Maths professor uses formula to pick the 2014 Grand National winner

The horses thunder towards a jump at the Grand National
The horses thunder towards a jump at the Grand National - the highlight of the racing calendar

A top mathematician has developed a formula to identify the winner in Saturday’s Grand National – and predicted victory for Mike Tindall’s horse Monbeg Dude.

GoggleBox intellectual William Hartston, 66, spent days carefully studying the statistics from every single Grand National which has taken place since 1886.

He then used a complex formula which included the bookies’ odds, age of the horse, the letters in the owner’s name, and the letters and number of words in the horses’ names.

The horses thunder towards a jump at the Grand National
The horses thunder towards a jump at the Grand National – the highlight of the racing calendar

And he concluded nine-year-old Monbeg, which is trained by Michael Scudamore and will be ridden by top jockey Paul Carberry, has the best chance of winning the 2014 Grand National.

Hartston said: ”This year’s scoring system is based on a re-analysis of the results of all Aintree Grand Nationals since 1886.

”Unlike last year, I have given a weighting towards recent years and added an item relating to the name of the trainer.

”I would have liked to include the name of the jockey too, but in many cases this is not available until the morning of the race.

”Had I been able to do so last year, Seabass would not have been my top choice:  no jockey whose first name begins with K has ever won the Grand National, so Katie Walsh stood very little chance.

”Monbeg came top and looks like the best bet as far as I’m concerned.

”I love applying statistical techniques to everyday events.”

Hartston is a Cambridge-educated mathematician and industrial psychologist who was a chess champion in the 1970s.

He has since become a TV boffin, applying statistics to the Miss Great Britain competition and is now a regular ‘viewer’ on Channel 4 show Gogglebox.

After calculating the points total for Saturday’s runners and riders Hartston studied the odds and favourites with a team of experts from William Hill.

The bookies’ spokeswoman Kate Miller said: “Monbeg Dude is the perfect age, level of talent, and stamina to make-up into a first-class Grand National contender.

“With the bookmakers already running scared, the ‘perfect storm’ of royal & sporting connections- will also ensure a hefty payout to punters if he wins on Saturday.”

This is the framework William used to predict Saturday’s winner:

H = Ln + Wn + I n + Ah + 0.5(Tf + Ts)

where Ln  is a score based on the number of letters in the horse’s name;
Wn is a score based on the number of words in the horse’s name
I n is a score based on the initial letter of the horse’s name
Ah is a score based on the age of the horse
Tf and Ts are scores based on the first name and surname of the trainer

All scores to be calculated according to the following table:

4              3              2              1
Initial letter                       M            R, S         A,G,L     B,C,T,W
Number of letters           8,10        7              11           9,12
Number of words            1              2              3              4
Age of horse                     9              10           8              7,11
Trainer first name            J,T           G             D,W       A
Trainer surname              M            B,R         C,H         G

The last two items are added together and the sum then halved to give a single figure from 0 to 4 for the trainer’s name.

The top-scoring horses using this system are as follows:

Points re then added depending on the odds offered by William Hill.

15: Monbeg Dude and Raz de Maree
14: Mountainous, Golan Way, Saint Are, Alvarado
13.5: Wyck Hill


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