Andy MacKenzie, Marketing Communications Manager for sports and financial betting company Spreadex – the only bookmaker to offer fixed odds and spread betting from one account, explores the different markets that spread betting firms can offer over the Grand National.
It’s the one day of the year the country turns into a nation of gamblers as horses are backed due to their attractive or unusual names and when eye-catching jockey silks become the reason for a punt. Yep, it’s the Grand National on Saturday, 11th April 2015 at 4.15pm from Aintree with 40 runners and riders taking on the 4 miles 3 ½ furlongs in front of an anticipated watching TV audience of more than 500 million people.
So who will win the Grand National this year? Well, we all know someone who has their own theory on the best way to bet on the Grand National, but truth be told it’s the one race when form can go out of the window given the huge field, long distance and demanding fences. This is where spread betting can come into its own, given the huge range of markets that this form of betting provides. Below I have taken what I regard as the top 10 Grand National spread betting moments.
10. Neptune Collonges wins by a nose in 2012
With spread betting punters can bet on the eventual distance the winning horse will prevail by on the big day. But those wanting a more interesting bet can try the ‘Starting Price of the Winner x Lengths Won by’.
In 2012 33/1 shot Neptune Collonges won by a nose in a photo finish with Sunnyhillboy meaning this market settled at 1.65 (33 x 0.05). Spread betters who sold on Spreadex’s pre-race spread of 150 made 148.35 times their stake. Those who bought were left cursing the close finish.
9. Earth Summit and Suny Boy leave the rest of the field trailing in 1998
As well as betting on the eventual distance between the winning horse and second-placed horse, customers can also bet on the distance in lengths between the second and third placed horse.
In 1998 the first two home left the rest of the field trailing as third placed Samlee came in more than 30 lengths behind Suny Boy, who in turn was 11 lengths behind winner Earth Summit. Spreadex’s 2nd to 3rd Distances quote for this year’s National is 6.5 – 8 lengths.
8. Comply Or Die (wearing 33) wins from King Johns Castle (wearing 27) in 2008
When Comply or Die came home in 2007 it was a day of celebration for plenty of fixed odds punters who had backed the 7/1 joint favourite. But for spread betters who bought on the ‘Race Multi-Mules’ market, it was an even more joyful occasion.
Race Multi-Mules is based on the racecard number of the winning horse multiplied by the racecard number of the second horse, so in 2008 this made up at a massive 891. Those that play on this market might end up paying much closer attention to the number of the horse rather than its name or colour.
7. Only four horses finish as Red Marauder wins in 2001
40 horses and jockeys may line up at the start of the Grand National these days but usually far fewer manage to actually complete the demanding course.
In 2001, the year the National was first reduced to a maximum entry of 40 for safety reasons, only four horses managed to cross the finish line as Red Marauder, ridden by Richard Guest, triumphed. Spreadex’s quote for this year’s Number of Finishers is 16.5 – 18.
As well as spread betting on the number of finishers players can also bet on the Total Number of Fences jumped. If all 40 horses were to jump all 30 fences (of course, this has never been done) the theoretical maximum make-up of this market is 1,200.
So will this year’s total number of fences manage to beat the record of 954 set in 2013?
6. Mon Mome wins at a starting price of 100/1 in 2009
It’s great when you select a huge priced horse that defies the odds and comes in to win, just as Mon Mome did in 2009 at 100/1. However, as we all know, correctly picking exactly who that big price horse may be is extremely difficult.
Another way to try and benefit from a big priced winner is via the ‘SP of Winner’ market on the spreads. Spread betters who bought at 20 on a Spreadex quote of 18-20 in 2009 would have made 80 times their stake, but if any winner had come in with an SP higher than 20/1 it would have returned a profit. This year’s SP of Winner spread is 22 – 23.5.
Not only can punters bet on a big priced winner via spread betting, they can also try to predict whether the combined starting prices of the top four horses will be high or low?
In 2007 the SP of the top four horses settled at 178 as Silver Birch (33/1), McKelvey (12/1), Slim Pickings (33/1) and Philson Run (100/1) took the top four spots. Spread betters who bought on a spread of 91 – 97 with Spreadex that year would have made 81 times their stake, but those who sold were in for a painful experience. This year’s Placed Horse SPs quote is 96 – 102.
4. Amberleigh House wins in 2004 at the age of 12
Much of the talk of last year’s Grand National was whether Tidal Bay would become the oldest winner for more than 90 years at the age of 13. That failed to materialise as Tidal Bay ended being an early casualty at fence 8 before 11-year-old Pineau De Re came home as the eventual winner.
The oldest winner in recent years is Amberleigh House, who won by three lengths from Clan Royal at the age of 12 in 2004. This year Spreadex has a market on ‘Age of Winner x 10’.
3. Nine horses fall at the first fence in 2002
Much has been done to improve safety aspects of the famous race at Aintree and perhaps this helped all the horses safely jump the first in 2013. However, in 2002 nine horses failed to make it over the first in a race eventually won by 20/1 shot Bindaree.
With spread betting you can bet on the number of fallers at the first via the ‘1st Fence Casualties x 10’ market. This year’s quote is priced at 14 – 17 with Spreadex meaning people buy if they think there will be at least two fallers at the first or sell if they think there will be no more than one falling at the first.
2. Ballabriggs wins in 2011, coming in 214 lengths ahead of last finisher Piraya
Those that fancy a bet that will keep them watching the race until the very last horse finishes can try the ‘1st to Last Distances’ spread betting market. Here, the spread firms offer a quote on the number of lengths they think will separate the winner from the last runner home.
In 2011 Ballabriggs won by a massive 213.95 lengths from final finisher Piraya. Spread betters who bought at 145 on a spread of 135 – 145 made 68.95 times their stake. Those who sold couldn’t bear to wait to watch Piraya plod in.
1. Auroras Encore wins at 66/1 in 2013
Yes, there is more to spread betting than just picking the eventual winner. But for punters who do just want to bet on who is first past the post on the spreads, they might be interested in each horse’s Race Index spread.
Here, spread betting firms offer a spread based on horses being awarded points for where they finish in the race. For the Grand National it’s based on the top six finishers being awarded 100, 60, 30, 20, 10 and 5 points respectively. So generally you can buy if you think a horse will do well, or sell if you think it will do badly and wish to ‘get against’ it.
So when punters backed Auroras Encore last year by buying at 4 on a spread of 2-4, when the horse won the race its Race Index quote settled at 100 meaning profits of 96 times their original stake; more than the 66-1 returned on the fixed odds. However, those who sold at 2 would have been crying into their Crabbie’s having lost 98 times their original stake.