Ah, the Grand National. The one time a year when people who know nothing about horse racing feel compelled to have a flutter. And if you know nothing about it, how do you know where to put your money?
It turns out almost half of us just go on the horse’s name. A lot of us choose our favourite colour too, or the jockey with our lucky number on their back.
This kind of ‘flutter bias’ must, then, artificially inflate the odds of certain horses. Which means you’ll get better odds by picking a horse that doesn’t look or sound like a winner. (If you’ve seen or read Moneyball, this tactic might feel familiar.)
With that in mind, here’s how we used ‘behavioural science’* to eliminate all the runners with potentially inflated odds, and settled on Ucello Conti.
Horses with names that sneakily suggest speed, strength or victory are first to go:
Road to Riches
Total Recall (how could Arnie lose?)
Minella Rocco (number 1 on the jersey)
Pleasant Company (jersey looks like a finish line)
Names that sound authoritative are out too:
Three-word names too (because three-worders have won for the last two years):
Baie Des Iles
The Last Samuri
I Just Know
Gas Line Boy
Vieux Lion Rouge
Raz De Maree
Houblon Des Obeaux
Bless The Wings
Chase The Spud
Alpha Des Obeaux
Thunder and Roses (reserve)
Blue’s the UK’s favourite colour, so all the blue shirts have to go:
Walk in the Mill (reserve)
Jockeys with stars on their shirts too (because only good things have stars):
You might have heard of these, but that doesn’t mean they’re likely to win:
Saint Are (a seven-time runner)
Vintage Clouds (reserve, not to be confused with Many Clouds, the winner in 2015)
Place names people might recognise have to go too:
Pendra (it’s a town in India)
People‘s names too:
All of which leaves these three:
We reckon those could all be under-valued. But in the end we settled on Ucello Conti because foreign names in particular seem to attract fewer bets.
Disclaimer time! These are just our opinions on the horses whose odds might be artificially inflated. Anything can happen on the day, so please don’t blame us if you follow our advice and it doesn’t work out.
*Our behavioural scientist Adam wanted nothing to do with any of this.