2011 Grand National, Grand National Handicap Guide
Everybody knows that handicaps are an integral part of the Grand National or any other major horse racing meeting, however, few people fail to realise exactly how important handicaps are in horse racing – with many more completely lacking any understanding of the purpose of handicaps in general.
Handicaps are incredibly important a large-scale horse racing meeting such as the Grand National, as they tackle the issue of giving the various competing horses an equal opportunity to prove their worth in a race. Around one half of the races run are done so under some sort of handicap; if this were not the case, a great many of the horses in the competition would not stand even the slightest chance of realistically winning the race.
The general idea behind handicapping a horse is a relatively simple one; every time a horse runs a race of a certain distance they are given a performance figure, this is awarded by the Handicapper based on the horse’s performance compared to the other entrants making up the field. The figure given to the horses is expressed in pounds, with a better performance from a horse earning them a much steeper rating compared to that of a horse who displays a worse performance. Once a horse has ran a suitable amount of races (usually three), it is awarded its handicap figure (usually based on its best performance) and is then suitable to receive a handicap.
Horses are not permanently bound to their handicap; a Handicapper may decided to adjust the rating initially awarded to a horse subject to its subsequent performances.
Needless to say, when deciding on how to go about placing your Grand National bets, paying close attention to a horse’s handicap and form are absolutely vital in making an informed decision about which runner to back. There is much more to having a successful Grand National than finding the best odds or those runners with a favourite jockey; paying close attention to a horses handicap record can be imperative in marking out the difference between a star runner and horse that is set to finish in last place.