Aintree Racecourse, due to its hosting of the world famous Grand National, is one of the better-known tracks on the circuit.
Known colloquially among trainers as Liverpool due to its location, Aintree is the venue for a number of high-profile handicap hurdle and chase races during the National Hunt Season.
The Old Roan Chase is the first major betting race of the campaign in October here, with the December meeting featuring races run over the Grand National fences, making them trials for the big one in April.
The Grand National Festival is a three-day affair featuring millions in prize money and some great handicap events and this is when the most money is traded in horse racing, at least after the Cheltenham Festival anyway.
Aintree Track Details
It’s important to remember from a handicap betting point of view that there are two tracks here, the Grand National course and the Mildmay course.
The former is more or less triangular with its crucial point being the famous Canal Turn. Even without significant undulations to tackle, those not able to handle the tight turn while jumping a notoriously stiff fence.
The latter course is visibly sharper than the National course with more stiff fences of its own, knocking out the idea that the Mildmay is automatically easier than the National course.
Aintree’s courses are known for being flat but despite this, jockeys report it to often be testing and so horses who have a high cruising speed and don’t run in snatches are favoured.
As well as this, those still racing within themselves a few from home do well because of the home turn being so far out from the line. Runners need to have plenty left in the tank when push is coming to shove, something evidenced by many a late turnaround and some near misses in the Grand National over the years.
Top Trainers and Jockeys
One handicap betting angle is to check out who has been doing well at Aintree in recent times. The top trainers in terms of strike-rate are:
- Dan Skelton
- Nicky Henderson
- Willie Mullins
- Evan Williams
- Harry Fry
- Gordon Elliott
The better-performing jockeys at the track are:
- Harry Skelton
- Sean Bowen
- Nico De Boinville
- Davy Russell
- Danny Cook
- Richard Johnson
- Sam Twiston-Davies
- Robbie Power
Major Handicap Races at Aintree
Aintree’s major Grade 1 events are naturally all weight-for-age contests, but six of their biggest betting races are all major handicaps including the biggest wagering race in the country.
Look out for these races during the season, all of which are huge betting events in their own right.
|Red Rum Handicap Chase||Grand National Festival, April||Grade 3||2 miles|
|Gaskells Handicap Hurdle||Grand National Festival, April||Grade 3||3 miles, 110 yards|
|Grand National Handicap Chase||Grand National Festival, April||Grade 3||4 miles, 2 furlongs, 74 yards|
|Old Roan Chase||October Meeting||Grade 2||2 miles, 4 furlongs|
|Grand Sefton Steeplechase||December Meeting||Class 2||2 miles, 5 furlongs, 110 yards|
|Becher Chase||December Meeting||Grade 3||3 miles, 2 furlongs|