As most of us are aware, the Randox Health Grand national offers a staggering £1,000,000 prize fund and those lucky enough to win or finish up to tenth place get a slice of the pie.
Recent changes to the distribution of the prize fund mean that, while the pot stays the same at a million pounds, horses finishing from fourth to 10th spot will get an increase in their winnings.
The Grand National 2018 will be, by far the richest Jumps contest staged outside of Japan, and the first three horses home will still receive 80% of the total prize fund, but for those finishing out of the first three, there will be increases ranging between £12,300 for fourth place to £4,000 for the tenth spot.
What that means in real terms is that if a horse now finishes in fourth place the money is £65K in 2018 as opposed to £52,700 in 2017. The fifth place finisher will get £40,000 against £26,500 in 2017, sixth place earns £30K, up from £13,200 last year.
The seventh placed runner takes home £20,000 instead of £6,800, the eighth £15,000, up from £3,600, with the ninth place receiving £10,000 instead of £2,000 with the prize for tenth at £5,000 in 2018 compared to £1,000 in 2017.
It's easy to understand the changes given that not only is it one of the richest races in the world, it's also one of the most difficult so to actually get around the course, finish in 10th place and to come away with £1000 seems pretty dire.
Andrew Tulloch, regional head of racing at Jockey Club Racecourses North West and clerk of the course at Aintree, explained the changes: “It is an achievement for any horse to gain a top-10 placing in the Randox Health Grand National, which is often a culmination of months and even years of preparation.
“In light of this, Aintree has decided it is appropriate that the prize money for horses finishing between fourth and tenth should be increased to reflect this.
“Connections of the winner of the Randox Health Grand National will still receive half a million pounds in prize money, maintaining the race’s position as by far the most valuable in the Jump calendar.”
In a move that's been well received in National Hunt circles, Charlie Liverton, chief executive of the Racehorse Owners Association, added: “Having a runner in the Randox Health Grand National is a dream for many racehorse owners and the change to the prize money distribution model means it is good news for those horsemen filling the top 10 places.
“This new initiative follows on from Aintree rewarding placed connections at the prize giving ceremony in 2017, live on ITV, and I hope this change to prize-money distribution will help to instigate a wider industry discussion.”
With the distribution of prize money more equitable, it may be reflected in the number of entries that the 2018 renewal receives. Initial entries for the 2018 Grand National close at 12pm on Tuesday, January 30th with the number entered to be revealed on Wednesday 31st January.
2017 saw 110 potential runners entered so will 2018 be as successful? Watch this space…