having put last season’s woes behind them.