Huddersfield entrepreneur and horse racing expert Richard Ward has always been obsessed with the Grand National.
The founder of the fun and free horse racing app Last Horse Standing, Richard has been picking winners of the Aintree spectacle since he was just six.
By the age of nine he was running a sweepstake at school and creaming off a profit from his classmates!
Richard, 41, said: “As long as I can remember certain Saturdays in April have been my favourite sporting day of the year.
“It wasn’t uncommon for the day to have the Boat Race, the third round of the US masters, FA Cup semi-finals and, best of all, the Grand National, all on the same day!
“My love affair with the Grand National goes back as far as 1988 when Rhyme ‘n’ Reason won under jockey Brendan Powell. Brendan’s son rides The Big Breakaway in this year’s race.
“Back in 1988 I had the forecast and I got my mum to take me down to the shop to buy a whole box of EURO 88 football stickers with the winnings!”
Richard also found the winner of the big race in 1989 and so for more than three decades his tips have been much in demand from family and friends.
Huddersfield Town fan Richard, who once syndicated a Town-themed racehorse called Huddersfilly Town, doesn’t always get the winner but said: “My strike rate is above average so I’ll give it my best shot for this year!
“Although the race may be a handicap in recent years the quality of the field has improved and we are seeing better horses taking on what still remains racing’s toughest challenge – and it’s classy horses that make my four pronged attack on the field.”
Here are Richard’s awesome foursome to follow:
Our Power – the only British trained horse in my picks. He’s is 4lb well in at the weights and is a solid jumper. First time over 3m 1f but that’s not uncommon and the trainer doesn’t seem to think that’s an issue.
Longhouse Poet – Sixth in the race last year and laid out for another crack off the same mark. Likely to be ridden with more restraint and can make the frame once again.
Capodanno – a Grade 1 winner so has the class and is trained by Irish champion Willie Mullins. Seems versatile ground wise.
Gaillard du Mesnil – Also trained by Willie Mullins. Never out of the top three in nine chasing starts so his each-way prospects are clear to see. He’s a Cheltenham Festival winner but, different to past years, the longer break between the festival and Aintree will have helped. Also the choice of stable jockey and multiple champion Paul Townend.
Richard added: “All that’s left to do is to give my app Last Horse Standing a cheeky plug and tell you that there is a £1 million jackpot up for grabs on Grand National day.
“And if you are having a bet on the National then via our app there is an offer with a partner of ours that basically means that if your horse doesn’t win you get your money back as a free bet!”
Last Horse Standing is free to download and free to play and can be found by searching Last Horse Standing on the app store.