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Grand National: Some tips about stats of previous winners

What are the most popular winning jockey colours? How many times have 100-1 shots won?

The Grand National will be run today. Well, that’s if it doesn’t have too many false starts as it did back in 1993. It used to be my go-to horse race for betting. That and the Derby. But my punting picks have never had a whole lot to do with form. I often bet on either the odds (say 33-1) or the name, if I felt it had some relevance to me.

This year, for example, I might go for Definitly Red (40-1) because of my football allegiances and its long odds. By the way, the fact that I’m interested is probably a very strong reason to avoid backing it. I am struggling to remember ever having the winner of the National. But, having a bet on, to me, is a reason to enjoy watching it (or, at least, try to enjoy). I have never been one to back the favourite. Can’t see the point of putting on a quid and maybe getting four-and-a-half back.

The Grand National is often dubbed the most prestigious horse race in the world, regularly raking in millions in bets. The estimated global audience of the Grand National is over half a billion.

However, due to the uncertainty of the race, millions of first-time punters and even horse race experts struggle to pinpoint which horse is going to take home the mammoth £561,000 first place prize. 

With this in mind, the experts at decided to investigate every winning horse since the race began in 1839 to uncover the most common characteristics of winning horses, potentially determining who could be in with a chance at this year’s race.

Key points

  • According to historical data, Cloth Cap is most likely to win the 2021 Grand National.
  • The most common Grand National winning horse is in the 10-stone range.
  • The most common age of a Grand National winning horse is nine years old.
  • Jockeys who wear green have won the most Grand Nationals in the past 50 years.
  • Nearly 50% of horses with one-word names have won the Grand National.
  • The most popular first initial of a Grand National winning trainer is ‘J’ with 25 wins.

The horses to look out for in the 2021 Grand National

Horse nameRiding coloursAgeWeightTrainerOddsMatching characteristics with previous winners (riding colours, age, weight, trainer first initial, horse first initial)
Cloth CapGreen and Yellow910-5Jonjo O’Neil7-2 Favourite4
Any Second NowGreen and Yellow910-9T Walsh10-13
Kimberlite CandyGreen and Yellow910-10T Lacey12-13
Class ContiGreen910-6W Mullins33-13
The Long MileGreen and Yellow710-4J P Dempsey40-13

From this year’s expected line-up, it is hard to look past Cloth Cap who perfectly matches the age, weight, trainers name and jockey colours of a typical Grand National winner, following’s analysis. Trainer Jonjo O’Neill’s horse is currently placed as the bookies’ favourite and will undoubtedly be a popular choice come race day.

The following four horses all match three characteristics of previous Grand National winners but are ranked due to their current odds in the upcoming race. Next is Any Second Now and Kimberlite Candy with both horses matching the age, weight and riding colours of typical Grand National winners. 

Although currently placed as an outsider at 33-1 by Paddy PowerClass Conti ranks next after matching the weight, age and riders’ colours of previous National winners.

Finally, The Long Mile places fifth after matching the most common jockey riding colours, weight and the first letter of the trainer’s name of previous winners.

Previous Grand National winning characteristics

Jockey riding colours

Colour of winning jockey shirt (past 51 years)No. of winners%

Many of us choose our horses based on their colours alone, so look out for jockeys with the colour green on their jerseys as they have accounted for the most winners from the last 51 years with 12 wins.


Age of winning horseNo. of winners%

The age of Grand National winning horses has ranged from 5 to 15 years old. We can reveal that the most common age of a Grand National winning horse is 9, with 47 winners.


Average weight range of winner (stone)No. of winners%

The average weight of previous Grand National winners ranges from 9 stone to 12 stone. The most common weight of a Grand National winning horse is in the 10 stone range, with 53% of winners weighing in between 10 stone 1 pound to 10 stone 12 pounds.

Horses’ first initial (top 5)

First letter in horse nameNo. of winners%
A & T137

Horses’ names that begin with ‘R’ have proven to be the most successful at winning the Grand National, three of those wins were down to Red Rum, the most successful Grand National horse in history.

Trainers first initial (top 5)

First letter in trainer nameNo. of winners%

Look out for trainers’ names that begin with the letter ‘J’ in this year’s race, trends have shown that the winning horse has been won 25 times by this lucky initial.

First initial in jockey name

First letter in jockey nameNo. of winners%
J & T2715

Although the riders are not confirmed until closer to race day, be sure to have your eye on jockeys’ names that begin with the letters ‘J or T’ as they have won the prestigious race a mammoth 27 times each!

Other interesting stats

  • No. of times the favourite or joint favourite has won – 28 times
  • No. of times a horse with 100-1 odds has won – five times


  1. collated figures from Wikipedia to find a list of winners from every Grand National since its inception in 1839.
  2. Excluded years: 1916-18, World War I; 1941-45, World War II; 1993, void race; and 2020, COVID-19 pandemic.
  3. They looked at the following characteristics of the race winners to see if there were any common factors: age, weight, jockeys riding colours, first letter in the horse’s name and first letter in the trainer’s name.
  4. All data collected dates back to the first race in 1839, with the exception of jockey shirt colours. Only data from the last 51 years was collected as that was all that was available. Source: jockey winning colours.
  5. The percentages were worked out by dividing the number of wins by the total number of races then multiplying by 100 to get the overall percentage.
  6. They utilised to find this year’s runners and their corresponding odds. Odds were taken from Paddy Power on the 29th of March 2021 and are subject to change.
  7. This allowed to create a ranking of which horses could potentially do well in 2021 based on the list of criteria from previous winners. 

David Buckley

Dave Buckley is a career journalist. “I once went painting girders for a week and discovered I didn’t like heights,” he says. “Apart from that it has always been journalism for me in one form or another.” Past local weekly publications he has worked for include: the South-East London Mercury* covering the Borough of Greenwich as a junior reporter; Orpington-based News Shopper as a sub-editor; and the Kent Messenger when based in Larkfield, Maidstone, as deputy chief sub-editor. He has also worked for the following dailies/nationals: Daily Express, Today*, News of the World* and Hong Kong Star*. All those marked with an asterisk no longer exist (trend emerging?). He owned and edited a Thailand-based property magazine before returning to England and currently works as a production editor on a car fleet magazine. His first foray into property ownership saw him move from London to Rainham (the Gillingham, Kent, variety). He has subsequently lived in Chislehurst, Petts Wood and Orpington in the Borough of Bromley (which he still regards as being in Kent). In more recent years he owned three different properties on the Kings Hill (West Malling) development.

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