The Grand National: Not A Grand Affair

Will you be one of the thousands of students betting on the Grand National?

An estimated 600 million people will be watching tomorrow’s Grand National, gambling £120 million between them. For the financially stretched student, this year’s race should provide a perfect opportunity to win some extra spending money for the term ahead.

Racing is often portrayed as a pastime reserved for the good and the great and not cash-strapped students, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Many race courses offer cut-price (and sometimes even free) entry, making a day at the races no more expensive than a trip to the pub or a spree on Gloucester Road.

After an inaugural outing to Cheltenham last year, one student told The Tab: “I’m hooked. This is such a great way of getting away from work for an afternoon and the whole day costs less than a ticket to Motion!”

Look at all those happy faces! (Photo: Lulu Gayford)

Given the low costs it’s hardly surprising student interest in horse racing is rising. One company, ‘Student Racing’, has been set up purely to cater to this growing crowd of punters. Its CEO Mike Spence, an ex-Newcastle undergrad, insists “students and the younger generation are the key to the future of racing”.

Many universities now have their own racing societies which work in tandem with such companies to provide students with bargain price tickets and often transport to and from the courses.

Saddling up at Cheltenham (Photo: Laura Lambert)

A grueling test of stamina like no other race, the Grand National is a real lottery and it’s very rare for an odds-on favourite to win. For example if you had £2 on last year’s winner, you would have walked away with a whopping return of £68.

There have even been a handful of winners who started the race at 100-1, the most recent being Venetia Williams’ Mon Mome in 2009 and the most ridiculous being Foinavon in 1967.

So this year why not have a go? Be a part of sporting history, spice up a boring Saturday afternoon revising and be in with a shot of clearing that overdraft.

No amount of racing knowledge guarantees you’ll pick a winner, so there’s really no better time to have a bet. Why not choose one with a nice name, pretty colours or your lucky number?

If you do manage to pick correctly and bet only £1, the absolute minimum you could walk away with is about £9. Or if you want to increase your chances (highly recommended) then make an each-way selection. This costs double but with 40 runners set to start, it’s the sensible option.

If you don’t fancy handing money over to a bookmakers, then why not try a sweep-stake at home. Here’s everything you need.

Whatever you choose to do; good luck and happy betting!