There are some events that you should experience once in your life, and the Grand National is more definitely one of them.

Taking place each year in early April, this is more than just a world-famous horse racing meet; it’s one of the grandest social occasions that the UK has to offer.

In this article, we’ll run through some handy tips that’ll ensure that you get the most from your first time trip to see “The Greatest Steeplechase in the World.”

Do Your Research

The Grand National will be a spectacle, whether it’s your first live horse racing event or your hundredth.

However, though it’s OK to just take in the sight of the galloping horses, you’ll find that it’s more enjoyable if you have a sense of which horses to follow.

Before you head to Aintree Racecourse, read up on horse racing tips from the experts; they’ll help you enjoy the fun on a deeper level.

Organise Everything Early

More than 150,000 people attend the three-day Grand National. With such a large capacity, you should have no trouble securing tickets, so long as you don’t leave it until the last minute.

However, despite that, if this is your first time attending, you’ll want to arrange everything as early as possible. This is arguably Liverpool’s biggest social event of the year, which means that trains, flights, and hotels get booked up pretty quickly.

The top priority will be your accommodation. It’s much better to stay in the centre of the city, so as soon as you know you’re going, take a look at hotel or Airbnb listings.

You’ll be much more relaxed knowing that everything has been organised.

Know How To Read Horse Form

If you’re heading to the Grand National, there’s a really good chance you will place a bet. It’s not compulsory, but most racing fans do.

If you’ve never picked a horse before, it’s important that you understand how to read the form. Of course, you could simply choose a horse based on its name or silks colour, but if you want to be more informed, this is how you do it.

Reading a horse racing form can seem complex, but it’s essentially about understanding the background and recent performance of the horses in a race.

Here’s a straightforward guide to help you get started.

1. Start with the Basics

Look at the top of the form, where you’ll see the horse’s name and some basic details like age and weight.

The age of the horse can affect its stamina and speed, while the weight it carries (shown in pounds) can influence how it performs under certain conditions.

2. Check Recent Races

Next, look at the horse’s recent races, often listed as a series of numbers or letters indicating positions in previous races.

The form reads from right to left, so a horse that shows ‘-4P123’ means it finished third in its last race, second before that etc…

Letters can indicate the horse did not finish the race, usually due to a fall (F), being pulled up (P), unseating the jockey (U) or being brought down by another horse (B).

3. Understand the Distance and Conditions

Each race listed will have details about the distance and the type of course. Some horses perform better in longer races or at specific racecourses.

Comparing past performances under similar conditions can give you clues about how a horse might run.

4. Consider the Jockey and Trainer

The skills of the jockey and the record of the trainer can also influence a horse’s performance.

A successful jockey or a trainer with a history of wins can be a positive sign.

5. Observe the Odds

Although not part of the form guide itself, the betting odds can offer insights.

Lower odds suggest that a lot of people think the horse will perform well. However, in a race like the Grand National, which requires a bit of luck, a horse can run a great race despite longer odds.

By looking at these elements, you can start to form an idea of how a horse might perform in a race.

Remember, there’s no guaranteed way to predict outcomes in horse racing, but understanding the form guide can certainly improve your chances of making a good guess.

Before and After The Races

The races will be the highlight of your trip. But it won’t be the only source of fun while you’re in Liverpool.

To get the most from your trip, be sure to spend a day on either side of the main event in Liverpool. On the morning of the races, you can enjoy a big breakfast to start the day right.

Once the races are over, make your way into the city centre of Liverpool. The atmosphere and energy are comparable with New Year’s Eve, with thousands of people venturing into the city’s restaurants, pubs, and clubs for a night of fun.

It’s best to make a restaurant reservation well in advance of your trip; you might struggle to get a table otherwise! Last thing you want is to be eating at a fast food place.