Which horse has carried the most weight to victory in the Grand National?

In recent years, the maximum weight that any horse can carry in the Grand National is 11st

10lb. Indeed, since the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) lowered the maximum weight carried from 11st 12lb to 11st 10lb in 2009, the highest weight carried to victory in the Grand National is 11st 9lb, by Many Clouds in 2015. However, looking further back in the history of the Grand National, certain horses have been encumbered with eye-watering amounts of weight.

The first ‘official’ running of the Grand National, as the Grand Liverpool Steeplechase, took place in 1839 and was won by Lottery, trained by George Dockeray, carrying 12st 0lb. However, when Lottery returned to Aintree for the 1841 Grand National such was his perceived superiority over the opposition that the racecourse authority decreed that he must carry a penalty, of 18lb, which increased his weight to a staggering 13st 4lb. Remarkably, Lottery still started favourite, at 5/2, but was pulled up at Becher’s Brook on the second circuit. An even more astonishing weight-carrying performance was recorded in 1900, when Manifesto – who had already won his second Grand National, under 12st 7lb the previous year – humped 12st 13lb into third place. Manifesto aside, three other horses, namely Cloister (1893), Jerry M (1912) and Poethyln (1919) carried 12st 7lb to victory in the Grand National.

Do outsiders often win the Grand National?

The Grand National in variably attracts whole host of once-a-year punters dreaming of striking it rich by backing an outsider at hugely rewarding odds. However, such wishful thinkers would do well to remember that, in 172 runnings of the celebrated steeplechase, just five horses have won at treble figure odds. The last two 100/1 winners were Mon Mome (2009) and Foinavon (1967), while further back in Grand National history Caughoo (1947), Gregalach (1929) and Tipperary Tim (1928) also scored equally unlikely victories. It is also worth noting that Tipperary Tim and Foinavon took advantage of mid-race pile-ups and Gregalach and Caughoo were part of the two largest Grand National fields in history, 66 and 57, respectively.

Four horses have won the Grand National at odds of 66/1, the last being Auroras Encore (2013), while the last of the four 50/1 winners was Last Suspect (1985). Seven horses have prevailed at odds of 40/1, the last being Royal Athlete (1995) but, interestingly, all four 33/1 winners, the last of which was Rule The World (2016), have been victorious since the turn of the twenty-first century. So, percentage-wise, in 172 runnings of the Grand National, just 24 winners, or roughly 14%, have been returned at odds of 33/1 or longer. If we also consider 25/1 winners, of which Many Clouds (2015) was the last of fourteen, the number of winners increases to 38, or roughly 22%.