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Betway Sports Review

With over 10+ years in the online gambling business, Betway has grown from a shaky start to a leading powerhouse in the industry. As one of the leaders of the European market, Betway’s largest customer base comes from the UK, Spain, and Germany. If the name Betway sounds familiar, it’s probably due to their increased commitment to sponsorships including being the main sponsors of West Ham United FC, Premier League Darts, ESL UK Premiership, UK Championship Snooker, and several other leagues and teams. Betway has also signed a brand new slew of brand ambassadors including Mike Tindall (Rugby), Simon Hughes (Cricket) and Richard Johnson (Jockey).

The company currently holds licenses in eight different countries (United Kingdom, Malta, Germany, Italy, Spain, Denmark, Ireland, and Belgium) and is audited by eCOGRA. eCorgra is the independent authority for the online gaming industry, concerning fair gaming, player protection, and responsible operator conduct. They’re basically the trusted third party for making sure an online gambling site is doing what they’re supposed to and properly protecting their players. Their seal of approval should not be taken lightly.

If you’re looking for a new online gambling home, Betway could very well be the right fit for you. Before you make that decision, though, I want to make sure that you’re fully informed on every aspect of the site and the pros and cons of playing there. I can say that Betway is a happy home for a lot of our sports betting, poker player, and casino gambling friends. Take a few minutes and read this review and see if Betway is a great fit for you too.

Betway claims that bettors are able to wager on over 12,000 different markets at any given time through their sports betting portal. The main focus is European sports, but they do have quite a bit of action as well on US-based sports including the NBA, NFL, MLB, and the NBA.

One of the biggest additions to the sportsbook was the ability for bettors to wager on esports.In August 2015, Betway proclaimed itself to be the ”first major bookmaker to launch a dedicated eSports portal.” At the time of writing this review, you can bet on 10+ games via the eSports portal, like Call of Duty, CS: GO, Dota 2, Hearthstone, Heroes of the Storm, League of Legends, Starcraft 2, FIFA, and World of Tanks.

Betway also has a ton of live betting, also known as in-game options for you to choose from. The layout and interface of the live betting section are also top-notch which really makes for a much better experience in our opinion. All of the different bet types are organized well and able to be sorted quickly through the click of a few buttons. This can be really handy when you’re trying to get in some quick bets during multiple games.

Overall, we are really pleased with the product and services that Betway offers. The big standouts for us are the game options available (500+), a multitude of deposit and withdrawal options, and clear licensing and regulatory oversight that ensure the safety and security of the operation and your money. What good is a site if you can’t trust that it is fair and that your money is safe? The bonus structures are also nice, and it’s a fresh sight to see that they have bonuses that are specific to the different segments of the site.

Poker is on the Microgaming network which gets plenty of traffic to keep you busy but isn’t as huge as the mega sites. Yes, this means some smaller prize pools in the tournaments and not as much action at the very high stakes, but it also means that there are less good players attracted and you can win the tournaments more frequently without having to wade through so many players.

The bottom line is that Betway looks like an awesome all-in-one online gambling option!. T&C Apply. 18+ – Please Gamble Responsibly!

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world snooker championship 2018

World Snooker Championship 2018

The World Snooker Championship - Sponsored by Betfred

World Snooker Championship

Tournament information
VenueCrucible Theatre
(since 1977)
LocationSheffield
CountryEngland
Established1927
Organisation(s)World Snooker Association
FormatRanking event
Total prize fundUK £1,968,000
Recent edition2018
Current champion(s)England Mark Selby

The World Snooker Championship is the leading snooker tournament both in terms of prestige and prize money. The first championship was held in 1927 and was won by Joe Davis. Davis won the first 15 championships before retiring from the event, undefeated, after his 1946 success. In the 1950s snooker went into a period of decline and the championship was not held after 1952, although an unofficial championship was held until 1957. In 1964 the championship was revived on a challenge basis and in 1969 the championship became a knock-out event again. Since 1977 it has been played at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, England. The tournament is currently played over 17 days and ends on the first Monday in May. In the modern era (since 1969), the best record is that of Stephen Hendry, who won the title seven times. Steve Davis and Ray Reardon both won six times while Ronnie O'Sullivan has won five titles. The current champion is Mark Selby, who has won the tournament three times.

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Professional Snooker Championship (1927–34)

YearChampion
1927Joe Davis
1928Joe Davis
1929Joe Davis
1930Joe Davis
1931Joe Davis
1932Joe Davis
1933Joe Davis
1934Joe Davis

The first championship was held in 1927 and was called the Professional Snooker Championship. It was the first important professional snooker tournament although the English Amateur Championship has been contested since 1916. Ten professionals entered including most of the leading billiards players. The draw was made at the start of the season and the players made their own arrangements about the dates and venue for the matches, although it was decided in advance that the semi-finals and final would be in Birmingham. Matches were over 15 frames with the semi-finals over 23 frames and final over 31 frames. The first match played was between Melbourne Inman and Tom Newman at Thurston's Hall, Leicester Square in London. The snooker was played as an added extra to the main event, a billiards match played over two weeks. The match started on Monday 29 November 1926 and one frame of snooker was played at the end of each session. Inman won 8–5, the match finishing on the Monday afternoon, a week after it started. One other match was played in connection with a billiards contest but the remaining matches were snooker-only matches. With minimal prize money, players mainly made money from their share of the gate receipts. Because of this it was common for "dead" frames to be played after the result of the match had been decided. The final between Joe Davis and Tom Dennis was played over four days in early May at Camkin's Hall in Birmingham. Davis won the first seven frames and led throughout, taking a winning 16–7 lead on the third day, eventually winning 20–11. The highest break of the tournament was 60, made by Albert Cope in his semi-final match against Davis, in a dead frame after Davis had won the match. Davis made a 57 break in the final.

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The 1928 Championship was played on a challenge basis, with the other 6 entries playing off for the right to challenge Joe Davis in the final. Davis met Fred Lawrence in the final, winning 16–13. The challenge system was dropped in 1929. Davis met Tom Dennis in the final, played in Dennis's home town of Nottingham. Davis made a new record break of 61 on the way to a 17–12 victory. The same pair met in the 1930 final, played for the first time at Thurston's Hall in London. The final was extended to 49 frames played over 6 days. Davis won comfortably, 25–12 with a day to spare and made a new record break of 79. With little prospect of success and little prospect of financial gain, most of the professionals saw little point in entering the championship and, despite an upsurge in interest in snooker, there were only two entries for the 1931 championship. Davis and Tom Dennis met for the fourth time, the event being played in Nottingham. Dennis led 19–16 at one stage but Davis won 9 of the next 11 frames to take the Championship 25–21.

There were three entries in 1932 including New Zealander Clark McConachy. McConachy met Joe Davis in the final, played at Thurston's Hall. Davis took the title 25–18 and set a new record with a break of 99, missing out on his century after he snookered himself. There were five entries in 1933 including 47-year-old Willie Smith who entered for the first time and met Joe Davis in the final. Smith had won the World Billiards Championship twice. The match was played at Davis's own snooker hall in Chesterfield. The match was close until Davis pulled away in the later stages, as he often did, winning 25–18. There were just two entries in 1934, Davis being opposed by Tom Newman, six times World Billiards Champion. The match was held partly in Nottingham before finishing in Kettering.Davis won 25–22, although Newman led 14–13 at one stage.

Thurston's Hall era (1935–40)

YearWinner
1935Joe Davis
1936Joe Davis
1937Joe Davis
1938Joe Davis
1939Joe Davis
1940Joe Davis

In the early years of the championship, snooker had been seen, in the professional game, as secondary to billiards but from the mid-1930s snooker dominated. The 1935 Championship introduced some significant changes. It was the first to incorporate "world" in its name, being called the World's Professional Snooker Championship.There was also a change in the organisation of the event with the matches being played consecutively at the same venue, Thurston's Hall in London. Previously the draw had been made early in the season and the players made their own arrangements about the dates and venue of matches. The change in format proved a great success and Thurston's Hall became the primary venue for professional snooker matches. In the period from 1935 to 1940, nearly all World Championship matches were played there and with good attendances the professionals could make some money from their share of the entrance charges. Because of the importance of gate receipts, dead frames were played out, whatever the state of the game. This had often been the case in the early championships but now became universal.

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There were 5 entries in 1935 Championship. Joe Davis beat Willie Smith 28–21 in the final, having earlier taken a winning 25–20 lead. Davis recorded the first century break in the history of the championship, 110 in his semi-final match against Tom Newman. The break was made in a dead frame but was still regarded as a championship record. The success of the 1935 championship resulted in a record 13 entries for 1936. A number of younger professionals entered for the first time, including an Australian, Horace Lindrum, the nephew of Walter Lindrum, the reigning World Billiards Champion. Joe Davis and Horace Lindrum won all their matches easily and met in the final. Davis had won one of his matches 29–2 after taking a winning 16–0 lead Lindrum won his semi-final by the same score, 29–2, making a break of 101, although, like Davis's record 110 break, it was made in a dead frame. In the final Lindrum led 26–24 at the start of the final day and then won the first frame on the last day. However Davis won the last ten frames in a row to win 34–27, having won the match 31–27.

Qualifying was introduced for the first time in 1937 and, with 9 entries, two players were chosen to play a qualification match to reduce the field to 8. The two were Fred Davis, Joe's younger brother and Bill Withers, an unknown Welsh professional. Withers won the match 17–14, a defeat that Fred put down to ignoring his worsening eyesight. Unfortunately for Withers he met Joe in the quarter-finals. Davis won the first two frames before Withers won the third, doubling the final black to win the frame. This was to be Withers last frame as Davis won the next 14 to win the match 16–1. Davis then won the remaining 14 dead frames, to win 28 frames in succession. Davis and Horace Lindrum were not troubled in reaching the final, which was a repeat of 1936. Lindrum led 17–13 at the half-way stage, but Davis recovered to win the match 32–29. Davis made a break of 103 in the final, the first championship century in live play.

Horace Lindrum chose not to enter in 1938 and Joe Davis won easily, beating Sidney Smith in the final. In his semi-final Davis made breaks of 104 and 96 in successive frames and finished the winning frame in the final with a 98 clearance. Brothers Joe and Fred Davis met at the semi-final stage in 1939. Joe won but Fred had the satisfaction of making a 113 clearance, a new record break for the championship, Joe met Sidney Smith in the final for the second successive year. Joe again won comfortably, taking a winning 37–25 early on the final day.The 1940 Championship was played during the "Phoney War" stage of World War II. Joe and Fred Davis met in the final. Joe led 15–10 but then Fred won 11 frames in succession to lead 21–15.On the final day Joe made a 101 break to take a winning 37–35 lead. The spectators cheered for nearly a minute when Joe made his century.In October 1940, during The Blitz, Thurston's Hall was destroyed by a parachute mine which demolished the south-western corner of Leicester Square no tournaments were played during the remainder of World War II.

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Post-war era (1946–52)

YearWinner
1946Joe Davis
1947Walter Donaldson
1948Fred Davis
1949Fred Davis
1950Walter Donaldson
1951Fred Davis
1952Horace Lindrum

The championship resumed in 1946 and Joe Davis met Horace Lindrum in the final, a repeat of 1936 and 1937. The final was organised on a much larger scale than anything previously. The Royal Horticultural Hall in London was converted to a snooker venue, seating 1,250. The match was extended from one week to two, allowing up to 30,000 spectators to be accommodated with prices ranging from 5s to £3. Davis maintained a small lead throughout and won, early on the final day, leading 73–62. Davis made six centuries in the final, setting new championship records of 133 and 136. The event proved a financial success for the players, Davis receiving £1,800 and Lindrum £550 together with the championship table and all the equipment, their share of the gate receipts.

In October 1946 Joe Davis announced that he would "retire" from the World Championship. Davis had never lost a match in the championship from its inception in 1927. He did not, in any other sense, retire from snooker, continuing to play in other tournaments and exhibition matches for many years. There were a record 20 entries for the 1947 championship. 13 had to play in a qualifying competition, the winner joining the other 7 in the quarter-finals. The semi-finals were completed by the middle of March but the two finalists, Fred Davis and Walter Donaldson, agreed to delay the final until the autumn so that it could be played at the rebuilt Thurston's Hall, now renamed Leicester Square Hall. The final was again over 145 frames and was played from 13 to 25 October. Donaldson got off to a good start, leading 44–28 after the first week and eventually taking a winning 73–49 lead early on the 11th day. The first qualifying match for the 1948 championship started just 5 weeks later. Fred Davis and Walter Donaldson again reached the final. This time it was Davis who got off to a good start, leading 45–27 after the first week. The second week was closer but Davis eventually took a winning 73–49 lead on the 11th day. Fred Davis and Walter Donaldson met again in the 1949 final. Donaldson led 39–33 after the first week but Davis pulled ahead on the second week and eventually took a winning 73–58 lead.

After three finals at Leicester Square Hall the 1950 final moved to Blackpool Tower Circus, moving out of London for the first time since 1934. The final was reduced to 97 frames over 8 days. Fred Davis and Walter Donaldson met, yet again, in the final. The score was level at 18–18 after three days but Donaldson pulled ahead to lead 45–39 at the start of the last day. Donaldson won 4 of the first 7 frames on the final day to lead 49–42 and win back the championship. The 1951 final was a repeat of the 1950 final, same venue and another Fred Davis/Walter Donaldson contest. Davis led 44–28 after six days and, although Donaldson won 8 of the 12 frames on the seventh day, Davis won comfortably early on the final day.

Following a dispute between the Professional Billiards Players' Association (PBPA) and the Billiards Association and Control Council (BACC), members of the PBPA boycotted the championship. The BACC thought the championship should be primarily a matter of honour, and financial considerations should come second. As a consequence of the boycott there were only two entries, Australian Horace Lindrum and New Zealander Clark McConachy. Both players were well past their best. McConachy had played in the recent News of the World Tournament but had performed badly, losing all 8 of his matches. Although Lindrum did not play in the News of the World Tournament, he had been receiving more generous starts in recent handicap tournaments and had even withdrawn from a tournament in 1950, complaining about his overly generous handicap which gave the public the wrong impression about his ability. Lindrum won the championship easily, reaching a winning 73–37 position early on the 10th day, becoming the first non-British player to win the World Championship.

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World Professional Match-play Championship (1952–57)

YearWinner
1952Fred Davis
1953Fred Davis
1954Fred Davis
1955Fred Davis
1956Fred Davis
1957John Pulman

Having boycotted the official championship, the Professional Billiards Players' Association (PBPA) established their own championship called the PBPA Snooker Championship which attracted 9 entries. The entries did not include Joe Davis, who chose not to enter the new tournament. Fred Davis and Walter Donaldson were given byes to the semi-final stage. They both reached the final again, although Donaldson had a close match against Albert Brown. The final was over 73 frames and was held at Blackpool Tower Circus. Davis had the best of the first four days and led 29–19. Donaldson won 16 frames on the last two days but Davis held on to win the championship. Davis made a break of 140 in the final, a record for championship play, beating brother Joe's 136 set in 1946. The second unofficial championship was called the 1953 World Professional Match-play Championship and resulted in another final between Fred Davis and Walter Donaldson. The 71-frame final and was the last held at Leicester Square Hall before its closure in 1955. The match was tied at 33–33 at the start of the final session but Davis was again successful. Fred Davis and Walter Donaldson met in the 1954 final, held in Manchester, the eighth successive final between the pair. The final was the most one-sided of the eight finals, Davis taking a winning 36–15 lead early on the fifth day.

After his heavy defeat in 1954 Walter Donaldson chose not to enter in 1955. Fred Davis met John Pulman in the final at Blackpool Tower Circus. Davis got off to a good start and held on to win his seventh championship. Fred Davis and John Pulman met again in the 1956 final, played again in Blackpool. The match was again close but Davis won for the eighth time. The 1957 championship attracted only four entries and was held over two weeks in Jersey. Fred Davis, the reigning champion, could not afford to travel such a distance and did not enter. John Pulman beat Jackie Rea in the final to win his first world title. In the recent News of the World Tournament Pulman had been handicapped as the fourth strongest player. None of the three higher-handicapped players (Joe Davis, Fred Davis and Walter Donaldson) played in the championship and, with little interest in the event, there was no championship in 1958.

Challenge matches (1964–68)

DateChampion
April 1964John Pulman
October 1964John Pulman
March 1965John Pulman
late 1965John Pulman
late 1965John Pulman
April 1966John Pulman
March 1968John Pulman

No world championship, official or unofficial, was held between 1958 and 1963 but in 1964, with the approval of the BACC, the championship was revived on a challenge basis. The first contest was played in Burroughes Hall, London in April 1964 between 40-year-old John Pulman and 50-year-old Fred Davis. Pulman won the 37-frame match 19–16 to become the official world champion. Pulman won two further challenge matches played at Burroughes Hall, beating Rex Williams in October 1964 and then Fred Davis again in March 1965.

In late 1965 John Pulman and Rex Williams played a long series of short matches in South Africa. Pulman won 25 of the 47 matches to retain the title. Williams set a new championship record with a break of 142 in the 24th match. After this series of matches Pulman played the South African Fred Van Rensburg, winning 39 frames to 12. Back in England, Fred Davis met John Pulman for the third time. There were 7 separate matches played in Liverpool. Pulman won 4 of the first 6 matches to retain the title.

After April 1966 there were no more contests until Australian Eddie Charlton challenged John Pulman and the pair met in a 73-frame match in Bolton, played in March 1968. Pulman led 19–17 at the half-way stage but then pulled ahead and won the match 37–28. This was to be the last challenge match as the championship then reverted to a knock-out format.

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Knockout tournaments (1969–76)

YearWinner
1969John Spencer
1970Ray Reardon
1971John Spencer
1972Alex Higgins
1973Ray Reardon
1974Ray Reardon
1975Ray Reardon
1976Ray Reardon

In 1969 the WPBSA took over regulation of the professional game from the BACC and staged a knockout tournament. 8 professionals entered, 4 from the 1950s and 4 new professionals. The first match, played in late 1968 saw the end of John Pulman's reign as champion, beaten by one of the new professionals, John Spencer. Spencer led 24–18 after the final afternoon session and clinched the match by winning the first frame in the evening with a 97 break. Spencer and another of the new professionals, Gary Owen met in the final at the Victoria Hall in London. Spencer won the 73-frame final 37–24. Spencer lost to Ray Reardon at the semi-final stage of the 1970 Championship. Reardon went on to win the final against John Pulman to win his first title.

The next world championship was held in Australia in late 1970. For the only time there was a group stage with 9 players, the top 4 moving on to a knock-out stage. Ray Reardon and John Spencer met in one semi-final with Spencer winning easily. The other semi-final was between two Australians, Warren Simpson and Eddie Charlton. Simpson caused a major upset by beating Charlton. In the final in Sydney, Spencer led throughout and won the 6-day final 37–29. 1972 saw the emergence of Alex Higgins. winning his two qualifying matches he beat John Pulman, Rex Williams and then Spencer in the final to win the title at his first attempt. At 22 years, 345 days Higgins was the youngest world champion. Previously only Joe Davis had won the title while under the age of 30, being 26 years, 27 days when he won in 1927.

The 1973 Championship marked a change in format, with the tournament played over two weeks at a single venue rather than over an extended period. 16 played in the first round, the 8 winners playing 8 seeded players in the second round. In the semi-finals, defending champion Alex Higgins lost 23–9 to Eddie Charlton while Ray Reardon beat John Spencer 23–22. In the 5-day final Charlton led 7–0 after the opening session but Reardon led 17–13 after two days. The match continued to be close but Reardon pulled ahead on the final day to win 38–32, for his second title. The 1974 Championship followed a similar format but with somewhat shorter matches and event reduced to 10 days. 60-year-old Fred Davis beat Alex Higgins in the quarter-finals before losing to Ray Reardon. Reardon met Graham Miles in the 3-day final. Reardon led 17–11 after two days and won comfortably 22–12.

The 1975 Championship was held in Australia. Twenty-seven players competed including 8 from Australia, 16 from the United Kingdom, two from Canada and one from South Africa. Ray Reardon beat John Spencer and Alex Higgins to reach the final where he met Eddie Charlton. The final was held near Melbourne but matches were held in many locations, the semi-finals having been held in Canberra and Brisbane. In the final Reardon won 10 of the 12 frames on the second day to lead 16–8 but Charlton won the first 9 frames on day 3 to lead. Reardon then led 23–21 before Charlton won 8 frames in a row to lead 29–23, needing just 2 of the last 9 frames to win. However Reardon then won 7 frames in a row to lead again and, although Charlton levelled the match at 30–30, Reardon won the deciding frame.

The 1976 World Snooker Championship was held at two venues; half the draw was held in Middlesbrough and half in Manchester, which also hosted the final. Alex Higgins won three close matches to reach the final, where he met Ray Reardon. Reardon led 24–15 at the start of the last day and, winning 3 of the first 4 frames, took the title 27–16, his fourth successive title. There were a number of problems during the tournament including the standard of the tables. This was the first year the championship was sponsored under the cigarette brand Embassy.

Crucible era starts (1977–80)

YearWinner
1977John Spencer
1978Ray Reardon
1979Terry Griffiths
1980Cliff Thorburn

In 1977 the championship was played at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield where it has remained ever since. 16 players competed, 8 seeds being joined by 8 qualifiers. John Spencer beat defending champion Ray Reardon 13–6 in the quarter-finals. and met Cliff Thorburn in the final. The final was close with the score being 9–9 after the first day and 18–18 after two days. Spencer led 22–20 after the first session on the final day and pulled ahead to win 25–21 in the final session. Defending champion John Spencer lost to Perrie Mans in the first round of the 1978 championship. Eddie Charlton beat Cliff Thorburn 13–12 in the quarter-finals, winning the last 5 frames, but lost to Ray Reardon in the semi-finals. Charlton led 12–9 after three sessions but Reardon won all 7 frames in the fourth session and eventually won 18–14. In the other semi-final Perrie Mans met 64-year-old Fred Davis and won 18–16. Ray Reardon won the final 25–18 to win the championship for the sixth time. At 45 years, 203 days Reardon became the oldest World Champion. The first seven players to win the World Snooker Championship all won a championship in their 40s, the last of which was Reardon. No player since has won in their 40s.

The 1979 championship was won by Terry Griffiths. Griffiths had only been a professional for 7 months and played two qualifying matches to reach the Crucible. In the semi-final Griffiths was trailing 16–17 to Eddie Charlton, before winning 19–17 at 1.40 am, and then beat Dennis Taylor 24–16 in the final, winning the record first prize of £10,000. Bill Werbeniuk made a break of 142 in his quarter-final match against John Virgo, equalling the championship record set by Rex Williams set in South Africa in 1965. The 1980 championship was extended to 24 players. Players seeded 9 to 16 met a qualifier in the first round, the winner meeting one of the top 8 seeds in the second round. A number of changes were made to accommodate the extra matches, including reducing the final to 35 frames. In the final Cliff Thorburn met Alex Higgins. The match was level at 9–9 after the first day and level again at 13–13 after the final afternoon session. During the evening session the scores was tied at 16–16 before Thorburn made a 119 clearance in frame 33 and a break of 51 in frame 34 to win the championship.

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Steve Davis years (1981–89)

YearWinner
1981Steve Davis
1982Alex Higgins
1983Steve Davis
1984Steve Davis
1985Dennis Taylor
1986Joe Johnson
1987Steve Davis
1988Steve Davis
1989Steve Davis

Despite being the number 13 seed, Steve Davis was the favourite for the 1981 championship. Davis won a close match 10–8 against Jimmy White in the first round and beat three past world champions to meet 14th seed Doug Mountjoy in the final. Davis won the first six frames of the final but only led 10–8 at the end of the first day. Davis led 14–12 at the start of the final evening session and won the first four frames to win 18–12. At 23-years-old, Davis was the second youngest champion. Doug Mountjoy set a new championship record of 145 during his semi-final match against Ray Reardon.

The 1982 championship was extended to 32 players with 16 seeded players and 16 qualifiers. There was a surprise in the first round when Tony Knowles beat defending champion Steve Davis 10–1. In the semi-finals Jimmy White led 15–14 and 59–0 before missing an easy red with the rest. Higgins then made a 69 clearance and then won the deciding frame to reach the final. Higgins met Ray Reardon in the final. The score was 15–15 before Higgins won three frames in a row to win the championship, finishing with a clearance of 135, thereby denying Reardon the chance to win a seventh world title.

Cliff Thorburn made the first maximum break in the world championship in 1983 during his second round match against Terry Griffiths. The importance of this achievement at the time is demonstrated by the fact that play was stopped on the other table. This was the break that gave the World Championship one of its most iconic words of commentary, "oh, good luck mate" on the final black, courtesy of Jack Karnehm. Thorburn beat Griffiths in a final frame decider, a match that finished at 03:51, the latest ever finish for a match at the Crucible. Thorburn then also won his quarter-final and semi-final matches in the deciding frame. Exhausted and deflated by the news that his wife had suffered a miscarriage meant that the final against Steve Davis was one-sided with Davis winning 18–6. The 1984 final was between Steve Davis and Jimmy White, in his first final. Davis led 12–4 after the first day but White won 7 of the 8 frames on the final afternoon. Davis led 16–12 at the evening interval and, despite a comeback from White, Davis won 18–16.

In the 1985 final, Dennis Taylor beat Steve Davis 18–17 on the final ball of the final frame, in one of the most closely contested matches of all time. It finished at 00:19. With an audience of 18.5 million, it remains the most watched programme in the history of BBC2, as well as the record post-midnight audience for any channel in the United Kingdom. In the 1986 final Steve Davis met 16th seed Joe Johnson. Johnson led 13–11 at the start of the evening session and won 5 of the first 6 frames to win 18–12. Johnson had trailed 9–12 in his quarter-final against Terry Griffiths but won the last 4 frames to win 13–12. Joe Johnson and Steve Davis met again in the 1987 final although, on this occasion, Davis was the winner by a score of 18–14.

Steve Davis and Terry Griffiths met in the 1988 final. The score was 8–8 after the first day but Davis pulled ahead on the final day and won 18–11. Steve Davis made his 7th successive final in 1989 meeting John Parrott. Davis led 13–3 after the first day and won the first five frames on the final day to win 18–3. Davis won £105,000 for his victory, a new record.

Hendry dominates (1990–99)

YearWinner
1990Stephen Hendry
1991John Parrott
1992Stephen Hendry
1993Stephen Hendry
1994Stephen Hendry
1995Stephen Hendry
1996Stephen Hendry
1997Ken Doherty
1998John Higgins
1999Stephen Hendry

In 1990 Steve Davis failed to reach the final for the first time since 1982, losing in the semi-finals 16–14 to Jimmy White. In the final Stephen Hendry beat White 18–12 becoming, at 21 years, 106 days, the youngest ever world champion. In 1991 Hendry, the number 1 seed, lost in the quarter-finals to Steve James. The final was between John Parrott and Jimmy White, Parrott winning 18–11.

In 1992 Jimmy White became the second player to make a maximum break in the world championship, during his 10–4 first round win over Tony Drago. Defending champion John Parrott beat 10–0 Eddie Charlton, the only whitewash in the Crucible era. Stephen Hendry met Jimmy White in the final. White led 14–8 but Hendry won 10 frames in a row frame to win 18–14. In 1993, James Wattana, from Thailand, became the first Asian player to the reach the semi-finals, where he lost to Jimmy White. The final was one-sided, with Stephen Hendry beating White 18–5. Total prize money reached £1,000,000 for the first time.

In 1994 Jimmy White reached his sixth final, meeting Stephen Hendry for the fourth time in the final. Hendry led 5–1 but White won 6 frames in a row to lead 7–5. Thereafter the match was always close and the match went to a final frame. White missed a black off the spot, after which Hendry made a break of 58 to clinch the title. Fergal O'Brien made a century in his first frame at the Crucible, the only player to do so. In 1995 Hendry and White met in the semi-finals, where Hendry won again, making a maximum break during the match. In the other semi-final Nigel Bond beat unseeded Andy Hicks. In the final, The final was initially close until Hendry won 9 frames in a row to take the score from 5–5 to 14–5. Hendry eventually won 18–9. Hendry made a record 12 century breaks during the tournament.

In 1996 Peter Ebdon reached the final beating Jimmy White, Steve Davis and Ronnie O'Sullivan on the way. He met Stephen Hendry in the final. Ebdon led 4–2 in the early stages but Hendry eventually won 18–12 to win his fifth successive title. There were 48 century breaks during the final stages, a new record. In the first round of 1997 championship Ronnie O'Sullivan made the fastest maximum break in snooker history, taking just 5 minutes and 20 seconds. The final was between Stephen Hendry and Irishman Ken Doherty. Doherty led 15–7 before Hendry won 5 frames in a row. Doherty then won the next three frames to win 18–12, ending Hendry's winning run of 29 consecutive matches.

Stephen Hendry lost to Jimmy White in the first round of the 1998 championship. Doherty reached the final again meeting 22-year-old John Higgins. Higgins won 18–12, making 5 centuries in the final. There were 59 centuries during the tournament of which Higgins made 14, both records. The following year, Stephen Hendry won his seventh and final world title, the most in the modern era. In the final he beat Mark Williams 18–11. In the semi-final between Hendry and Ronnie O'Sullivan each player made 4 century breaks, the 8 centuries being a record for a world championship match.

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The class of '92 (2000–13)

YearWinner
2000Mark Williams
2001Ronnie O'Sullivan
2002Peter Ebdon
2003Mark Williams
2004Ronnie O'Sullivan
2005Shaun Murphy
2006Graeme Dott
2007John Higgins
2008Ronnie O'Sullivan
2009John Higgins
2010Neil Robertson
2011John Higgins
2012Ronnie O'Sullivan
2013Ronnie O'Sullivan

The period from 2000 to 2013 was dominated by three players, all born in 1975 and all turning professional in 1992. Ronnie O'Sullivan won five times in this period, John Higgins three times and Mark Williams twice. Higgins had also won in 1998.

In 2000 Stephen Hendry was beaten 10–7 in the first round by Crucible debutant Stuart Bingham. In his semi-final Mark Williams trailed 11–15 to John Higgins but took 6 frames in a row to win 17–15. In the final Williams met fellow Welshman Matthew Stevens. Stevens led 13–7 but Williams made another comeback to win 18–16, becoming the first left-handed champion.

Ronnie O'Sullivan won his first world championship in 2001, defeating John Higgins 18–14 in the final. O'Sullivan led 14–7 before Higgins won four frames in a row. O'Sullivan looked likely to win the title in the 31st frame as he led 17–13 and 69–6. However he missed a red in the middle pocket and Higgins won the frame with a break of 65. Higgins made a break of 45 in frame 32 but O'Sullivan made an 80 break to take the title.

Stephen Hendry beat Ronnie O'Sullivan 17–13 in the semi-final of the 2002 Championship, Hendry reaching his ninth final. Peter Ebdon beat Matthew Stevens 17–16 in the other semi-final. Stevens led 16–14 but Ebdon won the last 3 frames. The final went to the deciding frame where Ebdon made a break of 59 and clinched the title. There were a record 68 centuries in the tournament including a record 16 by Stephen Hendry who made 5 in the semi-final and a further 4 in the final.

Mark Williams won his second World title in 2003 by defeating Ken Doherty 18–16 in the final. Prize money peaked in 2003 with the winner receiving a record £270,000 and the 32 Crucible players getting at least £15,000. Ronnie O'Sullivan made the fifth maximum break in the World Championship, becoming the first player to score two 147s in the event.

Ronnie O'Sullivan won his second world title in 2004 by defeating Graeme Dott 18–8 in the final, despite Dott having led 5–0.

Shaun Murphy won the 2005 championship by defeating Matthew Stevens 18–16 in the final. Murphy was only the second qualifier to win the World Championship, after Terry Griffiths in 1979. Murphy won 2 qualifying matches and then 5 matches at the Crucible to take the title.

Graeme Dott beat Peter Ebdon 18–14 in the 2006 final. The match finished at 00:52 am, the latest finish in the final. This was the first Championship sponsored by a betting company after the banning of tobacco sponsorship. Dott won £200,000 for his victory with the 32 Crucible players getting at least £9,600, both significant reductions on the 2003 prize money. In the last round of the qualifying competition Robert Milkins had the first 147 break made during qualifying for the championship. Despite his maximum, Milkins lost to Mark Selby.

The 2007 Championship was won by John Higgins who beat qualifier Mark Selby 18–13 in the final. The match finished at 00:55 am, even later than the 2006 final and setting another record for the latest finish in the final. Shaun Murphy came back from 7–12 down to win his quarter-final match against Matthew Stevens, but lost in the deciding frame of his semi-final to Mark Selby.

The 2008 Championship was won by Ronnie O'Sullivan who beat Ali Carter 18–8 in the final. Both O'Sullivan and Carter had made maximum breaks earlier in the tournament, the first time there had been two 147 breaks in the same World Championship. It was O'Sullivan's third maximum in the Championship.

John Higgins won his third world title in 2009, beating Shaun Murphy 18–9 in the final. Michaela Tabb refereed the final, becoming the first woman to do so in a World Championship final. There were a record 83 century breaks in the Championship, well ahead of the previous highest of 68. Stephen Hendry won his 1000th frame at the Crucible Theatre, the first play to do so. The championship included the longest ever frame at the Crucible which lasted 74 minutes 58 seconds between Stephen Maguire and Mark King.

The 2010 Championship was won by Neil Robertson who beat qualifier Graeme Dott 18–13 in the final, becoming the fourth non-British winner of the title after Horace Lindrum, Cliff Thorburn and Ken Doherty.

John Higgins won his fourth world title in 2011, beating Judd Trump 18–15 in the final. 21-year-old Trump became the youngest finalist since Stephen Hendry in 1990. Trump had beaten David Gilbert in the qualifying competition and then defeated defending champion Neil Robertson in the first round.

Ronnie O'Sullivan won his fourth world title in 2012, defeating Ali Carter 18–11 in the final. On the opening day Hendry made his third maximum break at the Crucible, equalling Ronnie O'Sullivan's record. He announced his retirement from professional snooker following his loss to Stephen Maguire in the quarter-finals. Aged 17 years, 45 days, Luca Brecel became the youngest player to compete at the Crucible.

Defending champion Ronnie O'Sullivan retained the title in 2013 despite having played only one competitive match all season. He defeated Barry Hawkins 18–12 in the final to win the title for the fifth time. He broke Hendry's record of 127 career Crucible centuries, finishing the tournament with 131. He also became the first player to make six century breaks in a Crucible final.

Mark Selby: Three wins in four years (2014–17)

YearWinner
2014Mark Selby
2015Stuart Bingham
2016Mark Selby
2017Mark Selby

Mark Selby won the world title in 2014 by beating defending champion Ronnie O'Sullivan 18–14 in the final, having trailed 5–10. Selby won a record £300,000 for his victory; the prize exceeding the previous highest of £270,000 in 2003, although prize money for first round losers remained at £12,000.

Selby lost 9–13 in the second round of the 2015 Championship to Crucible debutant Anthony McGill. Stuart Bingham won the title, defeating Ronnie O'Sullivan 13–9 in the quarter-finals, Judd Trump 17–16 in the semi-finals, and Shaun Murphy 18–15 in the final to win the first world title of his 20-year professional career. At the age of 38, Bingham became the oldest player to win the title since Ray Reardon in 1978. The tournament set a new record for the most century breaks made at the Crucible, with 86.

Defending champion Stuart Bingham lost 9–10 against Ali Carter in the first round of the 2016 Championship. Mark Selby defeated Ding Junhui 18–14 in the final to claim his second world title. Ding was the first Asian player to reach a World Championship final. There were 86 century breaks made during the Championship, equalling the record set in 2015. A new record of 10 centuries in a professional match was set in the semi-final between Ding Junhui and Alan McManus, with Ding also setting a new record of 7 centuries by one player in a World Championship match. Mark Selby and Marco Fu set a new record for the longest frame of snooker ever played at the Crucible, 76 minutes 11 seconds.

Prize money for the 2017 Championship was a record £1,750,000 with the winner receiving £375,000. Prize money for first round losers was a record £16,000, exceeding the £15,000 players received in 2003. In a high-quality and tightly contested semi-final, defending champion Mark Selby beat Ding Junhui 17–15 in a repeat of the previous year's final. Selby met John Higgins, in a repeat of the 2007 final. Higgins was the second oldest Crucible finalist at 41 years, 348 days; only Ray Reardon had been older. Selby trailed 4–10 during the second session but then won 12 of the next 14 frames to lead 16–12. Higgins won the next three frames but Selby took the title 18–15, becoming champion for the third time in four years, joining Steve Davis, Stephen Hendry, and Ronnie O'Sullivan as the only men to have successfully defended the title since its move to the Crucible

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Top performers of the modern era

The 'modern' era is considered to start in 1969, when the championship reverted to a knock-out tournament format from a challenge format. In the modern game, the best record is that of Stephen Hendry, who won seven times in the 1990s. Steve Davis won six times in the 1980s, as did Ray Reardon in the 1970s.

NameNationalityWinnerRunner-upSemi-final
or better
147sAppearancesWinrate
Stephen Hendry Scotland721232725.9%
Steve Davis England621103020.0%
Ray Reardon Wales611001931.6%
Ronnie O'Sullivan England511132620.0%
John Higgins Scotland42802417.4%
John Spencer England31601816.7%
Mark Selby England31501423.1%
Alex Higgins Northern Ireland22701910.5%
Mark Williams Wales21512010.5%
Cliff Thorburn Canada1261195.3%
Peter Ebdon England1240244.2%
Shaun Murphy England1240166.7%
Ken Doherty Ireland1230195.3%
Graeme Dott Scotland1230195.6%
Dennis Taylor Northern Ireland1150214.8%
Terry Griffiths Wales1130195.3%
John Parrott England1130233.3%
Joe Johnson England1120812.5%
Neil Robertson Australia1030147.8%
Stuart Bingham England1010129.1%
Jimmy White England06101250%
Eddie Charlton Australia0280210%
Matthew Stevens Wales0260160%
Ali Carter England0231160%
Barry Hawkins England0140130%
Ding Junhui China0130120%
Judd Trump England013090%
Nigel Bond England0120150%
Perrie Mans South Africa0120130%
Gary Owen Wales012070%
John Pulman England0120110%
Graham Miles England0110120%
Doug Mountjoy Wales0110170%
Warren Simpson Australia011040%
  • Active players are shown in bold.
  • Only players who reached the final are included.
  • In the event of identical records, players are sorted in alphabetical order by family name.

Sponsorship

Bookmaker Betfred is the current sponsor

Except for two championships played in Australia, all championships from 1969 to 2005 were sponsored by tobacco companies. In 1969 and 1970 the championship was sponsored by John Player under the brand Player's No.6. The Gallaher Group sponsored under the brand Park Drive from 1972 to 1974, while from 1976 to 2005 Imperial Tobacco sponsored under the brand Embassy. Legislation in 2003 placed restrictions on tobacco advertising, including sponsorship of sporting events. Embassy received special dispensation to continue snooker sponsorship until 2005.

Since 2006 all championships have been sponsored by betting companies. In 2006 888.com took over the sponsorship of the event, and they signed a five-year deal, but pulled out after just three years.  Betfred.com were the sponsor from 2009 to 2012, followed by Betfair in 2013, Dafabet in 2014 and by Betfred again, from 2015 to 2018.

Television coverage

Before the world championship moved to the Crucible in 1977, TV coverage was very limited. In the 1950s, the BBC occasionally showed snooker on television, including 30-minute programmes of the 1953 and 1955 finals, with commentary by Sidney Smith. Despite the launch of Pot Black in 1969 there was little coverage of the World Championship. There was some coverage of the 1973, 1974 and 1976 championships in Manchester on one or two Saturday afternoon Grandstand programmes each year. Commentary was by Ted Lowe.

BBC TV coverage for the first Crucible championship in 1977 was increased but was limited to highlights of the semi-finals and some coverage of the final on Grandstand and a late night highlights programme. The commentator was Ted Lowe with the highlight programmes presented by Alan Weeks. The 1978 championship was the first to have daily BBC TV coverage with 14 nightly highlights programmes as well as Saturday afternoon coverage on Grandstand. Ted Lowe commentated while the programmes were presented by David Vine and Alan Weeks. In 1979, TV coverage was extended to include an early-evening "Frame of the Day" as well as live coverage of parts of the final. David Vine was the presenter while the commentary team was extended to include Jack Karnehm and Clive Everton. In 1980, TV coverage included daily live coverage for the first time. Coverage of the final was interrupted to bring live coverage of the Iranian Embassy Siege.

David Vine continued to be the main host for BBC TV coverage until 2000. For some years commentary was primarily by Ted Lowe, Clive Everton and Jack Karnehm although John Pulman, Vera Selby and others were used. In 1986 Jim Meadowcroft, John Spencer and John Virgo were used as summarisers. From 2001 to 2009 the BBC coverage was hosted by Hazel Irvine or Ray Stubbs. From 2010 Hazel Irvine took over with highlights presented by Rishi Persad. In February 2013, the BBC announced that Rishi Persad had been replaced by Jason Mohammad. Commentators have included Willie Thorne, Dennis Taylor, John Virgo, John Parrott, Steve Davis, Ken Doherty, Stephen Hendry, Terry Griffiths and Neal Foulds.

In January 2013, it was announced that the BBC had renewed their contract to broadcast the Triple Crown tournaments up until the end of the 2016/2017 season. Eurosport also provides coverage of the event, with commentators including Joe Johnson, Mike Hallett, Neal Foulds and Alan McManus. Often Eurosport cover both matches simultaneously on their two British Eurosport channels.

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The Aintree Grand National Runners 2018

Grand National Runners 2018 Guide

Grand National 2018 Results

The Top 6 Horses of The 2018 Grand National

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TIGER ROLL - NO 13

1st

Trainer: Gordon Elliott, Ireland

Weight: 10-12 Jockey: Davy Russell

Form: 331P-2P51 Age: 8

Odds: 14/1 28/1

PLEASANT COMPANY - NO 21

2nd

Trainer: W. P. Mullins, Ireland

Weight: 10-10 Jockey: David Mullins

Form:  3P/1419-0P Age: 10

Odds: 40/1 80/1

BLESS THE WINGS - NO 36

3rd

Trainer: Gordon Elliott, Ireland

Weight: 10-5 Jockey: Jack Kennedy

Form: 45324-212 Age: 13

Odds: 50/1 100/1

ANIBALE FLY - NO 3

4th

Trainer: A. J. Martin, Ireland

Weight: 11-7 Jockey: Barry Geraghty

Form142-591F3 Age: 8

Odds: 11/1 22/1

MILANSBAR - NO 37

5th

Trainer: Neil King

Weight: 10-5 Jockey: Bryony Frost

FormPP-63U152 Age: 11

Odds: 50/1 100/1

ROAD TO RICHES - NO 40

6th

Trainer: Noel Meade, Ireland

Weight: 10-4 Jockey: Sean Flanagan

FormP285-090P Age: 11

Odds: 66/1 132/1

 

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Aintree Grand National 2018 bets, tips and odds | Everything you need to know about Grand National Day

The Best Grand National 2018 Guide online

Grand National Runners 2018 - final 40 runners announced

The final list of runners and riders for the 2018 Grand National at Aintree on Saturday has been announced, with Gold Present the only withdrawal at the final 48-hour declaration stage.

The Jonjo O'Neill-trained Minella Rocco, runner-up in the 2017 Cheltenham Gold Cup, will shoulder top weight of 11st 10lb, with Noel Meade's Road To Riches sneaking in at the bottom of the 40-runner field.

Blaklion is one of two runners for Nigel Twiston-Davies after he finished fourth in last year's race and he will be joined by stablemate Double Ross.

Gordon Elliott will aim to cap an unbelievable season with Tiger Roll, Ucello Conti and the 13-year-old Bless The Wings.

He is not the only teenager in the race, though, as fellow 13-year-old Raz De Maree will try to supplement the Welsh National he won in January when he was ridden by James Bowen.

This time Bowen rides Shantou Flyer for Richard Hobson, while his elder brother Sean will be on Warriors Tale for Paul Nicholls, who also runs Vicente.

The Last Samuri was second to Rule The World two years ago and while he was unplaced last year, trainer Kim Bailey was delighted with his third behind Tiger Roll in the Cross Country at Cheltenham last time.

"I'm very happy with his preparation and I thought he ran a fantastic race in the Cross Country," Bailey told At The Races. "He's as good as he was two years ago, but unfortunately he's carrying nearly a stone more than he was then, which makes it difficult."

Total Recall, Gold Cup third Anibale Fly, Seeyouatmidnight and Baie Des Iles, for the husband-and-wife team of Ross O'Sullivan and Katie Walsh, are other fancied runners.

Bryony Frost will ride in the National for the first time when she is reunited with Milansbar, on whom she won the Classic Chase at Warwick in January.

Rachael Blackmore will also ride over the Aintree fences for the first time as she has been recruited by Mouse Morris to partner Alpha Des Obeaux.

The four reserves are Thunder And Roses, Delusion of Grandeur, Walk In The Mill and Vintage Clouds. If any of the 40 confirmed runners are taken out before 1pm on Friday, the reserves will step up in the order in which they appear on the racecard.

day one

It's finally arrived! Today was the opening Day of the Randox Health Grand National 2018 and we've been bringing you all the latest coverage, live from the course at Aintree.

The Grand National festival is one of, if not the , key event in the sporting calendar, and we have been looking forward to it all year. Thursday kicked off three full days of world-famous racing.

All the results from day one

If you’re just getting home from work, or you’re just catching up on day one of the Grand National, here are all the results from Aintree:

1.45pm Manifesto Novices’ Chase (Grade One), 2m4f, £100,000

  • 1st Finians Oscar 5/2 
  • 2nd Renes Girl 8/1 

2.20pm Doom Bar Anniversary 4-Y-O Juvenile Hurdle (Grade One), 2m1f, £100,000

  • 1st We Have A Dream 2/1 
  • 2nd Gumball 20/1
  • 3rd Apples Shakira 13/8F

2.50pm Betway Bowl Chase (Grade One), 3m1f, £190,000

  • 1st Might Bite 4/5F 
  • 2nd Bristol De Mai 5/1 
  • 3rd Clan Des Obeaux 8/1

3.25pm Betway Aintree Hurdle (Grade One), 2m4f, £250,000

  • 1st L’Ami Serge 5/1 
  • 2nd Supasundae 11/10F 
  • 3rd Clyne 25/1

4.05pm Randox Health Foxhunters’ Chase, 2m5f, £45,000

  • 1st Balnaslow 11/2
  • 2nd Bears Affair 20/1
  • 3rd Greensalt 66/1

4.40pm Red Rum Handicap Chase, 2m, £90,000

  • 1st Bentelimar 10/1
  • 2nd Theinval 5/1
  • 3rd Gino Trail 10/1
  • 4th Doitforthevillage 10/1

5.15pm Goffs Nickel Coin Mares’ Standard Open NHF (Grade Two), 2m, £45,000

  • 1st Getaway Katie Mai 15/8F
  • 2nd Midnightreferendum 25/1
  • 3rd Duhallow Gesture 10/1

Aintree Grand National Ladies Day 2018

The most fashionable day of the racing calendar has come and gone; this was Ladies Day 2018!

Following the success of opening day, thousands of racegoers were expected to come through the gates at Aintree racecourse today - and they didn't disappoint.

With the highlights of the day including the Style Award, Ladies Day saw full-racing fans in their finery.

ladies day

All the results from Ladies Day

1:40pm - The Alder Hey Handicap Hurdle

  • 1st Jester Jet 20/1 
  • 2nd Eaton Hill 20/1 
  • 3rd Who Dares Wins 13/2F
  • 4th Wilde Blue Yonder 14/1

2:20pm - The Aintree Top Novices’ Hurdle

  • 1st Lalor 14/1 
  • 2nd Vision Des Flos 11/4 
  • 3rd Bedrock 33/1

2:50pm - The Mildmay Novices’ Chase

  • 1st Terrefort 3/1F 
  • 2nd Ms Parfois 9/2 
  • 3rd Elegant Escape 4/1 

3:25pm - The Melling Chase

  • 1st Politologue 11/1 
  • 2nd Min 11/10F 

4:05pm - The Randox Health Topham Chase

  • 1st Ultragold 14/1
  • 2nd Shanahans Turn 14/1
  • 3rd Theatre Territory 10/1
  • 4th Kilcrea Vale 12/1

4:40pm - The Doom Bar Sefton Novices’ Hurdle

  • 1st Santini 6/4F
  • 2nd Roksana 9/1
  • 3rd Tower Bridge 8/1

5:15pm - The Weatherbys Private Bank Standard Open NH Flat

  • 1st Portrush Ted 25/1
  • 2nd Kateson 16/1
  • 3rd Harambe 33/1

Watch the Grand National 2017

 

Its estimated that a quarter of the UK adult population will bet on the Randox Health sponsored Grand National 2018. Most people will have a small each-way bet on a horse they fancy from the list of Grand National runners 2018 for no other reason than the fact that they like the name. Of course there’s nothing wrong with picking a horse for that reason, as pre-race favourites have a dire record in the race.

The Grand National 2018 is famed for its unpredictable nature and rightly so, in the past century five 100/1 shots have triumphed over the famous fences. However, the Grand National is far less of a lottery than many people believe.  One thing is for sure, everyone will be looking for the Grand National 2018 best odds! As one of the biggest UK sports betting events of the year, it's no wonder so many people go mad for it!

Trends and statistics have emerged over the last 20 years which can help you identify those runners who have the potential to run a big race.  Whether you decide to follow the trends and stats or choose your horse based on its name, silk colour or jockey riding we can tell you everything you need to know about this year's hopefuls including where to find the grand national 2018 best odds.

A TV audience in excess of 10 million will tune in to watch the drama of the 2018 Grand National unfold on the 14th of April at 5:15pm. Along with those watching at home a 70,000 strong crowd will be at Aintree racecourse to cheer on the horses from the first fence to the final furlong.

Grand National Runners 2018 - Tips | Favourites | Info

** As soon as the final line up is announces we'll have that information and analysis for you right here **

Horses that have run in previous Aintree Grand Nationals are always a good place to start. When it comes to looking for horses that will run well in the 2018 race, this trend is up with 5 of the last 16 winners of the Grand National having been unplaced in the previous year’s race.  Here are our best Grand National tips for 2018’s favourites or at least the ones we expect to make the cut.  The Grand National runners 2018 are as follows.

 

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Blacklion

The Nigel Twiston-Davies trained, Blaklion, who ran a gallant fourth in the 2017 Grand National, heads most of the bookmaker markets around the 25/1 mark. But many of the layers are going much shorter (14/1 – 16/1). This horse will be 9 years-old come April 2018, which is the perfect age for this race. 14 of the previous 27 winners were aged 9 or 10 years-old. The Twiston-Davies yard have also won the race twice in the past, with Earth Summit (1998) and Bindaree (2002).

They certainly know what’s needed to prepare Grand National horses. With another year on his back, we can expect Blaklion to be stronger this time. Being only 8 ¼ lengths back from the winner – One For Arthur – in 2017, we know he stays this 4m 2 ½ f trip well.

We can expect his handicap mark to be higher this year, but having proved he can tackle the tricky Grand National fences suggests his connections will aim at giving him another crack in April. Being placed before though does, however, mean he’s got a big negative trend to overcome that has seen just 1 winner or placed horse from the previous year’s race go onto win 12 months later. But he could still be one for the each-way backers. However, as soon as the ‘once-a-year’ punter remember his name from last year, there is also a big chance his 25/1 price will be a lot, lot shorter on the day. Don’t forget 12 months ago he was sent off as the 8/1 favourite! Our Grand National tips would be to back him now, with the view to his price being a lot shorter on the day.

Minella Rocco

At the time of writing this Jonjo O’Neill-trained runner is yet to taste the National fences, but after running second to Sizing John in the 2017 Cheltenham Gold Cup is another that, if making the final line-up, would add a bit of class to this years Grand National. The yard won this race in 2010 with Don’t Push It – another JP McManus-owned runner – and at just 8 years-old there should be a lot more to come from this classy chaser.

Having said that, he’s not started his 2017/18 campaign well with heavy defeats at Punchestown and Cheltenham, so he’d need to bounce back from those efforts if he’s to be considered at this stage. He’s also won just one of his 11 chase starts, at the time of writing – with his last victory coming back at the 2016 Cheltenham Festival.

With that in-mind, he’s a horse that has gone well more often than not at Prestbury Park so connections may well prefer a tilt at the Cheltenham Festival again, rather than running in this race – we’ll see.

The Last Samurai

Many people will recall this horse being the runner-up in the 2016 Grand National. He would have cost the bookmakers a few quid that day after being well-supported into 8/1 joint-favourite.

He’d won the Grimthorpe Chase (a recognised Grand National Trial race) by an easy 10 lengths the month before. He figured in the 2017 Grand National too, but could only manage 16th, but to his credit he was burdened with a massive 11-10 that day. Since 1978, 120 horses have tried to win with more than 11-5, with just two winners; Many Clouds (11-9) in 2015 & Neptune Collonges (11-6) in 2012.

This race will certainly be a target again and being that he’s got round in the last two renewals then he’s becoming a regular in the race. We can expect the handicapper to relent a bit on his mark. So, our Grand National tips would include watching that closely. A lot will depend on the handicapper. But he returned to the track this season with a decent second at Kempton over an inadequate trip to show he’s still in love with the game.

Native River

Another horse that is proving to be popular in the Grand National betting market. If Native River makes the race, he would certainly be a class act in the line-up. This Colin Tizzard-trained runner will only be 8 years-old by April but he’s already a Hennessy Gold Cup and Welsh National winner. He also rounded off last season with a decent third in the Cheltenham Gold Cup. He’s won at Aintree in the past, but he’s yet to tackle the Grand National-style fences. This may be seen as a negative with 7 of the last 15 winners having tasted these fences before.

That said, he’s a good jumper that heads into the 2017/18 off the back of 10 chase runs and he’s yet to finish out of the first three in these, let alone fall in any of them! Our Grand National tips are that he’ll be a big player if connections opt for this route, rather than the Gold Cup. Though, if he does head to Aintree for this race then a lot will depend how much weight the handicapper gives him – we’ll know that later in the season.

Cause of Causes

A horse that went from strength-to-strength last season and many racing fans will remember him winning the unique Cross Country race at the Cheltenham Festival in 2017. Having won over those tricky obstacles, the National fences looked sure to suit. This proved right in the 2017 Grand National after finishing a 4 ½ length second to One For Arthur. He was sent off at a well-fancied 16/1 12 months ago so the 33/1 on offer now looks a tempting price.

He’s another that will have the negative trend of past placed horses to overcome and is sure to have more weight this time. However, his ability to handle the course is a big plus. With the gap between the Cheltenham Festival and Aintree in 2018 being almost 4 weeks then there is a good chance this Gordon Elliott-trained runner can try and defend his Cheltenham Cross Country crown before heading to Aintree once again.

Vieu Lion Rouge

The Pipe Pond House stable that are certainly no strangers to landing this race. They won the prize in 1994 (Miinnehoma) and 2008 (Comply Or Die). This horse will be 9 years-old by April and is another that punters might recall after running a fair sixth last year. He was eventually 27 lengths behind the winner. But that was still a top effort for at horse that had only run 10 times over fences. He actually went second after three out but failed to sustain that effort. So, many will look at that with stamina concerns.

He was 7th in the 2016 running so the fences and getting round don’t seem to be an issue. It’s just whether he fully gets this 4m2f trip. At this stage, the 40/1 price with Coral looks about right. With another year on his back then he may return this season a stronger horse. The Grand National tips point to take away could be that he’s in another race that he gets round but finds 5 or 6 too good again.

Saint Are

If there is a horse still in training that deserves to win a National it’s this fella. He’s run well in four Grand Nationals now, and has finished 2nd and 3rd in two! This horse will be 12 years-old by April. But with four Grand Nationals already under his belt, he’s becoming a regular fixture in this world’s greatest steeplechase. He was a gallant third 12 months ago and only beaten 8 ¼ lengths. While in 2016 he was pulled-up, finished 2nd in 2015 and 9th in 2013. He’s raced at Aintree many times before too and seems to love the flat nature of the track. So, our Grand National tips point will be to keep his age in mind. Providing it doesn’t catch up with him, he’s another to have on your radar. Though, probably more in terms of grabbing another place, rather than winning.

Vincente

From the Paul Nicholls yard that have won the Grand National once before (2012, Neptune Collonges).

This horse will be 9 years-old by April, but punters will also might remember him from last year as he was sent off 16/1 in the 2017 running. However, he got no further than the first fence that day after coming to grief under jockey Brian Hughes so that might put some people off backing him again. However, it’s worth noting he’s a National winner in his own right too after landing the Scottish version in 2017 after that fall and has returned to the track in 2017 in similar form with a decent return run at Cheltenham in November. The handicapper is sure to give him a chance and if he’s got anything near the 10-10 in weight he had 12 months ago then this improving staying chaser is certainly one to consider.

Definitely Red

Another horse Grand National fans might remember from 2017. This Brian Ellison-trained runner was almost sent off as favourite (10/1). Punters backed this improving stayer into that price from around 20/1 on the morning.

Despite failing to reward his followers he did have his excuses. His saddle eventually slipped and was pulled-up. But before that he had been badly hampered at the 6th fence (Bechers Brook) and never really recovered from that.

He’ll be 9 years-old come April so is another that looks to be the perfect age now. Providing he has an injury-free season, this race certainly looks a firm target for him. Our top Grand National tips here are that he’s sure to be a lot shorter in the day than the 33/1 being offered now. Especially once the novice punters recall his name from 12 months ago.

Pleasant Company

This Willie Mullins-trained runner was backed down to 11/1 from much bigger prices on the day. He ran well, too, after finishing 9th that day and despite being 28 lengths back from the winner. He did lose all chance when stumbling badly at the 25th fence. The horse stayed on well after that under Ruby Walsh.

But after proving he’s another that can handle the fences then he’s one to note. Again, his current price of around 40/1 looks big considering his was backed into 11/1 last year. He’ll be 10 years-old this time, while that track experience from last year would have taught him a lot. It’s hard to know if he’ll give the race another go. But barring any injuries, we feel that this would certainly be a race on his agenda this season.

Go Conquer

This horse could be one to have on your radar and follow as the season progresses.

It’s hard to 100% know at this stage if the horse will head to the Grand National, or other targets. But this is another from the Jonjo O’Neill yard that won the race in 2010. This horse will be 9 years-old come the race, which looks the perfect age and having returned to the track. This season, with two wins at Fontwell and Ascot, he’s clearly a horse still on the up.

He’s a front-running sort so if he doesn’t head to the National he’ll have to do it the hard way from the front. But the plusses surrounding that are that he’ll stay out of trouble and any loose horses. He’s also tasted these fences in the past when 17th (of 29) in the Topham Chase at the Grand National meeting 12 months ago. That race might also be a possible target too. The trip would also be a bit of an unknown as the furthest he’s gone to date is 3 miles. Though, he’s caught the eye so far this season and looks a horse to note.

How are the Grand National 2018 Runners Chosen?

Every year a maximum of 40 horses line up at the start of the Aintree Grand National and 600 million people worldwide tune in to watch them tackle the 30 notoriously difficult fences in a bid to put themselves into the history books. But how do those particular runners and riders make it to Grand National day?

A horse will be entered into the Grand National runners 2018 if it meets the minimum criteria for qualification and the owner and trainer feel that their horse is capable of handling the race. Not all horses are suited to the long Aintree course or have the necessary jumping ability. Even if a horse gets entered that doesn't guarantee a place at the starting line.

The race is open to horses aged seven and upwards that have been placed first, second, third or fourth in a chase of three miles or more and who are allotted a rating of at least 120 by the BHA Handicapper.

The entry date for the race is always at the end of January, with the names and numbers announced by the BHA (British Horseracing Authority) the following day. In 2017 there were 110 entries, 2016 had 126 entries, an increase of 28 on the 98 entered in 2015.

The BHA Head Of Handicapping then takes the list of entries and frames the weights. In other words, he decides which horses will carry the heaviest weights and which will carry the least. The handicap system is designed to give every horse a fair chance of winning the race, good horses will carry more weight than those perceived to have less ability.

The maximum weight any horse can carry in the 2018 Grand National will be 11st 10lbs and the minimum is 10st. Each runner's weight will be largely determined by their OR (Official Rating) and the higher the rating, the higher the weight. Although the Grand National is the only race in Britain in which the Handicapper can ignoring the official ratings if he wishes, often to the consternation of owners and trainers.

Horses are then put in descending order from the highest to the lowest weighted and that also determines their race number. The top-weighted horse is number one, second heaviest weighted horse is number two and so on.

The weights are then announced, in 2017 it was on February 14th, and from then on a series of ‘Declaration Stages’ take place. At each of these stages, horses can be withdrawn from the proceedings by their trainers and as they are removed and the entries get whittled down so even horses that have not initially made the Top 40 may now do so as entries above them are taken out.

The very last declaration stage takes place at 10am on the Thursday immediately before Grand National 2018 day. This is the point where the top 40 horses will be near completion along with four additional reserves.

The following morning, Friday, at 10am any non-runners must be declared and be replaced by one of the four reserves. This is also the point where any horses who were previously allocated weights of less than 10st will have their weight increased to meet requirements.

Criteria for Jockeys Wishing to Participate

The criteria for professional or amateur jockeys wanting to take part in the race are very specific. Grand National Runners 2018 must have ridden not less than 15 winners in chases or hurdle races under the Rules of Racing and/or the Rules of the Irish National Hunt Committee and ridden not less than 10 of these winners in chases.

A champion jockey like A.P. McCoy who primarily rode horses for super owner J.P. McManus had his pick of horses in the race before he retired. Ruby Walsh and Barry Geraghty are other top jockeys who can often choose their rides and odds will tumble on any horses chosen by the pair.

Amateur jockeys are now a rarity in the Grand National compared with races early days. Sam Whaley-Cohen is probably the most famous amateur rider in recent years and he enjoys a record over the Aintree fences which is the envy of many a professional.

Other jockeys will usually ride for the yards that retain them or a trainer will engage their services just for this race. In recent years a number of high profile jockeys have missed the race due to injuries picked up at the Cheltenham festival which is the last major National Hunt meeting before Aintree.

Don't be put off backing a less well known jockey or even one who has never ridden the course before. In 2013 jockey Ryan Mania won the race at his first attempt!

Grand National Runners 2018
Champion Jockey A.P McCoy

Grand National History

The Grand National at Aintree has been a British sporting institution since 1839. A horse called Lottery won the inaugural race and Captain Becher fell at a now world famous brook. In those days, horses jumped a stone wall, crossed ploughed land and finished over two hurdles. Read about the legends and key moments that have gone down in Grand National History.

The course was founded by William Lynn, a syndicate head and proprietor of the Waterloo Hotel. He leased land in Aintree from William Molyneux, 2nd Earl of Sefton. Lynn set out a course and built a grandstand. Lord Sefton laid the foundation stone on 7 February 1829. The race was then known as the Grand Liverpool Steeplechase.

 

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Early Grand National HIstory

The Grand National Runners 2018 come from a very long line of ultra elite horses.  There is actually much debate regarding the first official Grand National. Some leading historians, including John Pinfold, assert that the first running was in 1836 and won by The Duke. This same horse won again in 1837, while Sir William was the winner in 1838. These races have long been disregarded because of the belief that they took place at Maghull and not Aintree.

Some historians have unearthed evidence that suggest those three races were run over the same course at Aintree. Also, that they were regarded as Grand Nationals up until the mid-1860. Contemporary newspaper reports place all the 1836-38 races at Aintree although the 1839 race is the first described as “National”. To date, though, calls for the Nationals of 1836–1838 to be restored to the record books have been unsuccessful.In 1838 and 1839 three events transformed the Liverpool race from a small local affair to a national event.  That's incredible to think that this became the biggest sportsbook betting event of the calendar 

Firstly, the Great St. Albans Chase was not renewed after 1838. This left a major hole in the chasing calendar. Secondly, the railway arrived in Liverpool, enabling transport to the course by rail. Finally, a committee was formed to better organise the event.These factors led to a highly publicised race in 1839. It attracted a larger field of top horses and riders, greater press coverage and an increased attendance. Over time, the first three runnings were forgotten, securing 1839 its place in Grand National history as the inaugural race.

By the 1840s, Lynn’s ill-health blunted his enthusiasm for Aintree. Edward Topham, a respected handicapper and member of Lynn’s syndicate, began to exert his influence. He turned the chase into a handicap from a weight-for-age race in 1843. He took over the lease in 1848 and one century later, the Topham family bought the course outright.

Grand National Fact Box

It was over 40 years ago that Red Rum recorded the first of three victories in Grand National History. This earned him pride of place in the record books forever. He remains the only horse to have won three Grand Nationals and, was known to be a phenomenon.

Bred to be a sprinter, Red Rum won the grueling four-and-a-half mile chase in 1973, 1974 and 1977. He finished second on his other two starts, to become the greatest Grand National performer ever.

The Grand National Runners 2018 Horse Race is often called the world's greatest steeplechase. The race is one of the most famous steeplechases in the world. It is a unique test of horsemanship for the rider and also a test of a great significance for a horse.

 

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Before the Turn of the Century

The following year the race was held in Maghull (Still in Liverpool) This race was also won by The Duke but this time was ridden by Mr Potts as Captain Becher could not get to the course as the previous day he had been riding at St Albans, of course in those days travel was slow and it was almost impossible to get to the course. This year the race was named as Grand Liverpool Steeplechase.

The following year again at Maghull was another success. The Duke was again running being ridden by captain Becher but on this occasion he finished third and the winner of the race is not clear as official records show the winner as Sir Henry however there was no horse called Sir Henry running. The race was actually won by Sir William.

The following year (1839) was to be what every official record shows as the first Grand National even though at this time it was still called the Grand Liverpool Steeplechase. The race was won by Lottery and he goes down in the history books as the first winner of the race. Captain Becher was also running that year but fell into the brook at the fence that now holds his name.

The Grand National Runners 2018 are preceded by an extraordinary history of success, failure and tragedy. 

 

Since these early years there have been many changes and stories of The Grand National horse race. In 1839 the name of the race was changed to The Liverpool and National Handicap Steeplechase and as the name suggests the race became a handicap race. In 1847 the race was given the title of The Grand National Handicap Steeplechase. A name it still holds today.

 

1850/1851 saw the first duel winner of the race when Abd-El-Kader was the winner on both occasions. 1869 was to see the first Grey winner, The Lamb who also went on to win the race three years later. This was nothing short of miraculous given that the horse had been suffering from a wasting disease in the time between these races. 1893 saw another remarkable story when a horse called Cloister won the race by 40 lengths.

 

In 1895 a very good horse, The Wild Man from Borneo won the race and his stuffed head is still at the course in the room that has been used to interview the winning connections.  The late 1800's also saw the greatest of all horses to run in The Grand National, the duel winner Manifesto.

Redrum Making History in 1977

After the Turn of the Centuary

Soon after the turn of the century it was a horse called Moifaa was the remarkable winner in 1904 when a ship bringing him to the race from New Zealand was lost and the horse had to swim ashore, 50 miles it was said, to an island, he was later recovered and when on not only to run in the race but to win the race.

The outbreak of the Great War was not to stop the race and it was held at the racecourse at Gatwick now the site of one of London's busiest Airports. The 1920's saw the introduction of Radio to the race when in 1927 the B.B.C. brought the race to it's biggest ever audience to date when Sprig was to be the victor.

The Second World War was to see the only interruption of the race. The race was not run between 1941 and 1945 and the course at this time was used for military purposes. In 1946 as soon as the military were gone the operation was put into place for that year's race and on the 5th of April Lovely Cottage won the 1946 Grand National.

The following year 1947 was to see the race run for the first time on a Saturday, at the request of the Prime Minister Clement Attlee, who was said to have suggested the move would be "in the interests of British industry". Caughoo was the winner that day. Up until this time the Aintree racecourse had been owned by Lord Sefton but in 1949 he sold the course to Tophams Limited for a sum of 275,000 pounds.

In 1952 the Tophams had a dispute with the B.B.C. over the radio coverage and this lead to the family doing their own commentary of the race, if anybody is ever in any doubt that race commentary is a difficult job then a brief listen to this commentary will tell you different. It can only be described as dreadful and it was soon handed back to the professionals.

1960 was the year when the B.B.C. was to show the race "live" on Television for the first time. Merryman II won that year and the B.B.C. have been doing a great job ever since. 1963 was a year of note when the horse that came 7th, bore a very well known owners colours that of the film star Gregory Peck.

1967 saw the biggest price winner; Foinavon won the race after he was the only horse to jump a very small fence in the race. There was a great pile up at the fence and this horse ridden by John Buckingham when on to score at odds of 100/1. The fence was later named after the horse.

The late sixties and early seventies saw a good number of good horses win the race, Red Alligator ridden by Brian Fletcher, Gay Tripridden by Pat Taffe, Well to Do ridden by G. Thorner, but it was 1973 when one of the greatest stories started. All the talk this year was of one of the greatest steeplechasers ever The great Crisp.

He was to carry top weight of 12 st and this he seemed to do easily. Crisp was way out in front for a long way until caught close home with a horse carrying almost 2 st less. But history was to show that then young pretender that day would turn out to be the only horse in The Grand Nationals history win follow up his win with two others and was to become the most famous Grand National horse of all time, of course it was Red Rum.

In the 1974 Grand National, Red Rum was now the top weight with 12st to carry but he won again. He was to wait another three years to taste victory again in 1977 when he became the only three times winner of the race. Between his wins he came second twice. First in 1975 to L'escargot and then in 1976 to Rag Trade.

1977 was also another landmark year as it was to see the first ever female jockey in the race, Charlotte Brew may not be a well known name in racing today but back in 1977 she was the person all the commentators wanted to interview as she has the title as being the first Woman to ride in the Grand National.

Today women are unquestionably accepted as equally competitive jockeys and the Grand National Runners 2018 will likely include a number of female Jockeys.

Pre-Millennial Grand National History of Note

Good winners of the 80's included Ben NevisGrittarHallo DandyWest Tip but two horses where going to make their connections famous in this decade. The 1981 Grand National saw a previously crocked horse making his big race entry named Aldaniti and a jockey who had recently recovered from cancer Bob Champion win the race this caused tears of joy to a whole nation of race lovers.

1983 was another landmark year when the first ever woman trainer won the race when Corbiere put Jenny Pitman's name on the role of honours. Mr Frisk won the 1990 race on fast ground in a record time. He was also ridden by an amateur, Mr. M.Armitage.

The 1991 Grand National was to see a horse called Seagram win the race. His name was the same as the race sponsors who did not own the horse. However they were asked if they wanted to purchase the horse some time before the race but declined the offer. In 1992 was another memorable winner. There was to be a general election in the UK and by coincidence this year saw a giant of a horse called Party Politics win.

The following year 1993 was again to be a landmark year as the race had to be declared void after a second false start was not heard by half of the jockeys who went on to complete a full circuit of the track. A number of jockeys actually did a second round and they did not know until the end of the four and a half miles that the race would be declared void for a false start.

This may seem strange but around this time there were a lot of protests being held on the course and the jockeys ignored the officials trying to stop them as they thought wrongly that they were protesters. The horse that finished first that day was Esha Nessnow known as the horse that won the National that never was.

The 1994 Grand National saw another famous win when top UK comedian Freddie Star's horse Miinnehoma won the race. Although Freddie was not at the course he was interviewed on the phone for the TV cameras in one of the most bizarre interviews on TV when the viewers could only here one side of the conversion that of his trainer.

The 1995 Grand National saw Jenny Pitman win the race for the second time with Royal Athlete. The 150th running of the race in 1997 was another bizarre story when a bomb scare meant that the course had to be evacuated and the race postponed until the Monday, to allow the course to be searched. The winner on this famous occasion was Lord Gyllene.

The 1998 Grand National saw the Aintree press manager win the race with his syndicated horse Earth Summit. The race in very soft ground. Earth Summit also won the Scottish and Welsh Nationals in his career. 1999 saw a remarkable father and son win the race, Tommy Carrbury a previous winner as a jockey was the trainer, saw his son Paul partner Bobby Jo to victory.

The Grand National Runners 2018 will not only be competing for the coveted grand national trophy but also to earn their place in a history as important as any!

A Big Start to the New Millennium

The year 2000 race unbelievably was the same another father and son combination win when the trainer Ted Walsh saw his son Ruby win on Papillon. 2001 Saw Red Marauder win in good style in a race ran in bottomless conditions. All the horses fell with the exception of two horses the winner and the second Smarty.

The 2002 Grand National was won in good style by Bindaree who won as so many horses do, by catching a horse on the run in. The 2003 Grand National was the turn of Monty's Pass to win the race but his win was to be overshadowed by one of his owners who had bets on the horse to win a total of over 800,000 pounds.

Grand National Fact Box

The course is nearly two and a quarter miles in length and has 16 unique fences including the famous Bechers Brook. The fences have an added problem for horses, the famous drop fences where the landing side of the fence is lower than the take off side, this means the horse approaching the fence is unaware of the drop until in the air.

At The Chair Fence the reverse of this occurs. It is the biggest fence on the course and the landing side is higher than the take off.

In the Grand National the horses have to complete almost two circuits of the course and jump 30 fences and then complete a long 494 yard run in which has been the downfall of many in the past. There are two fences that are jumped only once and this is on the first circuit and they are the famous Chair and the water jump.

 

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Historical Grand National Statistics

More Stats than you'll know how to Analyse

Important Horse Stats

  • Red Rum is the most successful horse, winning the Grand National three times: 1973, 1974 and 1977.
  • The oldest winning horse was Peter Simple, aged 15 (1853); the youngest were Alcibiade(1865), Regal (1876), Austerlitz (1877), Empress (1880), Lutteur III (1909), all aged 5.
  • Abd-El-Kaderwas the first horse to win back-to-back Nationals, in 1850 and 1851. The Colonel, (1869 & 1870), Reynoldstown (1935 & 1936) and Red Rum (1973 & 1974) have also retained the crown.
  • Moiffawon in 1904. As one of the strangest Grand National stats, he disappeared a year earlier. On a trip to Liverpool from New Zealand, Moiffa’s ship was wrecked. The horse was presumed lost at sea before turning up on an outcrop south of Ireland.
  • Golden Millerwon in 1934 and became the only horse to complete the Cheltenham Gold Cup-Grand National double. Garrison Savannah narrowly failed in 1991.
  • Manifestoran in more races than any other horse. Between 1895 and 1904, he ran eight races, winning two and coming third three times. He only failed to finish once.
  • Two Russian horses, Reljefand Grifel, competed in the 1961 Grand National, but neither finished. Horses from Hungary, the Czech Republic and Norway have also run with similarly disappointing results. Hungarian chaser Buszke was pulled up in 1868. While Czechoslovakian Gyi Lovam (1931), came to grief at Becher’s. He was remounted but fell again four fences later. Czech-trained EssexFraze and Quirinus carried automatic top-weight but didn’t complete. The 2000 renewal saw the first Norwegian-trained runner, Trinitro, fall at the first fence.
  • Japanese thoroughbred, Fujino-Ocaptured four consecutive renewals of the prestigious Nakayama Daishogai. He was sent to Britain to be trained for Aintree by Fulke Walwyn in 1966. He was given the automatic top-weight but failed to get competitive.

International Horses and Mares

  • Five winners were bred in France — Alcibiade(1865), Reugny (1874), Lutteur III (1909), Mon Mome (2009) and Neptune Collonges(2012). Mely Moss, runner-up to Papillon in the 2000 Grand National. The 1996 and 2015 runners-up Encore Un Peu and Saint Are, were also French bred.
  • In 1998, Earth Summit, owned by a six-strong partnership, became the first winner of the Grand National who was also successful in both the Scottish and Welsh Grand Nationals.
  • Only three greys have won the Grand National – The Lamb(1868 and 1871), Nicolaus Silver (1961) and Neptune Collonges (2012). Suny Bay finished second to Lord Gyllene in 1997 and filled the same spot behind Earth Summit in 1998. King Johns Castle was second in 2008.
  • Thirteen mares have won the Grand National, but the most recent was Nickel Coinback in 1951. Since then, the mares Gentle Moya (2nd 1956), Tiberetta (3rd 1957 and 2nd 1958), Miss Hunter (3rd 1970), Eyecatcher (3rd 1976 and 1977), Auntie Dot (3rd 1991), Ebony Jane(4th 1994) and Dubacilla (4th 1995) have all finished in the first four.
  • In 1923, Sergeant Murphybecame the first US bred horse to win. He is also the joint-second oldest horse to win, at 13, alongside Why Not (1884). The US bred Battleship, son of the famous Man o’ War, became the first (and so far only) horse to have won both the Grand National (in 1938) and the American Grand National (which he won four years earlier).
  • 1991 was the seventh and final year that the Grand National was sponsored by Seagram. Aptly, the race was won by a horse named Seagram, bred in New Zealand. 1997 saw another New Zealand-bred winner in Lord Gyllene.

 

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Important Jockey Stats

  • George Stevens is the most successful jockey in the history of the National with five wins. His final triumph came in 1870. Stevens died three months after finishing sixth in the 1871 race.
  • Together with the Lincoln Handicap run on the Flat at Doncaster, the Grand National forms leg two of the ‘Spring Double’. The only jockey to have won both contests is Dave Dick, who captured the Lincoln in 1941 and the Grand National in 1956.
  • Bruce Hobbs was the youngest jockey to have won the race. The 17-year-old triumphed aboard Battleship in 1938.
  • The late Dick Saunders is the oldest winner of the Grand National, partnering Grittar to victory in 1982. Saunders was 48 and the first member of the Jockey Club to partner a Grand National winner.
  • Brian Fletcher (1968 Red Alligator, 1973 and 1974 Red Rum) shares a 20th century record with the legendary Jack Anthony (1911 Glenside, 1915 Ally Sloper, 1920 Troytown), both jockeys having ridden three National winners.
  • Plenty of riders have won the Grand National on their first attempt. The most recent are Ryan Mania (2013 Auroras Encore), Liam Treadwell (2009 Mon Mome), Niall ‘Slippers’ Madden (2006 Numbersixvalverde), and Ruby Walsh (2000 Papillon).
  • Ruby Walsh holds the best record of current jockeys, having won the Grand National twice, in 2000 and 2005.
Grand National 2018 Runners
The Master - Ruby Walsh

International Jockey Stats

  • Jockey William Watkinson recorded the first success for Australia in 1926. He was killed at Bogside, Scotland, less than three weeks after winning the Grand National.
  • Prince Karl Kinsky, an Austro-Hungarian nobleman, was the first jockey from outside Britain and Ireland to ride, winning on board his own mare Zoedone in 1883.
  • Tsuyoshi Tanaka, became the first Japanese jockey to ride in the Grand National in 1995, although he fell at the first fence on The Committee.
  • American amateur Tim Durant was 68 when 15th on Highlandie in 1968 (although he remounted at Becher’s second time).
  • Peter Scudamore technically lined up for thirteen Grand Nationals without winning but the last of those was the void race of 1993, so he officially competed in twelve Nationals.
  • Many other well-known jockeys have failed to win the Grand National. These include champion jockeys such as Terry Biddlecombe, John Francome, Josh Gifford, Stan Mellor, Jonjo O’Neill (who never completed) and Fred Rimell.
  • Three jockeys who led over the last fence in the National but lost on the run-in ended up as television commentators: Lord Oaksey (on Carrickbeg in 1963), Norman Williamson (on Mely Moss in 2000), and Richard Pitman (on Crisp in 1973). Pitman’s son Mark also led over the last fence, only to be pipped at the post when riding Garrison Savannah in 1991.
  • As a least inspiring Grand National stats, in 2012, Richard Johnson beat the record for the most rides in the National without a win. He has now ridden in the race 19 times without bettering the runner up spot in 2002 on What’s Up Boys. There are 12 other riders who have never won (or have not as yet won) the National, despite having had more than 12 rides in the race.

UNLUCKIEST JOCKEYS IN GRAND NATIONAL HISTORY

JockeyYears CompetingResultNumber of Attempts
David Casey1997-2015Finished 3rd once15
Jeff King1964-1980Finished 3rd once15
Robert Thornton1997-to dateNever top three14
Bill Parvin1926-1939Finished second once14
Tom Scudamore2001-2015Never top three14
Graham Bradley1983-1999Finished second once14
Chris Grant1980-1994Finished second three times13
Stan Mellor1956-1971Finished second once13
David Nicholson1956-1971Never top three13
George Waddington1861-1882Finished second once13
Walter White1854-1869Finished second once13
Andrew Thornton1996-2013Never top three13

 

GRAND NATIONAL STATS – FEMALE JOCKEYS

  • Charlotte Brew became the first in 1977. Female jockeys have participated in 19 Grand Nationals. Brew attracted media attention when partnering her horse Barony Fort. Grand National stats and figures show that she was a guest on the BBC Sports Personality of the Year show and the Daily Mirror. She was also unseated in the 1982 race.
  • Geraldine Rees became the first to complete the course (albeit in last place) in 1982. She fell at the first a year later and went on to train for 12 years in Lancashire, before retiring in 2010.
  • In 2012 Katie Walsh (sister of Ruby Walsh) achieved the best placing by a woman to date – 3rd place on Seabass. In 2013, she rode Seabass as favourite, but only finished 13th. She also led up Papillon, trained by her father and ridden by Ruby to win in 2000.
  • National winning trainer, Venetia Williams, also rode in the race, falling at Becher’s first time when riding 200-1 chance Marcolo in 1988.
  • Nina Carberry, now assistant to Noel Meade, is the most experienced female rider, finishing on four of her five starts.
  • Gee Armytage had to pull up her mount, Gee-A, in 1988. A dual Cheltenham Festival-winning rider, she is the sister of Marcus Armytage – rider of the 1990 winner Mr Frisk – and became personal assistant to multiple champion jump jockey A P McCoy.
  • Rosemary Henderson finished fifth when aged 51 on her own 100/1 shot Fiddlers Pike in 1994. She subsequently wrote a book, ‘Road To The National’, about her exploits.
  • There was huge media interest in Carrie Ford when she finished fifth in 2005 on Forest Gunner. The horse was trained by her husband Richard. Ford, then 33, had given birth to her daughter 10 weeks earlier.

 

FEMALE JOCKEYS THROUGH GRAND NATIONAL HISTORY

YearJockeyHorseSPResult
1977Charlotte BrewBarony Fort200/1Refused, 26th fence
1979Jenny HembrowSandwilan100/1Fell, 1st fence
1980Jenny HembrowSandwilan100/1Pulled up, 19th fence
1981Linda SheedyDeiopea100/1Refused, 19th fence
1982Geraldine ReesCheers66/1Completed, 8th & last place
1982Charlotte BrewMartinstown100/1Unseated, 3rd fence
1983Geraldine ReesMidday Welcome500/1Fell, 1st fence
1983Joy CarrierKing Spruce28/1Unseated, 6th fence
1984Valerie AlderBush Guide33/1Fell, 8th fence
1987Jacqui OliverEamons Owen200/1Unseated, 15th fence
1988Gee ArmytageGee-A33/1Pulled up, 26th fence
1988Venetia WilliamsMarcolo200/1Fell, 6th fence
1988Penny Ffitch-HeyesHettinger100/1Fell, 1st fence
1989Tarnya DavisNumerate100/1Pulled up, 21st fence
1994Rosemary HendersonFiddlers Pike100/1Completed, 5th place
2005Carrie FordForest Gunner8/1Completed, 5th place
2006Nina CarberryForest Gunner33/1Completed, 9th & last place
2010Nina CarberryCharacter Building16/1Completed, 7th place
2011Nina CarberryCharacter Building25/1Completed, 15th place
2012Nina CarberryOrganisedconfusiong20/1Unseated, 8th fence
2012Katie WalshSeabass8/1Completed, 3rd place
2013Katie WalshSeabass11/2Completed, 13th place
2014Katie WalshVesper Bell40/1Completed, 13th place
2015Nina CarberryFirst Lieutenant14/1Completed, 16th place

 

GRAND NATIONAL STATS – TRAINERS

  • Vincent O’Brien trained three successive winners – all different horses – in the 1950s. The roll of honour read Early Mist (1953), Royal Tan (1954) and Quare Times (1955).
  • The last permit-holder to train the Grand National winner was the late Frank Gilman. The Leicestershire-based farmer was responsible for Grittar in 1982.
  • Jenny Pitman, Venetia Williams and Sue Smith are the only women to have trained a Grand National winner. Pitman captured the race for the first time with Corbiere in 1983. She succeeded for a second time with Royal Athlete in 1995 and finished second with Garrison Savannah in 1991. Superior Finish took third spot for the trainer in 1996. The last of her 39 runners, Nahthen Lad in 1999, came 11th. She also trained the winner of the National that never was – Esha Ness. Venetia Williams was successful with Mon Mome in 2009, whilst Sue Smith trained the 2013 winner, Auroras Encore.
  • According to Grand National stats, Fred Rimell and George Dockeray are is the most successful National trainers. Each guided four different horses to victory. Rimell trained ESB (1956), Nicolaus Silver (1961), Gay Trip (1970) and Rag Trade (1976). Dockeray trained Lottery (1839), Jerry (1840), Gaylad (1842) and Miss Mowbray (1852). Ginger McCain also had four winners, but with two horses, Red Rum (1973, 74 and 77) and Amberleigh House (2004). His son, Donald, joined the roll of honour by training 2011 winner, Ballabriggs.
  • Fred Winter has a unique place in jump racing history. He won the Cheltenham Gold Cup, Champion Hurdle and Grand National as a trainer and jockey. Winter trained two Grand National winners – Jay Trump (1965) and Anglo (1966). He partnered two victors, Sundew (1957) and Kilmore (1962) during a remarkable career.

 

INTERNATIONAL TRAINERS

  • Two French-trained horses have won the Grand National, Huntsman (1862) and Cortolvin (1867). Both were trained by Yorkshireman Harry Lamplugh, who also rode Huntsman to victory. Lutteur III, noted as a British-trained Grand National victor, held plenty of allegiance to France. His jockey Georges Parfremont and owner James Hennessy were Frenchmen. The horse only arrived at the Epsom yard of trainer Harry Escott that season to get accustomed to English racing.
  • The only Welsh-trained horse to win was Kirkland in 1905. Although, Evan Williams has remarkably had a horse placed in five consecutive renewals.
  • Rubstic, trained by John Leadbetter in Roxburghshire, became the first Scottish-trained winner, with victory in 1979.
  • Irish-trained horses have enjoyed by far the most success of international participants. There were 16 winners since 1900, including six since 1999. Also, a number of Irish-bred horses (including Red Rum, Golden Miller and Many Clouds) have won under English trainers.
  • Since 1900 five successful jockeys went on to train Grand National winners as well. These are Algy Anthony, Tommy Carberry, Aubrey Hastings, Fulke Walwyn and Fred Winter.
  • Martin Pipe broke many records during his training career. He had more runners in a Grand National than any other trainer. He saddled 10 of the 40-strong field in 2001, with the remounted Blowing Wind doing best in third place.

 

GRAND NATIONAL STATS – HORSE OWNERS

  • The Prince of Wales (King Edward VII), owned 1900 Grand National winner, Ambush II.
  • A number of other famous names have owned a National winner. These include Freddie Starr (Miinnehoma, 1994), Anne, Duchess of Westminster, (Last Suspect, 1985), Teasie Weasie Raymond (Rag Trade 1976), Gregory Peck (Different Class 1968) and Fred Pontin (Specify, 1971).
  • In 1950 Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother had her first runner in the race in Monaveen. Six years later she would witness her Devon Loch collapse just yards from victory.
  • Grand National stats show Trevor Hemmings, enjoyed his hat-trick win in the race. He owns Hedgehunter (2005) Ballabriggs (2011) and Many Clouds.
  • Hemmings is now one of the leading owners are alongside James Machell and Noel Le Mare.
  • The first success for an American came in 1923. Sergeant Murphy had been bought by John Sanford, and given to his son, who was at Cambridge University.
  • Jock Hay Whitney was one of the unluckiest owners in the history of Grand National stats. Whitney was responsible for 14 runners between 1929 and 1951. Sir Lindsay finished third in 1930 and Thomond II occupied the same position in 1934 and 1935. The multimillionaire had the opportunity to buy future dual Grand National winner Reynoldstown.
  • American sewing-machine heir F Ambrose Clark sold the seven-year-old Kellsboro’ Jack to his wife Florence for £1. Trainer Ivor Anthony thought it would bring luck. Kellsboro’ Jack, who started at 25/1, won by three lengths.
  • Jim Joel was 92 when Maori Venturi won the 1987 Grand National. Noel Le Mare was 89 when Red Rum gained his record-breaking third Grand National in 1977.
  • Bryan Burrough, a 23-year-old stockbroker owned Corbiere, who was trained by Jenny Pitman, to win in 1983. Brian Walsh was 26 when Silver Birch took the 2007 renewal.

 

2018 Grand National Colours and Silks

When picking a horse to back for the Grand National, many times the form book goes out of the window. This is often the case with ‘once-a-year’ punters preferring to keep things simple. These punters often opt for the best-looking jockey silks or even side with their favourite colours. If you follow horse racing, you’ll know that the colours a jockey wears won’t impact the chance of winning. If you’ve studied the form, you won’t care if the jockey is wearing pink polka dots on his silks. Here’s a little more on Grand National colours.

 

GRAND NATIONAL COLOURS – WHY DO JOCKEYS WEAR DIFFERENT SILKS?

The Jockey Silks Are To Help Commentators and Punters – The main reason why jockeys wear different colours is so punters (and the race commentators in the modern era) can tell the horses apart. The Jockey Club first introduced jockey silks in 1762 after many racegoers complained that they didn’t know which horses were which. Imagine having 40 horses in the Grand National and all jockeys are wearing black. You’d be none the wiser if your horses was winning, fallen or in last place!

 

WHAT DO GRAND NATIONAL COLOURS MEAN AND HOW ARE THEY CHOSEN?

In the early days of jockey silks the Jockey Club introduced plain colours to keep things simple. But in the modern era there are hundreds of different styles and colours, plus some more recognisable than others.

The silks are actually associated with the owner of each horse and not the jockeys. Therefore, if a jockey has 6 rides at a meeting on a particular day there is a good chance they will be getting changed into new silks for each race.

Once an owner registers his colours with the jockey club then each horse they own will run in those colours.

 

WHAT IF THE SAME OWNER HAS MORE THAN ONE HORSE IN THE SAME RACE?

It’s actually more common than you think. Yes, the business of owning a race horse is an expensive one. But there are also a lot of very wealthy owners in the sport that have a whole string of horses.

Therefore, there is every chance these big owners will have more than one runner in certain races – so what happens?

It’s simple, they just change the colour of the cap. So, they will run with the same main silk colours (design). But depending on how many horses that owner has in the race, each jockey will wear a different colour cap so punters can still tell them apart.

The jockey wearing the original colour cap will generally be thought to be riding what the owner thinks is his best chance in the race. But it doesn’t always pan out like that – after all this is horse racing and anything can happen!

A recent Grand National example of this would be in the 2016 running of the race as the eventual winner – Rule The World – who is owned by one of Ireland’s biggest owners – The Gigginstown House Stud. They actually had three horses in the 2016 Grand National – First Lieutenant, Sir Des Champs and the winner – Rule The World. However, the winner was actually wearing a blue cap (not the original first choice maroon star), or even the second string white cap that Sir Des Champs wore.

The other main jumps owner that punters will recognise are the green and gold horizontal stripes of popular Irish owner JP McManus. He’s won the Grand National once before (Don’t Push It, 2010), and actually had four runners in the already mentioned 2016 Grand National. So, 17.5% of the 40 runners that year were owned by either McManus or Gigginstown!

 

ARE THERE ANY LUCKY GRAND NATIONAL COLOURS?

With 40 runners heading to post each year then it’s not really the kind of race you see the same horse winning – after all the last horse to win back-to-back Grand Nationals was the mighty Red Rum in the 1970’s. However, whereas we’ve not seen a repeat winner for over 40 years ,we have had an owner that’s won the race three times since 2005!

Step forward – Trevor Hemmings.

His famous green and yellow quartered silks were worn by the 2005 winner – Hedgehunter, the 2011 hero Ballabriggs and most recently in 2015 by Many Clouds. All three were trained by different stables too as Mr Hemmings likes to spread his horses around. Hedgehunter was trained by Willie Mullins in Ireland, while Ballabriggs was for Donald McCain and Many Clouds gave trainer Oliver Sherwood his first Grand National winner.

 

PICKING YOUR GRAND NATIONAL WINNER BY THE JOCKEYS SILKS

Over the years, whether you are a ‘once-a-year’ punter or not you will start to remember certain Grand National colours popping up year-after-year. We’ve already mentioned the big owners like Trevor Hemmings, JP McManus and Gigginstown House Stud so racing fans will always latch onto horses that are running for these powerful owners.

However, some Grand National bets will simple be placed on a horse that has a jockey wearing a set of silks that stand out, or even a favourite colour. The same rule applies to certain names of horses with non-racing fans latching on to memorable names that might have a connection with their own lives. If your favourite colour is pink and you spot a horse with a jockey wearing pink then there is every chance you might be drawn to that runner.

 

SOME JOCKEYS ARE RETAINED BY CERTAIN OWNERS

Once an owner has a horse that makes the final 40 runners in the Grand National his next job is to find a jockey that will ride it. It goes without saying – just like in any sport – the top jockeys with plenty of experience, or ones that have ridden winners in the race before, will be hot property.

However, some jockeys don’t get much of a choice. Big owners – like JP McManus – might have what’s called a ‘retained jockey’ and this means that jockey will ride all their horses. Yes, if – like we’ve mentioned – that owner has a few horses in the race then that retained jockey will have a choice to make on which horse to ride – and they don’t always get it right!

Preventing Grand National Deaths | Horse & Jockey Safety and Welfare

In the build-up to the Grand National, there are always safety and welfare issues that are raised. The 2018 Grand National is expected to be no different. Since the year 2000, there have been eleven Grand National deaths. But in general, deaths in horse racing are still fairly rare. On average, one horse dies for every 250 races run. Having said that, the figures for the Grand National are a lot worse. Between the years 2000 and 2010 there were seven fatalities from the 439 horses that went to post.Over the years Aintree race officials and the British Horse Racing Authority have introduced a number of safety-related changes to the Grand National to make the race safer. This is not only focused around the horses, but also the jockeys. 40 horses running over 30 of the most demanding fences naturally comes with it’s risks. Animal welfare

organisations had long been lobbying for the race to be altered, or even banned altogether.However, in recent times, things have certainly improved on the safety and death toll front. The last of Grand National deaths being Synchronised in 2012. The 2017 race saw just four horses unseat their riders and another four fall. This means 32 either finished the race or were pulled-up without taking a tumble or losing their jockey.

GRAND NATIONAL HORSE WELFARE STATISTICS

YearRunnerUnseatsFalls
20174044
20163965
20153929
20144068
20134062
201240611

PREVENTING GRAND NATIONAL DEATHS – HORSE SAFETY MEASURES

This recent improvement has been put down to several factors. These include altering the fences and also reducing the actual length of the race.

From 2016, the Grand National distance was shortened from 4m4f (4 ½ miles) to 4m2f. The thinking behind this was to reduce the length of time it took to get to the first fence. There are 40 horses that are revved-up at the start of the race. Therefore, there was a tendency to head towards the first fence too quickly, resulting in mistakes and falls.

Other alterations to the fences have included adding in plastic inserts to make the centre of certain obstacles more forgiving. With 16 fences, 14 of which are jumped twice, these changes have clearly made a big difference. Another area the welfare campaigners have focused on in recent times has been the landing side of certain fences being lower than the take-off side. This clearly adds to the difficulty for both horse and jockey with those against it seeing this as a way of tricking the horses. To combat this the Aintree track have made various alterations to the landing side of certain key fences – like Bechers Brook – making the landing side level a lot closer to the take-off side.

The welfare surrounding the Grand National is also not just during the race, but after the contest. The Aintree track and racing officials have put ‘hosing down’ facilities in place to quickly cool down the runners.

In a race like the Grand National there is always going to be people that oppose the race. However, with changes to the length of the course and certain fences, it’s clear these have made a positive impact to the reduction of Grand National deaths in recent years .

The Grand National is billed as the world’s greatest steeplechase. The event provides a stern test for both horse and jockey. Of course, everyone inside and outside of racing wants to make the race as safe as possible, but officials also have to strike a balance that keeps the test of winning the Grand National a unique one and at the moment it looks like they are achieving just that.

 

What time is the Grand National 2018?

You can watch the Grand National at 5:15pm on Saturday 14th April 2018 on ITV1

So, when is the Grand National 2018?

This year, the tapes go up on the 2018 Aintree Grand National Meeting on Thursday 12th April with the Grand National Start times first race at 1:45pm and broadcasting beginning for the race at 2:20pm on ITV1. The Aintree Grand National Festival is always spread over three days (Thursday-Saturday) with the Grand National staged on the Saturday. The gates open at 10:30am each day so racegoers have time to get into the course. The action continues over the three day event. Friday 13th April is Ladies Day and Grand National Day is the sell out day on Saturday 14th April 2018.

 

WHAT DATE AND TIME IS THE GRAND NATIONAL?

In recent years the Grand National start times have been put back to 5:15pm and is now shown on ITV1. The later race time is mainly to attract more viewers as when the race was run around 4pm there were generally a lot of other sporting events – like football – going on at that time too. So now you can watch the Grand National at 5:15pm on Saturday 14th April 2018.

As the Aintree gates open around 10:30am each day, racegoers will have plenty of time to get into the course before the first race. With bars and restaurants open all day, plus corporate boxes and suites offering lunch before the racing starts, then many racegoers will flock to the track between 10:30am and 11am in order to make the most of their day.

The track will also have other entertainment going on so if you are attending the 2018 Grand National Meeting on any of the three days then be sure to explore. Generally, there are shops and stalls onsite that will sell anything things like racing fashion or racing memorabilia like pictures or books.

Also look out for competitions dotted around the track – for example ‘Best Dressed Lady’, Best ‘Dressed Man’, or ‘Best Dressed Couple’. There can often be some decent sponsors prizes for the winners, like cash or even a car! To help you plan your Grand National Day here are the expected running times for each race over the three days.

Grand National Thursday – A Day for Champions

In 2018 the opening day of the Aintree Grand National Meeting will also have a new look and feel. Grand National Thursday is set to honour the local sporting talent that’s come out of Merseyside with a ‘Champions Lounge’.The three-day Aintree gets going each year on the Thursday. Despite the crowds being nowhere near as big as Grand National Day, it’s still a hugely popular day on the jump racing calendar. The Aintree racecourse can still expect around 35,000 people to come through the turnstiles and outside the Cheltenham Festival this is one of the most popular racing days for jump racing fans. The racing gets going on Merseyside at 1:45pm and with seven top-class races to enjoy the Thursday card always attracts runners from National Hunt yards from both the UK and Ireland.

WHEN IS GRAND NATIONAL THURSDAY?

The date of the Aintree Grand National Meeting can often vary and this is mainly due when Easter falls each year. In 2018 the three-day meeting is actually a bit later that usual with Easter Sunday being on April 1st this year. This is great news for both trainers and punters though as the gap between the Cheltenham Festival and the Aintree Grand National Meeting in 2018 is longer than some previous years.

With the 2018 Cheltenham Festival finishing on Friday 16th March, and the opening day of the 2018 Aintree not until the 12th April then there is a full 26 days between the two. This gives horses, that would have raced at Cheltenham, a little bit longer to recover, plus it also gives trainers more time to prepare their runners – meaning there’s a much better chance we’ll see the top horses running at both these big festivals in 2018.

 WHY GO TO GRAND NATIONAL THURSDAY?

The event will open day one with a new name ‘A Day For Champions’ with the main attraction being a Champions Lounge where racegoers can chat to sporting heroes from both past and present. The lounge will be hosted by BBC Breakfast’s Dan Walker next to the Aintree parade ring. Q&A sessions with rumoured stars like Michael Owen, Kenny Dalglish, Graeme Sharp and Olympic gold medallist Sam Quek ready to mingle with the Aintree race goers.

Some say this is the BEST day on the UK Jump Racing calendar offering FOUR grade one races. A number of Merseyside sporting champions will be there for the new Opening Ceremony, and attending the new Champions Lounge. Aintree will also use this day to collaborate with the RAF for their centenary celebrations.

GRAND NATIONAL THURSDAY RACE TIMES & RUNNING ORDER

 

  • 45 The Merseyrail Manifesto Novices’ Steeple Chase (Grade 1) 2m 4f 100,000
  • 20 The Doom Bar Anniversary 4YO Juvenile Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m 1f 100,000
  • 50 The Betway Bowl Steeple Chase (Grade 1) 3m 1f 150,000
  • 25 The Betway Aintree Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m 4f 200,000
  • 05 The Randox Health Foxhunters’ Steeple Chase (Class 2) 2m 5f 40,000
  • 40 The Betway Red Rum Handicap Steeple Chase (Grade 3) 2m 90,000
  • 15 The Goffs Nickel Coin Mares’ Standard Open NH Flat (Grade 2) 2m 1f 45,000

 Aintree Grand National Ladies Day

The three-day Aintree Grand National Meeting continues each year on the Friday with Ladies Day. This day, in modern times has been earmarked by many as the ‘fun day’ of the the Grand National festival. Dubbed #FabulousFriday, you can expect a sea of fashion, bubbles and famous faces. With a bigger 45,000 crowd expected at the Grand National Ladies Day 2018, attendance ramps-up from the opening day. While there are high calibre races to bet on, it’s generally party-time for much of the afternoon.Of course, there is top-class racing to enjoy too with seven decent contests that start at 1.40pm. But for many of the 45,000 crowd, the attention is primarily on the other side of the track, with events like the ‘Style Award’. Style Ambassadors mingle with the crowds in the the Red Rum Garden to find the winner of this coveted award. With big prizes like cars, holidays and cash up for grabs, Grand National Ladies Day is a hugely popular day in the UK Jump racing calendar.In 2018 the day also falls on Friday 13th, so let’s hope it’s not an unlucky one for punters! In recent years, the day has also become famous for celebrities, mainly in the Liverpool and Manchester areas, making an appearance at the track – with Coleen Rooney being a current example. With many tabloid newspapers covering the day, this day has a certain hype for the who’s who of the glossy magazines.

 

WHAT IS THE GRAND NATIONAL LADIES DAY DRESS CODE?

Believe it, or not and unlike Royal Ascot Ladies Day, there is no official dress code for Ladies Day.

However, if you did turn up on Ladies day in tracksuit bottoms and a t-shirt, not only would you feel extremely out of place there is a chance you’d not be let in anyway.

Ladies Day is called that for a reason. If you are attending then you have to get into to spirit of the day and dress up. For the ladies this means colourful dress and hats, while for the men you’ll look out of place if you are wearing anything but smart trousers a shirt and a jacket!

 

HOW MUCH DO GRAND NATIONAL LADIES DAY TICKETS COST?

With demand up, prices are also on the increase on Ladies Day. The cheapest ticket £43 for entry into the Tattersalls Stand.

This goes up to £115 for an upper seat in the Lord Sefton Stand, or if you prefer something a bit more in the middle of the Tattersalls and the Lord Sefton Stand then the Lord Daresbury or Princess Royal Roof options at £88 might appeal.

 

AINTREE LADIES DAY’ – FRIDAY 13TH APRIL 2018 RACE TIMES

  • 40 The Alder Hey Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) 2m 4f 70,000
  • 20 The Crabbie’s Top Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m ½f 100,000
  • 50 The Betway Mildmay Novices’ Steeple Chase (Grade 1) 3m 1f 100,000
  • 25 The JLT Melling Steeple Chase (Grade 1) 2m 4f 200,000
  • 05 The Randox Health Topham Steeple Chase (Grade 3) 2m 5f 120,000
  • 40 The Doom Bar Sefton Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) 3m ½f 100,000
  • 15 The Weatherbys Champion Standard Open NH Flat (Grade 2) 2m 1f 45,000

 

Getting to Aintree

Aintree Racecourse is situated on the outskirts of Liverpool, just one mile from the M57 and M58, which link the M62 and M6. Follow the A59 to Liverpool and the signs as you approach the racecourse for routes to the car parks. Many races are held at Aintree, the most important of which is the Grand National. Full address: Aintree Racecourse, Ormskirk Road, Aintree, Liverpool. L9 5AS.

 

GETTING TO AINTREE RACECOURSE BY CAR

  • From the South:
    Leave M6 at J21A and join M62 west. Leave M62 at J6 to join M57, follow signs for the races.
  • From the North:
    Leave M6 at J26 and join M58, follow signs for the races.
  • From Mersey Tunnel:
    Follow signs for Preston, then for A59, then signs for the races.

 

AINTREE RACECOURSE CAR PARKING

Limited on-course parking is available for the Grand National meeting. This can be booked by calling the booking line on 0844 579 3001.

Other than Steeplechase and County Car Parking, there is no other car parking in and around Aintree Racecourse. Buses, taxis, private hire and trains all operate to Aintree and special arrangements will have been made for them.

 

GETTING TO AINTREE RACECOURSE BY BUS

Take bus services: 300, 311, 345, 350 and 351 both to and from Liverpool. From Bootle New Strand take route 61A. For further information on bus routes, contact Traveline or visit Mersey Travel.

 

GETTING TO AINTREE RACECOURSE BY RAIL

The nearest mainline station to Aintree is Liverpool Lime Street. Liverpool Central Station is just a short walk from Lime Street, and from here you can catch a train to Aintree. Trains depart from Liverpool Central every 7 and a half minutes during the Grand National, and every fifteen minutes on race days outside of the Grand National. It takes fifteen minutes to get to Aintree on the train, and Aintree Station is directly opposite the racecourse.

Rail enquiries: 08457 48 49 50
Merseytravel: 0871 200 22 33

 

GETTING TO AINTREE RACECOURSE BY AIR

Liverpool John Lennon Airport is the nearest airport to the racecourse and is a 20 minute drive by road. Alternatively, take a bus to Liverpool South Parkway Merseyrail station where you can catch a train to Aintree (change at Liverpool Central or Moorfields onto the Ormskirk train). Manchester Airport is approximately a 45 minute drive by road.

 

Grand National Stands and Enclosures

 

GRAND NATIONAL STANDS

Aintree has five main grandstands. These include; The Princess Royal Stand, The County Stand, The Queen Mother Stand, The Earl of Derby Stand and The Lord Sefton Stand. Within the Grandstands, racegoers can purchase a choice of standing or reserved seat badges. All Grand National stands have full bar, catering and betting facilities.

 

PRINCESS ROYAL STAND

Seats: Always in popular demand, these seats offer excellent views overlooking the home straight. However, enhancements to the seats make this enclosure one of the most sought after places on the racecourse. Firstly, the enhancements include a newly extended and refurbished lounge with Champagne and Seafood concessions. The stand is situated between the Chair and the Water Jump, hence, offering a view of the final 200 metres. The seats in this stand are mostly undercover.

Roof: Is partially covered standing area, with the Tommy Wallis Suite as its dedicated bar. This enclosure offers a unique vantage point over the racecourse. It is the most suited of the Grand National stands for viewing the exciting final few minutes of every race.

 

COUNTY STAND

Roof: With a birds-eye view directly over the winning post, you can always see who’s won before anyone else. A beautiful uncovered area, as well as traditional architecture ensure this standing enclosure is popular with racegoers.

 

QUEEN MOTHER STAND

Seats: Located close to the start and finish lines and adjacent to the Red Rum Garden, the Queen Mother Stand excellent. It is completely covered, therefore protecting racegoers from the elements. Queen Mother Seats are accessed from the front of the grandstand. Grandstand badges provide designated tote betting within each enclosure, big screen viewing and access to the Parade Ring and Winner’s Enclosure.

Queen Mother Stand Seats are the only section of Grand National stands that are also available with Winner’s Bar badges. Furthermore, the Winner’s Bar occupies the former Weighing Room. Its walls are covered with historical artefacts and tributes to Grand National legends.

Roof: Located just yards past the Grand National finish line, the Queen Mother Stand Roof offers premium standing viewing. It’s close to where the horses enter the racecourse, the Parade Ring and Winner’s Enclosure. It’s also not far from the Red Rum Garden.

 

EARL OF DERBY AND LORD SEFTON STANDS

Seats: Open for the first time at the 2007 Grand National meeting, the Earl of Derby and Lord Sefton grandstands were designed to offer first-class viewing facilities for the 21st century spectator. Subsequently, both stands fit the brief perfectly.

 

Each of these Grand National stands provide two levels of tiered, covered seating (Upper and Lower), higher than any other seated enclosure at Aintree and hence provide breathtaking views over the entire course. Both levels permit access to a private saddle bar overlooking the horse-walk tunnel and Parade Ring, ensuring racegoers are in the hub of the day’s excitement.

Set at a unique angle, overlooking the Grand National start and finish, you probably won’t want to leave your seat all day. Finally, the tiers of seats leave you with a 360° impression of the famous course – the place to be to soak up the magic that is Aintree.

Terraces: Not to be confused with roof badges, the terraces are lower than other standing enclosures but offer a prime spot, closer to the action than anywhere else on the racecourse. Located either side of the horse walk, be the first to cheer a winner on its way back to the Winner’s Enclosure as well as witness the colourful preparations of horses and jockeys at the Grand National start.

 

WEST TIP SEATS

Part of the atmospheric Tattersalls Enclosure, these covered, temporary seats offer great views up the home straight. With a dedicated bar for West Tip seats, you can enjoy luxury, as well as explore the rest of the Tattersalls Enclosure. These seats are always in great demand, so early booking is essential to avoid disappointment.

 

THE TATTERSALLS ENCLOSURE

The Tattersalls Enclosure was greatly enhanced in 2007 with the completion of the new Aintree Pavilion. This new permanent facility supplies one of the largest and most atmospheric enclosures. As well as permitting access to the new Aintree Pavilion, Tattersalls tickets allow racegoers to sample bars and catering areas within the Red Rum Garden and the legendary Irish bar within the Princess Royal Stand. Tattersalls tickets also permit access for viewing of the Parade Ring and Winner’s Enclosure, ensuring you sample the best of Aintree’s unique atmosphere during your visit.

From the Tattersalls Enclosure, racing is mainly viewed from the large Aintree Mound in front of the Aintree Pavilion. Although this facility is not undercover, it does offer great views of the horses racing up the home straight. There is large-screen TV viewing directly in front of the mound. Live music can be found in various locations within the Tattersalls Enclosure, ensuring racegoers are entertained throughout the day.

Steeplechase Enclosure
The Steeplechase Enclosure is a great place to experience the atmosphere of the Grand National. Situated on the far side of the Melling Road, this enclosure allows great viewing of the Grand National itself. A new seating facility, overlooking the Mildmay course, has been created so this Grand National Stands offers viewing of all other races. It is open on Grand National day only. There is no access to the Parade Ring or Winner’s Enclosure from this area. However this area does have its own bars, catering, betting facilities, big screen viewing and live entertainment.

 

Platinum County Lounge
The newest style bar experience at the racecourse today. This exclusive lounge area offers racegoers comfort and luxury for a special day at the Grand National. With reserved covered seats in the County Stand, overlooking the Water Jump and Winning Post, you’re therefore in prime position. You’ll receive premium benefits in this VIP facility. This exclusive area features a private entrance, a reserved seat, complimentary racecard, raceday hostess plus a souvenir badge. Last but not least, you’ll have access to a dedicated Champagne bar (open for an additional hour following the final race). Although this package is not inclusive of food or drink, there is access to the luxury catering concessions.

 

PARADE RING AND WINNER’S ENCLOSURE

The Winner’s Enclosure at Aintree has provided some of the sport’s most memorable and compelling images. Over the years, this is where ecstatic connections have greeted their returning hero. However, 2006 marked the opening of a new Parade Ring, incorporating the Winner’s Enclosure for the Grand National. The new facilities are designed to allow many more racegoers to witness these thrilling scenes.

 

CAR PARKING

There is limited car parking for a fee at the racecourse. The easiest way to reach Aintree is therefore by rail, with Aintree Station directly opposite the racecourse. Limited on-course parking is available with the Steeplechase parking being the nearest car park. This can be booked from August 2011 by calling the course’s Booking Line on 0844 579 3001.

Other than Steeplechase and County Car Parking, there is no other car parking in and around Aintree Racecourse. Buses, taxis, private hire and trains all operate to Aintree and special arrangements have been made for them.

 

DISABLED FACILITIES

The County carpark, situated next to the racecourse, is suitable for disabled parking. However, all spaces are limited, consequently, early booking is absolutely essential for access to Grand National stands. The Princess Royal Stand and Queen Mother Stand offer the best disabled facilities. There are toilets and lift access on all floors.

 

DRESS CODE

Although there is no official dress code, smart is preferable. Sports clothes and fancy dress are subsequently not permitted in the Grand National stands.

 

PICNICS

Food and drink cannot be brought onto the racecourse and will be confiscated by security staff upon arrival. Aintree has a wide range of food and drink concessions on offer in all enclosures. As a result, picnics can only be consumed in the Steeplechase Car Park.

 

OPENING TIMES

Open from 10am on each day of the meeting, get to Aintree early to make the most of your day. Make sure to allow for racecourse security procedures.

 

RACE TIMES

Thursday’s and Friday’s races start at 2pm, whilst on Saturday; racing begins at the slightly earlier time of 1.45pm. The Grand National itself is at 4.15pm. On each day, racing concludes at around 5.30pm.

 

Grand National Prize Money | Prize Fund

The Grand National is one of the world’s richest horse races in terms of Grand National Prize Money. With £1 million in total prize money again in 2018, it’s no surprise the race will attract another big field. Over the years the Aintree Grand National has had many race sponsors, Though the current supporter of the world’s Greatest Steeplechase is Randox Health.In recent years we’ve seen Canadian gin firm – Seagram Distillers – sponsor the race from 1984 to 1991. While since then we’ve had Martell (1992-2004), John Smith’s (2005-2013) and Crabbie’s (2014-2016). Plus, unlike the big championship races like the Cheltenham Gold Cup and Champion Hurdle, the Grand National is a race that everyday horse racing owners have a chance of winning.Yes, they still need a touch of class and, of course, stamina to win the race. But being a handicap, this always makes the Grand National open to a variety of horses of different ability.

 

We see heavyweight owners like Trevor Hemmings, JP McManus and Gigginstown House Stud win the Grand National. But in recent years we’ve also seen Grand National Prize money going to the likes of Auroras Encore, Pineau De Re and One For Arthur. They are winning the race for everyday owners, that might only have a few horses running under their name.https://www.betkingcompare.co.uk/betting/where-can-i-get-free-bets/

 

GRAND NATIONAL PRIZE MONEY BREAKDOWN

In the Grand National 2017, we saw the Lucinda Russell-trained One For Arthur win the race at 14/1 for owners Deborah Thompson and Belinda McClung. These two unknown owners hit the big-time when landing the £560k first prize. With a £1million prize haul, it pays out even on the 10th-placed horse. Getting £1k for just completing the course can pay it’s way.

With 40 runners, this means only 25% of the horses will get prize money. But going down to 10th place is much further down than any other race on the racing calendar.

The winner receives a cool £561k – a life-changing amount for most horse racing owners, plus with all the spin-offs and public appearances at Grand National winner can make afterwards then many boast their earning this way too. With a £350k difference between finishing first and second, the stakes are high. Just a nose – like in 2012 when Neptune Collonges beat Sunnyhillboy can be a bitter blow for the runner-up – not just in the prestige of winning the Grand National, but also by the small sum of £350k!

Third takes home just over £100k, while 4th pockets £52k in cash, with 5th netting £26k – not a bad day’s work if you can get it!

 

GRAND NATIONAL PRIZE MONEY JOCKEYS

In terms of the jockeys, a National Hunt rider will receive in the region of approx £169.85 over jumps per ride, which in the whole scheme of things when it comes to the Grand National is pretty insignificant. We are sure most jockeys would ride in the race for free!!

Some jockeys have personal arrangements with owners and they receive a riders’ retainers fee for riding all that owners horses. Powerful owners like JP McManus is an example of this, who has had AP McCoy riding for him in the past for a reported £1million a year.

As well as their riders’ fees, the winning jockeys will also get a percentage of the prize money. On average this is around 8-8.5% for a winning ride, or 4-5% for a placed finish. Therefore, based on this the winning jockey of the Grand National in the present day will pocket around £45k for riding the winner!

 

GRAND NATIONAL PRIZE MONEY BREAKDOWN

1st £561,300
2nd £211,100
3rd £105,500
4th £52,700
5th £26,500
6th £13,200
7th £6,800
8th £3,600
9th £2,000
10th £1,000

 

Grand National Fences and Course

The Grand National fences are the ultimate test of horse and jockey. The race comprises two full circuits of a unique 2¼ mile (3,600 metres) course. Along the way, challengers face 30 of the most testing fences in the world of jump racing.The Grand National was originally designed as a cross-country steeplechase when it was first officially run in 1839. The runners started on the edge of the racecourse, racing out over open countryside towards the Leeds and Liverpool Canal. The gates, hedges and ditches that they met along the way were flagged. These provided them with the earliest incarnation of today’s Grand National fences to be jumped along the way.

 

Posts and rails erected at the two points where the runners jumped a brook.The runners returned by running along the edge of the canal before re-entering the course at the opposite end. The runners then ran the length of the racecourse before the second circuit and finish at the stands. The majority of the race therefore took place not on the actual Aintree Racecourse but instead in the adjoining countryside. That countryside was incorporated into the modern course but commentators still often refer to it as “the country”. This confuses millions of once-a-year racing viewers.Nowadays, around 150 tonnes of spruce branches from the Lake District, are used to dress the Grand National fences. Each fence used to be made from a wooden frame and covered with the distinctive green spruce. However, a radical change for the 2013 renewal saw that frame replaced by a softer material known as “plastic birch”.

 

SAFETY CHANGES TO THE GRAND NATIONAL FENCES

Following safety reviews after both the 2011 and 2012 renewals, a number of changes were made to the course. This included some reductions in Grand National fences or the drop after fences, plus the levelling of landing zones.

Since 2013, the start of the race is now 90 yards closer to the first fence. This reduced the race to four miles and three-and-a-half furlongs, from four-and-a-half miles. Measures were also introduced to stop horses getting caught up in the starting tape.

In particular, the start now includes the ‘no-go’ zone. This is defined by a line on the track extended from 15 to 30 yards from the starting tape. The starter’s rostrum has been moved to a position between the starting tape and the ‘no-go’ zone. This reduces the potential for horses to go through the starting tape prematurely.

The tapes themselves are also more user-friendly, with increased visibility. While there is now a specific briefing between the starters’ team and the jockeys on Grand National day.

The changes to the start are aimed at slowing the speed the first fence is approached at. While moving the start further away from the crowd reduces noise that can distract the horses.

The makeup of all of the Grand National fences changed significantly in 2013. The new fences are still covered in spruce, but wooden posts have been replaced by “plastic birch”. On top of that birch, there’s fourteen to sixteen inches of spruce that the horses can knock off. The outward appearance of the Grand National fences remains the same.

Other measures included £100,000 being invested in irrigation to produce the safest jumping ground possible. This includes a new bypass and pen around fence four to catch riderless horses.

 

THE START

There is a hazard to overcome even before the race starts. The build up, parade and re-girthing prior to the off lasts for around 25 minutes. This is over double the time it takes for any other race.

With 40 starters, riders naturally want a good sight of the first fence. After the long build-up, their nerves are stretched to breaking point. This means the stewards’ pre-race warning to go steady is often totally ignored.

 

THE GRAND NATIONAL FENCES

1 & 17: Thorn fence, 4ft 6in high, 2ft 9in wide – The first often claims many victims as horses tend to travel to it far too keenly. As described above, the drop on the landing side was reduced in 2011.

2 & 18: Almost the same height as the first but much wider at 3ft 6in. Prior to 1888, the first two fences were located halfway between the first to second and second to third jumps. The fence became known as The Fan after a mare refused at the obstacle three years in succession. But it lost that name when the fences were relocated.

3 & 19 Westhead: This is the first big test with a 6ft ditch on the approach guarding a 4ft 10in high fence.

4 & 20: Plain fence, 4ft 10in high and 3ft wide. In 2011, the 20th became the first fence in Grand National history to be bypassed. It followed an equine fatality on the first circuit. In 2012, it was reduced in height by 2 inches to 4 foot 10 inches (1.47 metres). It was regarded as the hardest fence on the course to jump, along with Becher’s Brook. Its landing area was smoothed out ahead of the 2013 race.

5 & 21: Spruce dressed fence, 5ft high and 3ft 6in wide. Its landing side was also levelled in 2013. It was bypassed on the final lap for the first time in 2012. Medics needed treat a jockey who fell from his mount on the first lap and had broken a leg.

 

BECHER’S BROOK

6 & 22 Becher’s Brook: Although the fence looks innocuous from the take-off side, the steep drop on the landing side, together with a left-hand turn on landing, combine to make this the most thrilling and famous fence in the horse racing world. The fence actually measures well over 6 ft on the landing side. A drop of between 5 and 10 in from take off lies on the other side. Horses are not expecting the ground the disappear under them on landing. Riders need to sit back and use their body weight to act as ballast to keep the horses stable.

As described above, there have been a number of alterations to make it fairer and safer for horse and rider. The whole field managed to clear the obstacle on the first circuit last year.

Becher’s Brook earned its name as one of the most famous Grand National fences when a top jockey, Captain Martin Becher, took shelter in the brook after being unseated. “Water tastes disgusting without the benefits of whisky” he reflected.

7 & 23 Foinavon Fence: Basically an ‘ordinary’ fence (4ft 6in high and 3ft wide) that was made famous in 1967 when Fionavon was the only horse to scramble over it at the first time of asking, following a mass pile-up. The jump is the smallest on the course. Though, coming straight after the biggest drop, it can catch horses and riders out.

THE CANAL TURN

8 & 24 Canal Turn: Made of hawthorn stakes covered in Norway spruce, it gets its name from the fact that there is a canal in front of the horses when they land. To avoid it, they must turn a full 90 degrees when they touch down.

The race can be won or lost here. A diagonal leap, taking the fence at a scary angle reduces the turn on landing. With 30 or more horses often standing at this point, not every rider has the option to take this daring passage. Before the First World War, it was not uncommon for loose horses to continue straight after the jump. They’d end up in the Leeds and Liverpool Canal itself. There was once a ditch before the fence but this was filled in after a mêlée in the 1928 race.

VALENTINE’S BROOK

9 & 25 Valentine’s Brook: The third of four famous fences to be jumped in succession. It is 5ft high and 3ft 3in wide with a brook on the landing side that’s about 5ft 6in wide. The fence was originally known as the Second Brook. But it was renamed after a horse named Valentine was reputed to have jumped the fence hind legs first in 1840.

10 & 26: Thorn fence, 5ft high and 3ft wide that leads the runners alongside the canal towards two ditches.

11 & 27 Booth: The main problem with this fence, which is 5ft high and 3ft wide, is the 6ft wide ditch on the take-off side.

12 & 28: Same size as the two previous fences, but with a 5ft 6in ditch on the landing side, which can catch runners out.

The runners then cross the Melling Road near to the Anchor Bridge. It’s a popular vantage point since the earliest days of the race. This also marks the point where the runners are said to be re-entering the “racecourse proper”. In the early days it was thought there was an obstacle near this point known as the Table Jump. It may have resembled a bank like those seen at Punchestown in Ireland. In the 1840s the Melling Road was also flanked by hedges and the runners had to jump into the road and then back out.

13 & 29: Second-last fence on the final circuit, it is 4ft 7in high and 3ft wide. This is the other obstacle to have had its landing side smoothed out ahead of the 2013 renewal.

14 & 30: Almost the same height as the previous fence and it is rare for any horse to fall at the final fence in the Grand National.

 

THE CHAIR

15 The Chair: The final two jumps of the first circuit form the only pair negotiated just once. They couldn’t be more different. The Chair is both the tallest (5ft 2in) and broadest fence. It has a 6ft wide ditch on the take-off side.

The landing side turf is actually raised six inches above the take-off ground. This has the opposite effect to the drop at Becher’s. After having stretched to get over the ditch, horses are surprised to find the ground coming up to meet them. This is spectacular when horses get it right and, for all the wrong reasons, when they don’t.

This fence is the site of the only human fatality in the National’s history. Joe Wynne sustained injuries in a fall in 1862. This brought about the ditch on the take-off side of the fence. The fence was the location where a distance judge sat in the earliest days of the race. On the second circuit he would record the finishing order from his position. He would declare any horse that had not passed him before the previous runner passed the finishing post as “distanced”, a non-finisher. The practise ended in the 1850s but the monument where the chair stood is still there.

The fence was originally known as the Monument Jump but The Chair came into more regular use in the 1930s.

16 Water Jump: This 2ft 9in fence brings the first circuit to an end. The sight of the runners jumping it at speed presents a terrific spectacle in front of the grandstands. The fence was originally a stone wall in the very early Grand Nationals. On the final circuit, after the 30th fence, the remaining runners bear right, avoiding The Chair and Water Jump, to head onto a “run-in” to the finishing post.

 

THE FINISH

The 474-yard long run in from the final fence to the finish is the longest in the country. It has an acute elbow halfway up it that further drains the stamina reserves of both horse and jockey.

For numerous riders, this elongated run-in has proved mental and physical agony. The winning post seems to be retreating with every weary stride.

Don’t count your money until the post is reached as with the rest of the Grand National course. The run-in can, and usually does, change fortunes. The likes of Devon Loch, Crisp and Sunnyhillboy have all famously had defeat snatched in heat breaking fashion.

 

COURSE WALKING

No visit to Aintree would be complete without taking the opportunity to see some of these famous fences close up. The whole course can actually be walked on the morning of the race (subject to ground conditions and security requirements). Walkers should leave an hour to do a circuit, which must be completed one hour prior to the first race. Maps, guiding racegoers to the start point, are located around the racecourse.

 

GRAND NATIONAL HANDICAP HISTORY

Historically, the allocation of weights for the Grand National was crucial for the prospects of trainers, jockeys and owners. The Grand National Handicap has cleared the path to big-race glory or produced a burden too heavy to overcome.

Unlike the other most prestigious steeplechase of the year, the Cheltenham Gold Cup, the Grand National is a handicap race. This means horses carry differing weights according to their previous form. The idea behind the Grand National handicap is to make for a more even race. The handicapper’s ultimate (though unfeasible) aim is for all horses to pass the winning post in a dead heat.

The Grand National is the only race where the British Horseracing Authority’s Head of Handicapping, Phil Smith, can use his discretion to determine the weights. He can personally select what each horse will carry and can deviate from the normal handicap ratings.

The “best” horse in the race is given the top weight (about 11st 10lb). The weights allotted to the other horses are set in relation to this. This means if the top-weighted horse drops out, the weights for others may alter but will not change in relation to each other.

 

GRAND NATIONAL HANDICAP MINIMUMS

Even if a horse is allotted 8st 12lbs, it must carry 10 stone, the required minimum. This means some horses will be carrying possibly a stone more than they should be (known as being out of the handicap). This disadvantage should suggest they are likely to perform less well than their rivals. Many punters will automatically put a line through horses who are out of the Grand National handicap. As the quality of the horses has improved, few horses if any are running off anything other than their mark.

In allocating a weight to each horse, handicapper Phil Smith must take a variety of factors into account. This includes form – a horse’s recent/previous performances and the course: the so-called ‘Aintree Factor’. This begs the questions, does the horse like the track? Is (s)he proven over long trips?

The final field is determined by each contender’s rating. The highest-weighted horses given preference in a maximum field of 40.

Until Many Clouds, no horse carrying more than 11st 7lb had won since Red Rum‘s 1977 third victory, (11st 8lb). However, in the 25 runnings between 1984 and 2009 only one winner (Hedgehunter, 2005) carried more than 11st. The win in 2010 of Don’t Push It carrying 11st 5lb clearly heralded a change in this trend. Many Clouds shouldered 11st 9lbs.

 

CHANGES TO THE GRAND NATIONAL HANDICAP

Five of the last seven winners in the Grand National Handicap have carried at least 11st. There is now a widespread view that horses at the top are no longer at a big disadvantage. In part, it’s due to a new formula for handicapping the National devised in 2001. Essentially the handicap has been compressed, decreasing the gap between the top and lowest weighted horses, creating a more competitive race.

According to Phil Smith: “Looking back over the history of the race, we realised that the highly weighted horses had a moderate record, so we thought something needed to be done to try to not overburden the better horses.”

Some 15 years ago, the Grand National field was still largely made up of horses out of the handicap. They were carrying the minimum 10st weight. On the final race card these could sometimes account for 70% of the field. But, as we’ve already said, in the past few years, every horse has got into the handicap proper. In 1999, the lowest-rated horse in the race had an official rating of 110. In the 2011 renewal, the lowest-rated horse, Golden Kite, has a rating of 135. So, the quality of the field increased by 25lbs in that 11 year period. Last year’s bottom weights had a mark of 139.

The result is that the top weighted horses will have only a few pounds more than their rivals. Officials will be giving no more than a stone and a half to any runner. It’s a far cry from a century ago, when Manifesto, the 1897 and 1899 winner, gave 48lb to some horses in the 1900 race.

 

GRAND NATIONAL HANDICAP COMPRESSING

All of this means that shouldering a burden of 11st or more – previously considered insurmountable – is no longer the task it used to be. When Hedgehunter carried 11st 1lb in 2005, he was the first National winner to carry over 11st in 22 years. But 2009 winner, Mon Mome, carried 11st to win the race in a year in which the top four horses all carried 11st or more, whilst the 2010 winner – Don’t Push It – carried 11st 5lb and the runner-up – Black Apalachi – carried 11st 6lb.

In a single, idiosyncratic race like the National, there will always be outsiders. But it is likely that Aintree has seen the last of winners such as Bobbyjo who, carrying 10st in 1999 and racing from 14lbs out of the handicap, streaked to victory by 10 lengths. In fact, the recent dramatic increase in the quality of horses taking part means Bobbyjo wouldn’t have made the starting line in any of the past 10 runnings. According to Smith: “Weight is important but it’s not the be all and end all, it’s just the trainers who think it is.”

Thus, whilst Red Rum remains the last horse to win the Grand National Handicap off top weight (and the first since the 1930s), it may not be long before that achievement is repeated – 2013 winner, Neptune Collonges, was the fifth top weight, whilst only former Gold Cup winner Lord Windamere had more weight than Many Clouds.

As sporting sights go, few can match the sheer excitement of 40 horses thundering towards the first fence at Aintree in the Grand National.

 

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TYPES OF BETS: ACCUMULATOR

Here at Bet King Compare we like to make sure that our players are armed with all the available information needed when placing a bet on football. In this opening section we will take a look at the most popular type of football bet – the “acca” or accumulator to give it its full name.

Most people who read this will have some experience of placing an accumulator bet and know how frustrating it can be when just one team lets you down for a massive payout (we’ve all been there dont worry). So, first of all lets start start with the basics.

How does an accumulator bet work?

Picking winners in football betting can be difficult enough, so adding multiple teams into one bet is making it very hard for your wagers to win.

Accumulators are popular with football fans as they allow punters to bet on short-priced favourites at decent odds by combining them with a number of other teams.

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How to win accumulators on football

How to win a football accumulator?  erm, unfortunately there is no easy answer, otherwise we would all be billionaires! There is a reason you never see a poor bookmaker, after all.

A good starting point when putting together football accas can be to think of odds in terms of percentages. For example, a team that is priced up at 6/4 with the bookmakers to win a particular game should have a 40% chance of winning that match, if the odds are fair. Traders who think that team has a much better chance of winning than 40% should consider putting that team in their accumulator.

For example, let’s say that Manchester United are at home and are priced at 1/9 to win the game. This means they have a 90% chance of winning the match. While they are highly likely to win on the day, there is always a chance in football that a shock result happens, so perhaps it is better to avoid the short-priced teams in accas.

Another important thing to keep in mind when placing accumulators as a football trader is to get the best possible odds. Compare odds online to make sure you are getting the top price available, as the odds for 10-team accumulators can vary wildly from bookmaker to bookmaker, hitting your profits hard if your bet is a winner.

Draw no bet accumulator explained

There are loads of different football accumulators you can place, although we have mainly focused on the match odds markets in this article. For example, a lot of people like to place Both Teams to Score – or BTS – accumulators as these can be alive in the very last minutes of the game regardless of which teams are winning. Accumulators based on under/over 2.5 goals are popular too, while big odds can be achieved by combining match odds and BTS in an accumulator.

One type of football accumulator that is becoming a lot more common, especially with football traders, is the draw no bet accumulator. So, how does a draw no bet acca work? Draw no bet means that your selection is void if the game ends in a draw, with the bet similar to the double chance option that is available, with the benefit of the odds being better.

DNB accas can therefore be a good way to side with less-fancied teams, but there is always a fair chance that your bet will end up void as a result of at least one draw result. The rest of the bet continues with reduced odds if one of the games ends in a draw, keeping the bet alive for longer.

Research has also shown that DNB accumulators are more profitable than when double chance bets are used instead, so it is well worth traders experimenting with this type of bet. As always, before committing serious sums of money on bets make sure you are fully comfortable with how they work, the risks involved and the profits you can expect to reap as a result.

Explaining Different Types of Bets

Single

A Single is a bet on 1 selection in one event. Your selection must be successful to get a return.


Each Way

You bet on a horse to Win or be Placed. However the term “Placed” can vary depending on the type of race and the number of runners: The place portion of this bet pays out at 1/4 of the win odds. A £1 unit stake Each Way bet would cost £2 (£1 to win + £1 to place). For example, if the horse wins at odds of 8/1 the £1 win portion of the stake is multiplied by 8 and returned with the original £1 win betting stake paying out £9, just like a normal ‘Single’. And the £1 place portion of the betting stake is multiplied by 1/4 of the odds, so 8/1 becomes 2/1, with the original £1 place betting stake paying out £3 – thus total winnings of £12. But If your horse finishes in second, third or fourth the £1 win portion of the stake is lost and ONLY the £1 place part of the betting stake is multiplied by 1/4 of the odds, resulting in total winnings of £3.

Number of Placed Positions

  • 2 to 4 runners = each way betting does not apply
  • 5 to 7 runners = first two places pay out
  • 8 or more runners = first three places pay out
  • 16 or more in a handicap = first four places pay out

Accumulators

Also called a ‘Roll-Up’ or ‘Acca’. One bet requiring any number of selections but all the selections must win to have a return. The winnings are calculated by placing all the money on the first selection, then the winnings from that bet is placed on the next bet, etc.


Doubles, Trebles, Four-Fold Accumulators, etc

A Double is an accumulator of 2 selections, and a Treble is of 3 selections. After that, they are just known as a ‘Four-Fold Accumulator’, ‘Five-Fold Accumulator’, etc…


Trixie

A Trixie consists of 4 bets involving 3 selections in different events. The bet includes 3 doubles and 1 treble. A minimum of 2 of your selections must be successful to get a return. For example, if your 3 selections were A, B and C, then your 4 bets would be AB, AC, BC, and ABC.


Patent

A Patent consists of 7 bets involving 3 selections in different events. The bet includes a single on each selection, plus 3 doubles and 1 treble. Just one successful selection guarantees a return. For example, if your 3 selections were A, B, and C, then your 7 bets would be A, B, C, AB, AC, BC, and ABC.


Yankee

A Yankee consists of 11 bets involving 4 selections in different events. The bet includes 6 doubles, 4 trebles, and an accumulator. A minimum of 2 of your selections must be successful to get a return. For example, if your 4 selections were A, B, C, and D, then your 11 bets would be AB, AC, AC, BC, BD, CD, ABC, ABD, BCD, ACD and a Four-Fold accumulator ABCD.


Lucky 15

A Lucky 15 consists of 15 bets involving 4 selections in different events. The bet includes 4 singles, 6 doubles, 4 trebles, and 1 four-fold. If only one selection wins, as a consolation returns are paid to treble the odds. If all four selections win, a bonus of 20% is added to total returns. For the bonus to apply, all selections must win (does not apply to void or non-runners). If only one of the selections wins, you receive treble the odds. For each-way bets the consolation is paid only on the win part of the bet. Lucky 15 bets are accepted on horse racing, greyhounds only and correct scores.


Canadian

A Canadian (also known as a Super Yankee) consists of 26 bets involving 5 selections in different events. The bet includes 10 doubles, 10 trebles, 5 four-folds plus an accumulator. A minimum of 2 of your selections must be successful to get a return.


Lucky 31

A Lucky 31 consists of 31 bets involving 5 selections in different events. The bets include 5 singles, 10 doubles, 10 trebles, 5 four-folds and a five-fold accumulator. If only one selection wins, returns are paid to four times the odds. If four of the selections win, a bonus of 15% is added to total returns. If all five selections win, a bonus of 25% is added to total returns. For the bonus to apply, all selections must win (does not apply to void or non-runners). For each-way bets the consolation is paid only on the win part of the bet. Lucky 31 bets are accepted on horse racing, greyhounds only and correct scores.


Heinz

A Heinz consists of 57 bets involving 6 selections in different events. The bet includes 15 doubles, 20 trebles, 15 four-folds, 6 five-folds and a six-fold accumulator. A minimum of 2 of your selections must be successful to get a return.


Lucky 63

A Lucky 63 consists of 63 bets involving 6 selections in different events. The bet includes 6 singles, 15 doubles, 20 trebles, 15 four-folds, 6 five-folds and a six-fold accumulator. If only one selection wins, returns are paid to five times the odds. If five of the selections win, a bonus of 20% is added to total returns. If all six selections win, a bonus of 33% is added to total returns. For the bonus to apply, all selections must win (none void or non-runners). For each-way bets the consolation is paid only on the win part of the bet. Lucky 63 bets are accepted on horse racing, greyhounds and correct scores.


Super Heinz

A Super Heinz consists of 120 bets involving 7 selections in different events. The bet includes 21 doubles, 35 trebles, 35 four-folds, 21 five-folds, 7 six-folds and a seven-fold accumulator. A minimum of 2 of your selections must be successful to get a return.


Goliath

A Goliath consists of 247 bets involving 8 selections in different events. The bet includes 28 doubles, 56 trebles, 70 four-folds, 56 five-folds, 28 six-folds, 8 seven-folds and an eight-fold accumulator. A minimum of 2 of your selections must be successful to get a return.


Straight Forecast

A Straight Forecast involves 2 selections in 1 race finishing 1st and 2nd in the order named.


Reversed Forecast

A Reversed Forecast involves 2 selections in 1 race finishing 1st and 2nd in either order. As such it is two straight forecasts, AB and BA.


Combination Forecasts

Combination Forecasts involve 3 or more selections in a race, with any 2 to finish 1st and 2nd in any order.


Straight Tricasts

Straight Tricasts involve 3 selections in a race finishing 1st, 2nd and 3rd in the order named.


Combination Tricasts

Combination Tricasts involve 3 or more selections in a race finishing 1st, 2nd and 3rd in any order.

cheltenham festival

Cheltenham Festival 2018 bets, tips and odds | everything you need to know about Cheltenham Festival

Cheltenham Festival Day 1 Tips (Tuesday)

13:30: Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle 2m ½f

To win - Summerville Boy (N D Fehily) 9-1 

Result - Correct

 

14:10: Racing Post Arkle Challenge Trophy Steeple Chase 2m

To win - Footpad (R Walsh) 5-6

Result - Correct

 

14:50: Ultima Handicap Steeple Chase 3m 1f

To win - Coo Star Sivola (Lizzie Kelly) 5-1 

Result - Correct

 

15:30: Unibet Champion Hurdle 2m ½f

To win - Buveur D'Air (B J Geraghty) 4-6

Result - Correct

 

16:10: OLBG Mares' Hurdle Race 2m 4f

To win - Benie Des Dieux (R Walsh) 9-2

Result - Correct

 

16:50: National Hunt Steeple Chase Challenge Cup 4m

To win - Rathvinden (Mr P W Mullins) 9-2

Result - Correct

 

17:30: Close Brothers Novices' Handicap Chase 2m 4½f

To win - Rather Be (J McGrath) 12-1

Result - 2nd (Very Close) - Winner - Mister Whitaker (B Hughes) 13-2

Cheltenham Festival Day 2 Tips (Wednesday)

13:30: Ballymore Novices' Hurdle Race 2m 5f

To win - Samcro - (G Elliott / J W Kennedy) - 4/5 - Certainty

Result - Correct

 

14:10: RSA Steeple Chase 3m ½f

To win - Monalee - (H de Bromhead / N D Fehily) - 7/2 - Best Bet of the Day

Result - 2nd - Winner - Presenting Percy

 

14:50: Coral Cup (handicap hurdle) 2m 5f

To win/each way - Topofthegame - (P F Nicholls / Sam Twiston-Davies) - 11/1 - Huge Potential 

Result - 2nd by a nose - winner - Bleu Berry

 

15:30: Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase 2m

To win - Altior - (N J Henderson / Nico de Boinville) - 6/5 - Certainty

Result - Correct

 

16:10: Glenfarclas Cross Country Steeple Chase 3m 6f

To win - Tiger Roll - (G Elliott / K M Donoghue) - 11/2 - Best Value Bet

Result - Correct

 

16:50: Boodles Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap 2m 1½f

To win - Veneer Of Charm - (Kennedy, J/ Elliott, G) - 33/1 - Best Looking Horse

Result - Correct

 

17:30: Weatherbys Champion Bumper 2m ½f

To win - Relegate - (Walsh, Ms K/ Mullins, W) - 28/1 - Where the Bet King's Money is Going

Result - Correct

Cheltenham Festival Day 3 Tips (Thursday)

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13:30: JLT Novices' Chase 2m 4f

To win - KEMBOY (P Townend) - 11/1

14:10: Pertemps Network Final (handicap hurdle) 3m

To win - LOUIS' VAC POUCH (R Johnson) - 10/1

14:50: Ryanair Steeple Chase 2m 5f

To win - UN DE SCEAUX (R Walsh) - 4/6

15:30: Sun Bets Stayers' Hurdle 3m

To win - SAM SPINNER (J Colliver) - 3/1

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16:10: Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate (handicap steeple chase) 2m 5f

To win - THE STORYTELLER (D N Russell) - 6/1

16:50: Trull House Stud Mares Novices' Hurdle 2m 1f

To win - LAURINA (R Walsh) - 4/7

17:30: Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Handicap Steeple Chase 3m 2f

To win - MISSED APPROACH (N McParlan) - 10/1

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Cheltenham Festival Gold Cup Day Tips (Friday)

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13:30: JCB Triumph Hurdle 2m 1f

Apple's Shakira @ 6/4 (B J Geraghty/ Henderson, N)

 

14:10: Randox Health County Handicap Hurdle 2m 1f

Whiskey Sour @ 14/1 (D J Mullins/ Mullins, W)

 

14:50: Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle 3m

Chris's Dream @ 7/1 (M P Walsh/ Bromhead, H De)

 

15:30: Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase 3m 2½f

Native River @ 9/2 (R Johnson/ Tizzard, C)

 

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16:10: St. James's Place Foxhunter Steeple Chase Challenge Cup 3m 2½f

Burning Ambition @ 7/2 (Mr J J Codd/ Power, P)

 

16:50: Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle 2m 4½f

Diese Des Bieffes @ 8/1 (James Bowen/ Henderson, N)

 

17:30: Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Handicap Chase 2m 1½f

Don't Touch It @ 9/1 (M P Walsh/ Harrington, Mrs J)

 

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Everything you need to know about the Cheltenham Festival 2018

The Cheltenham Festival 2018 is fast approaching and begins on 13th March with the Supreme Novice’s Hurdle. Here is everything you need to know about the big four days at Prestbury Park in this amazing day giving us excuse to bet on sports

When is the Cheltenham Festival?

The 2018 Cheltenham Festival will take place between Tuesday, March 13 and Friday, March 16.

Where is the Cheltenham Festival?

The meeting takes place at Cheltenham Racecourse, Prestbury Park, on the outskirts of the Gloucestershire spa town of Cheltenham.

How do I buy tickets?

The easiest way is usually to buy tickets through the racecourse’s website. On-the-day sales are sometimes an option, but are not recommended and the final day of the meeting, headlined by the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup, historically sells out.

How do I follow it on TV and online?

Coverage of the Cheltenham Festival will be on ITV, which will show the first five races on each of the four days. Full televised coverage of all 28 races can be found on the Racing UK subscription channel.

What are the big races?

The four main championship races headline each of the four days. Tuesday, known as Champion Day, includes the Champion Hurdle. Wednesday, Ladies’ Day, the Queen Mother Champion Chase. Thursday is known as St Patrick’s Thursday, whichever date it happens to fall on, and hosts the Stayers’ Hurdle (as well as the de facto fifth championship event, the Ryanair Chase). Gold Cup day features the Cheltenham Gold Cup, the most prestigious prize in jumps racing.

What about the other races?

Just about every division in National Hunt racing is covered in the Cheltenham Festival, which earns it the moniker of jump racing’s Olympics. Some races are subject to long-term sponsorship deals and are better known by those names. The full schedule is as follows:

Tuesday

1.30 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle
2.10 Arkle Challenge Trophy
2.50 Festival Trophy Handicap Chase
3.30 Champion Hurdle
4.10 David Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle
4.50 National Hunt Challenge Cup
5.30 Centenary Novices’ Handicap Chase

Wednesday

1.30 Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle
2.10 RSA Chase
2.50 Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle
3.30 Queen Mother Champion Chase
4.10 Cross Country Chase
4.50 Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle
5.30 Champion Bumper

Thursday

1.30 JLT Novices’ Chase
2.10 Pertemps Final Handicap Hurdle
2.50 Ryanair Chase
3.30 Stayers’ Hurdle
4.10 Festival Plate Handicap Chase
4.50 Dawn Run Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle
5.30 Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup

Friday

1.30 Triumph Hurdle
2.10 County Hurdle
2.50 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle
3.30 Cheltenham Gold Cup
4.10 Foxhunters’ Chase
4.50 Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle
5.30 Grand Annual Handicap Chase

Who are the star names?

At the time of writing, two of last year’s champions are on course to mount a strong defence of their title. Buveur D’Air is a warm order for a second Champion Hurdle, while Sizing John has good claims of following up in what looks an open Gold Cup.

Special Tiara, last year’s Champion Chase winner, is also a likely runner but has looked a fading force this season. He also has to contend with jump racing’s rising star Altior, who won the Racing Post Arkle last year and remains unbeaten over both hurdles and fences.

One of the star human names is Irish champion trainer Willie Mullins, who along with stable jockey Ruby Walsh has plundered plenty of prizes at the meeting in recent seasons, especially on day one. British champion trainer Nicky Henderson is set for a big week with both Altior and Buveur D’Air in his care, while Gordon Elliott, last year’s leading trainer at the meeting, saddles big novice hurdle hope and Irish banker Samcro in the Ballymore.

About Cheltenham Racecourse

Cheltenham is at the heart of almost every aspect of Jump racing. This is the place where owners, trainers, jockeys, stable staff and breeders dream of having winners. It’s the place where the most important races are run. This is where many stars of the future go through the sale ring. But most of all, this is the place where the equine and human champions forge their reputations.

As always, there is much to look forward to in the season, with 16 exciting days of top class Jump racing. Hundreds of thousands of racing fans come to Cheltenham every year, but you don’t need to be an expert to make lasting memories.The wide variety of experiences range from the relaxed feel of the meetings in October and April, to the heady excitement of The November Meeting and the family fun of New Year’s Day.

However, the focus of any jumping season is always The Cheltenham Festival which is the shining jewel in jump-racing’s crown. It is four days of magic, magnificence and madness, played out on a stage framed by the breathtaking vista of the Cotswold Hills. It features a cast of the best horses, jockeys and trainers playing to an audience of 260,000 people, all of whom are determined to have the time of their lives.

£45 million redevelopment of the Home of Jump racing

Cheltenham Racecourse opened its new, five and a half storey grandstand, The Princess Royal Stand, on the first day of The Open, Friday 13th November 2015, on time and on budget. The grandstand is the final part of a £45million redevelopment of the course.

Over a 19month period, from 2013-2015, a number of different areas of Cheltenham Racecourse were redeveloped, with the new stand the centrepiece of the project. The grandstand provides a number of bars, toilets, restaurants, private boxes and viewing facilities for racegoers.

The ground floor of The Princess Royal Stand consists of a public bar, called the Vestey Bar after Lord Vestey who was Chairman of Cheltenham for 21 years until 2011. A bistro also provides hot food and a seafood offering.

The first floor of the stand provides a great new bar for Annual Members who have access directly onto their own section of steppings looking on to the racecourse. The remainder of the first floor is the Big Buck’s Champagne Bar, named after the horse that won an unprecedented four World Hurdles and 18 consecutive races, also with direct access onto the viewing steps of the grandstand.

The second floor of the grandstand consists of an Owners & Trainers Bar, with a balcony overlooking the Parade Ring, horsewalk and course and The Cotswolds Club, an area available to those who used to have one of the A+R boxes which were removed to make way for the new stand.

Moving up a floor, the third floor, to The Royal Box and 11 private boxes. Finally the top floor houses The Cheltenham Club, where members are allocated a table for the season, from which to enjoy a four course, a la carte lunch, stunning views of Cleeve Hill and the Malvern Hills at the back of the stand and even a fireplace to keep warm between races during the winter months. This facility provides an unrivaled offer of fine dining combined with a stunning sporting setting.

The opening of the new stand signified the end of a £45million redevelopment of Cheltenham Racecourse, the largest of its kind by The Jockey Club. A total of 14 different projects have been completed over the 19 month construction period, including a refurbished weighing room, a new first aid room and the new crescent walkway which greatly assists racegoers’ mobility behind the grandstand and offer additional viewing of the parade ring.

Paul Fisher, Group Managing Director of Jockey Club Racecourses, commented at the time: “The Jockey Club exists to support the long-term future of British racing and we see this £45m development as an important investment in Cheltenham and Jump Racing as a whole, on the back of putting more than £400m back into our sport in just the last decade.

“We’ve been delighted with the feedback as each project within the development has been completed and opened, but the centerpiece has always been the fantastic new grandstand. We were clear we wanted to offer something for everyone in the facility and a huge credit must go to all of the Cheltenham team as well as our development partners, primarily Kier, and architects Roberts Limbrick for completing a project of this scale not only on budget but ahead of schedule and to a standard fitting of the Home of Jump racing.”

The History of The Cheltenham Festival

The first organised Flat race meeting in Cheltenham took place in 1815 on Nottingham Hill, with the first races on Cleeve Hill in August 1818. Racing’s popularity soared over the next decade with crowds of 30,000 visiting the racecourse for its annual two day July meeting featuring the Gold Cup, a 3m flat race.  Since 1815 we've been betting on horses!  You'd think we'd be good at it by now!

In 1829, Cheltenham’s Parish Priest, Reverend Francis Close, preached the evils of horseracing and aroused such strong feeling amongst his congregation that the race meeting in 1830 was disrupted. Before the following year’s meeting the grandstand was burnt to the ground!

To overcome this violent opposition the racecourse was moved to Prestbury Park, its current venue, in 1831. Steeplechasing became established in nearby Andoversford from 1834 and moved to the present course in 1898.

In 1964, Racecourse Holdings Trust (now Jockey Club Racecourses) was formed to secure the future of Cheltenham. The group now owns 13 other racecourses – a combination of jump, flat, dual purpose and all weather racecourses. Wholly owned in a trust by The Jockey Club, the racecourses reinvest all profits into the 14 racecourses to ensure the continued success and development of British horseracing.

The changing face of Cheltenham Racecourse 1950s

The stands changed little between the 1930s and 1950s when the National Hunt Steeplechase course ran behind the back of the stands.

1960s and 1970s

The original Tattersalls Grandstand was opened in 1960 to cope with growing crowds. The Weighing Room was underneath the Festival Restaurant and the Winners Enclosure above the Parade Ring. During this period the centre of the racecourse was developed and became a popular raceday enclosure.

1980s

The main Grandstand was completed in 1979 and extended twice in the 1980s. The top two levels were dedicated entirely to Private Hospitality, and in 1982 the Parade Ring, Weighing Room and Hurdlers Hall were built behind the stands with terraced viewing for 4,000.

1990s

The new stables complex was opened in 1990 adjacent to Hunters Lodge, our stable staff hotel built three years earlier to sleep 124. The Pre-Parade Ring was used for the first time in 1992 and Hall of Fame Entrance officially opened in 1993.

The Cross Country Course was introduced in 1995 and is now raced on three times each season, including The Festival. The race weaves around the centre of the course with natural obstacles including hedges, banks and ditches. In 1997, the original Tattersalls Grandstand was knocked down and replaced with tiered viewing and the Panoramic Restaurant which boasts spectacular views across the racecourse.

The Millennium

During 2003-2004, £3m was invested in the Best Mate Enclosure in the centre of the racecourse, giving a new grandstand and arguably one of the best views of racing. During the same period, £17m was invested in providing additional raceday facilities with The Centaur, a new conference and events centre. Accommodating up to 4,000 visitors, The Centaur is the biggest venue of its kind between Birmingham and Bournemouth. In 2005, The Festival was successfully extended to four days.

Investing in the future

The racecourse employs more than 80 permanent staff, which rises to approximately 1,000 for a race meeting and more than 5,000 at The Festival. The Festival is worth an estimated £100m to the local economy and hosts the largest tented village of any kind at a sporting event. Prize money at Cheltenham exceeds £6m throughout the season with £4.1m on offer at The Festival alone, making it the most valuable and prestigious fixture in Jump racing.

The racecourse is also home to many other organizations and businesses including Cotswold RDA, Cheltenham Archery and Clubs for Angling and Model Aircraft. Throughout the year we welcome over 700,000 visitors to the racecourse and hope that every visitor – horse or human – enjoy their visit and will be back soon.

About The Jockey Club

Cheltenham racecourse is part of the The Jockey Club, the largest commercial group in British horse racing.
With a 266-year heritage at the heart of British racing and governed by Royal Charter, The Jockey Club invests all profits back into the UK’s second biggest spectator sport.

The Jockey Club owns 14 leading racecourses, including Aintree, home of the Randox Health Grand National; Cheltenham, stage for the prestigious Cheltenham Festival; Epsom Downs, home to the Investec Derby; and Newmarket’s Rowley Mile and July Course, considered Flat racing’s global HQ.

Other parts of its Group include Jockey Club Estates which operates the famous training grounds at Newmarket and Lambourn; The National Stud, its Thoroughbred breeding, boarding and education arm; and charity, Racing Welfare, which offers help to all racing’s people in need.

The Jockey Club is also the largest shareholder in QIPCO British Champions Series, which aims to throw the spotlight on the very best races in the UK Flat season, and climaxes with QIPCO British Champions Day at Ascot in October each year.

It is also the largest shareholder in media company, Racecourse Media Group, which includes satellite TV channel, Racing UK, online service, RacingUK.com and betting shop TV service, TurfTV.

Cheltenham Racecourse Committee:

CHAIRMAN

Robert Waley-Cohen – Robert took over as Chairman from Lord Vestey after The Festival in 2011 when his horse Long Run won the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Robert has owned four other Festival winners and five winners over the Grand National fences. Robert has been on the committee of the TBA National Hunt Committee since 2006 and Chairman since 2010. He has been a member of the BHA Jump Race Committee since 2010. Robert served as a Steward of The Jockey Club from 1995 to 2000, the last three years as Deputy Senior Steward and was Chairman of the Point-to-Point Authority from 2005 to 2011.

COMMITTEE

Rupert Sweeting – Rupert was a successful amateur jockey and continues to steward at Aintree, Ascot, Newbury, Towcester, Warwick and Windsor. He is on the Licensing Committee of the BHA. He has three broodmares and a filly in training with David Pipe. He is a proprietary partner of Knight Frank heading up the Country Department and is a director of Heritage Diversified Investments PCC Ltd.

Alice Fox-Pitt – After starting out as a runner on Festival Radio, Alice, née Alice Plunkett, moved on to having her own show there, at the Derby and Royal Ascot. She then did a screen test for the Racing Channel and worked there until the broadcaster closed, then becoming a host on At the Races before moving across to Racing UK on its inception. Her role on Channel 4 Racing began with the Lunchtime Show and she was brought into the main team in 2001. She now fronts all the Jump racing action for Channel 4 and from 2017 ITV Racing. She is the only woman to have ridden around both Aintree and Badminton Horse Trials. She represented Great Britain at the European Three-Day Event Championships under 21 and, as an amateur rider, partnered winners over hurdles, point-to-points and charity Flat races.Plunkett is married to eventer William Fox-Pitt and they live in Dorset with their four children.

William Rucker – William is Chief Executive of Lazard in London. He is also Chairman of Crest Nicholson Holdings plc and Quintain Estates & Development plc. He has many horses in training with Evan Williams and his horses have finished in the top four in six runnings of the Grand National, with familiar names such as Cappa Bleu and State Of Play, the latter of which also won the 2006 Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury. He also has horses in training with Fergal O’Brien and with Sir Mark Prescott on the Flat.

William Vestey – William has grown up with Cheltenham Racecourse as a big part of his life, as his father Lord Vestey was Chairman for over two decades. He is Lord Vestey’s elder son and is Associate Director for the family business, Vestey Group. William has horses in training with Jeremy Noseda, Nicky Henderson and Charlie Longsdon.

Sir Richard Stagg KCMG – Sir Richard joined the Cheltenham Racecourse Committee at the start of the 2015/16 season. He had recently retired from the Foreign Office, having been High Commissioner to India from 2007 until 2011 and after that was Ambassador to Afghanistan from 2012 until 2015. He is Chairman of Rothschild India. He has owned a number of racehorses in the past and has a varied background in racing from sponsoring pony racing on the ice in Bulgaria; to presenting the Queen’s Cup at Calcutta Races.

Aintree Grand National Runners 2018 Guide

fifa world cup 2018

FIFA World Cup 2018 – bets, tips and odds | everything you need to know about the World Cup

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fifa World Cup finalists 2018

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Brazil

To Lift The Trophy - 4/1

 

 

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Brazil vs Switzerland - 17/06 19:00

Brazil vs Costa Rica - 22/06 13:00

Brazil vs Serbia - 27/06 19:00

Germany

To Lift The Trophy - 5/1

 

 

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Spain

To Lift The Trophy - 11/2

 

 

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France

To Lift The Trophy - 13/2

 

 

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Argentina

To Lift The Trophy - 10/1

 

 

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Belgium

To Lift The Trophy - 10/1

 

 

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England

To Lift The Trophy - 16/1

 

 

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Portugal

To Lift The Trophy - 25/1

 

 

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Uruguay

To Lift The Trophy - 25

 

 

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Croatia

To Lift The Trophy - 33/1

 

 

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Colombia

To Lift The Trophy - 40/1

 

 

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Russia

To Lift The Trophy - 50

 

 

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Poland

To Lift The Trophy - 66/1

 

 

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Mexico

To Lift The Trophy - 80

 

 

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Denmark

To Lift The Trophy - 100

 

 

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Switzerland

To Lift The Trophy - 150/1

 

 

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Serbia

To Lift The Trophy - 150/1

 

 

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Peru

To Lift The Trophy - 150/1

 

 

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Sweden

To Lift The Trophy - 150/1

 

 

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Egypt

To Lift The Trophy - 250/1

 

 

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Nigeria

To Lift The Trophy - 250/1

 

 

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Iceland

To Lift The Trophy - 250/1

 

 

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Senegal

To Lift The Trophy - 250/1

 

 

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Morroco

To Lift The Trophy - 250/1

 

 

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Japan

To Lift The Trophy - 250/1

 

 

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South Korea

To Lift The Trophy - 500/1

 

 

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Costa Rica

To Lift The Trophy - 500/1

 

 

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Iran

To Lift The Trophy - 750/1

 

 

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Australia

To Lift The Trophy - 750/1

 

 

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Tunisia

To Lift The Trophy - 750/1

 

 

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Panama

To Lift The Trophy - 1000/1

 

 

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Saudi Arabia

To Lift The Trophy - 1500/1

 

 

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The Fifa World Cup 2018 will take place between June 14th - July 15th in Russia. 

The 2018 FIFA World Cup is scheduled to take place in Russia from 14 June to 15 July 2018, after the country was awarded the hosting rights on 2 December 2010. This will be the first World Cup held in Europe since the 2006 tournament in Germany; all but one of the stadium venues are in European Russia, west of the Ural Mountains to keep travel time manageable.

The final tournament will involve 32 national teams, which include 31 teams determined through qualifying competitions and the automatically qualified host team. Of the 32 teams, 20 will be making back-to-back appearances following the last tournament in 2014, including defending champions Germany, while Iceland and Panama will both be making their first appearances at a FIFA World Cup. A total of 64 matches will be played in 12 venues located in 11 cities. The final will take place on 15 July at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.

World Cup 2018 guide | bets, odds & information

Group A

Russia

Stanislav Cherchesov became Russia's manager after disappointing performances at Euro 2016 and the former goalkeeper has changed a lot, mainly in defence where he has brought in the youngsters Viktor Vasin (CSKA), Fedor Kudryashov (Rubin Kazan) and Georgi Dzhikiya (Spartak Moscow) to replace Sergei Ignashevich and Vasily Berezutski. He also plays three at the back instead of four. The biggest talking point has been the exclusion of Igor Denisov, who is arguably the best defensive midfielder but fell out with Cherchesov at Dynamo Moscow. Russia’s attack is impressive. Alan Dzagoev is still going strong and the strikers Fyodor Smolov and Aleksandr Kokorin scored a lot of goals in 2017. Special attention should be paid to the twins Aleksei and Anton Miranchuk from Lokomotiv Moscow and Aleksandr Golovin from CSKA. They are young technical midfielders who could have their breakthroughs at the World Cup.  There are a lot of people betting on Russia to do well at this tournament.  They're not stupid!

How they qualified Hosts Preferred system 3-5-2 Star player Igor Akinfeev (CSKA Moscow) One to watch Aleksandr Golovin (CSKA Moscow) Manager Stanislav Cherchesov Odds 40-1

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia may be the lowest-ranked qualifiers but there is never a dull moment when the Green Falcons are around. Few managers last more than a year in the hottest of hot seats but Bert van Marwijk was in charge for two and led the team to a first World Cup since 2006. It was not always pretty but the side took maximum points from the weakest teams and did enough against Japan and Australia to squeeze into the second automatic spot. Days later Van Marwijk was heading home after a disagreement with the Saudi FA, replaced by Edgardo Bauza. The Argentinian lasted two months and five friendlies before getting the boot. Three days before the draw in Moscow, Juan Antonio Pizzi – who led Chile to the 2016 Copa América but could not take them to Russia – was appointed. His squad has some talent but lack international experience.

How they qualified Second in Asian Group B (round three) behind Japan Preferred system 4-3-3 (in qualification though new coach may change) Star Player Nawaf Al Abed (Al-Hilal) One to watch Fahad Al-Muwallad (Al-Ittihad) Manager Juan Antonio Pizzi Odds 1,000-1

Egypt

Happy to sit back and defend, Egypt are difficult to break down. Only once (in 30 games) have the Pharaohs conceded more than one goal under Hector Cúper. But despite taking Egypt to the Afcon final and a 63% win rate, the Argentinian has been criticised for his defensive style. Egypt’s squad are a mixture of youth and experience, with the goalkeeper Essam El-Hadary set to become the oldest player at a World Cup at 45. In front of him Egypt have the solid defensive partnership of Rami Rabia and West Brom’s Ahmed Hegazi. The midfield is built around Mohamed Elneny and Al Ahly’s Abdallah Said, who at 32 will bring a creative spark. Egypt hope Mohamed Salah’s fine form continues and on the other wing can choose from Ramadan Sobhi, Kahraba and Mahmoud Hassan “Trézéguet”, one to watch for his direct runs into the box.

How they qualified Winners of African Group E (round three) ahead of Uganda Preferred system 4-2-3-1 Star player Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) One to watch Mahmoud Hassan “Trézéguet” (Kasımpaşa, on loan from Anderlecht) Manager Héctor Cúper Odds 250-1

Uruguay

Óscar Tabárez’s team went through qualifying with unusual serenity. After four consecutive World Cup play-offs they finished second behind Brazil to qualify in style. Now, though, he has a big decision to make: will he continue to rely on the attacking approach that has served him so well or make changes? The answer seems to lie in the changing of the guard in midfield. Federico Valverde (Real Madrid, on loan at Deportivo La Coruña), Matías Vecino, (Internazionale), Nahitan Nández (Boca Juniors) and Rodrigo Bentancur (Juventus) are young and attack-minded players who have earned a place in the team, leading to this increased focus on attack. However, the November friendlies ended with a 0-0 draw against Poland and a 2-1 defeat against Austria, so expect some tinkering before the World Cup.

How they qualified Second in the South American section behind Brazil Preferred system 4-4-2 Star player Luis Suárez (Barcelona) One to watch Federico Valverde (Deportivo La Coruña, on loan from Real Madrid) Manager Óscar Tabárez Odds 40-1

Luis Suárez is set to form a formidable striking partnership with Edinson Cavani in Russia.

Group B

Portugal

“Brazil, Argentina, Spain, Germany and France are the favourites to win the World Cup,” says the Portugal coach, Fernando Santos, before adding: “Then we have other candidates, who want to get as far as possible, and win the tournament if possible, and Portugal are in this second group.” Santos is cautious, despite winning Euro 2016 but he is looking forward to the World Cup with optimism and does so with good reason: Portugal seem stronger now than a year and a half ago, having added creativity to the defensive organisation that underpinned the 2016 title. Bernardo Silva and André Silva have been important factors in this attacking upgrade and in general the team have more depth. The one area which is perhaps weaker is the defence, where it has been hard to find replacements for Pepe (who will be 35 next summer), José Fonte (34) and Bruno Alves (36).

How they qualified Winners of European Group B ahead of Switzerland Preferred system 4-4-2 Star player Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid) One to watch Bernardo Silva (Manchester City) Manager Fernando Santos Odds 20-1

portugal euro 2016 winners

Portugal are arguably a stronger side now than the team who won Euro 2016.

Spain

La Roja are still La Roja and crashing out at the group stage in Brazil 2014 and the disappointment of France 2016 were not at all cathartic in the end. At the age of 51, and without much experience as a coach at elite level, Julen Lopetegui has managed to conserve the essence of what made Spain so successful. The backbone of the team who qualified brilliantly for Russia 2018 are the same as those who failed in France a year and a half ago. Eight of the team who lost against Italy in Paris would start in Russia if the World Cup started now: David De Gea, Gerard Piqué, Sergio Ramos, Jordi Alba, Sergio Busquets, Andrés Iniesta, David Silva and Álvaro Morata. In addition, the wonderful Isco has found his feet with the senior squad, as have several of the under-21s who won the Euros with Spain and Lopetegui in 2013.

How they qualified Winners of European Group G ahead of Italy Preferred system 4-5-1 Star player David Silva (Manchester City) One to watch Isco (Real Madrid) Manager Julen Lopetegui Odds 15-2

Morocco

The Atlas Lions are roaring again. Twenty years after a heartbreaking elimination from the group stage at France ’98, the first African team to reach the last 16 are back at the World Cup. Morocco, the only African team to qualify for Russia without conceding a goal, have built their game on solid defence and hard work. The experience of Karim El Ahmadi, M’barek Boussoufa and Juventus’s Mehdi Benatia fits well with the intelligence of Hakim Ziyech and the strength of Nordin Amrabat. Hervé Renard is in charge but the advice coming from one of his assistants, Patrice Beaumelle, is vital. The former Coventry City midfielder Mustapha Hadji is also key in the setup, sharing his experiences and acting as a role model for this generation. The team’s main weakness used to be on the left but Real Madrid’s Achraf Hakimi has filled the gap admirably since September.

How they qualified Winners African Group C (round three) ahead of Ivory Coast Preferred system 4-5-1 Star player Hakim Ziyech (Ajax) One to watch Sofiane Boufal (Southampton) Manager Hervé Renard Odds 250-1

Iran

Team Melli are playing in a second successive World Cup for the first time. Carlos Queiroz’s men were the first Asian side to qualify for this tournament and did so with 12 consecutive clean sheets. The main aspect of Queiroz’s tactics is “reactive football” with a deep-lying defence and quick counterattacks. However, in recent friendlies against Russia, Panama and Venezuela, Iran played with a different tactic, pressing higher up the pitch and adopting a more aggressive approach. Queiroz, despite a temper and petulance that has caused many seemingly pointless controversies in recent years, is very popular in Iran because of the results and performances. Many believe he has given a real character to the national team. Iran have many Europe-based players this season and Queiroz tends to select those who play outside their homeland.

How they qualified Winners of Asian Group A (round three) ahead of South Korea Preferred system 4-2-3-1 Star player Sardar Azmoun (Rubin Kazan) One to watchSaman Ghoddos (Ostersund) Manager Carlos Queiroz Odds 1000-1

Group C

France

“We are not at the same level as Germany, Spain and Brazil – yet,” says Didier Deschamps. “We may not control all our games with the same authority but still, we have a strong and competitive team with a great potential.” France blew hot and cold in qualifying, winning their group despite losing to Sweden and drawing against Belarus and Luxembourg. Deschamps has a thrilling and explosive attack of Antoine Griezmann, Kylian Mbappé and Ousmane Dembélé (if fit). There is a strong midfield built around Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kanté, lots of technical ability all around with such as Thomas Lemar and a sound defensive axis. Still, France appear more effective when playing on the break and using their speed. The weakest link? The left-back position if Manchester City’s Benjamin Mendy does not recover from his knee injury.

How they qualified Winners of European Group A ahead of Sweden Preferred system 4-4-2 or 4-3-3 Star player Antoine Griezmann (Atlético Madrid) One to watch Kylian Mbappé (Paris St-Germain) Manager Didier Deschamps Odds 11-2

antoinne griezmann

Antoine Griezmann wheels away after scoring against Wales during a friendly in November.

Australia

The 31st team to qualify worked harder than anyone else, with around 250,000km travelled and trips to far-flung destinations such as Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, Tajikistan, Iran, Japan, Malaysia and Honduras. The Socceroos’ place in Russia is secure but the identity of the manager who will lead them there remains a mystery after Ange Postecoglou quit following the play-off win over Honduras in November. As such, Australia present something of a challenge for opponents scouting them, and uncertainty hangs over whether Postecoglou’s preferred – and controversial – 3-2-4-1 will be retained, as well as over the names that will fill those starting slots. There is still an over-reliance on Tim Cahill – who will be 38 this month – for goals but with Aaron Mooy, Tom Rogic and Massimo Luongo, there is talent elsewhere; how to get the best out of them and their team-mates will depend on who takes the job.

How they qualified Third in Asian Group B (round three) behind Japan and Saudi Arabia, then play-off wins against Syria and Honduras Preferred system 3-4-1-2 (but that may change when the new manager is appointed) Star player Aaron Mooy (Huddersfield Town) One to watch Mathew Leckie (Hertha Berlin) Managernone Odds 300-1

Peru

Peru are back at the World Cup after 36 years, having gone back to their roots. Ricardo Gareca has brought in new, young players and reintroduced a style that had been lost for some time. Short passes and possession are part of the football DNA of Peru again – with excellent results. They are a young side who have responded to tougher discipline with increased commitment. The spine is made up of a very confident goalkeeper in Pedro Gallese; the skilful leader Alberto Rodríguez in defence; the physical and intelligent Yoshimar Yotún, who runs the midfield; and Jefferson Farfán and Paolo Guerrero up front. The wing-backs Aldo Corzo and Miguel Trauco are tactically astute and important. For a bit of inspiration to unlock opposing defences, there is the talented Christian Cueva.

How they qualified Fifth in South American section, then play-off win over New Zealand Preferred system 4-2-3-1 Star player Jefferson Farfán (Lokomotiv Moscow) One to watch Christian Cueva (São Paulo) Manager Ricardo Gareca Odds150-1

Denmark

Not only did a World Cup qualifying campaign end successfully for the first time since 2009 but the public fell back in love with the team. Denmark crushed Poland 4-0 and the Republic of Ireland 5-1 in the space of two months in the autumn, with Christian Eriksen reaching a Michael Laudrup-level of play, scoring 11 goals in 12 matches. “The World Cup deserves a star like him,” says the coach, Age Hareide. “We will be a danger to all teams because of him.” Denmark will continue with the direct style of play that Hareide turned to in the autumn, an approach that suited the box-to-box midfielder Thomas Delaney, who was the second-highest scorer for Denmark in qualifying. Up front Nicolai Jorgensen, Andreas Cornelius and Nicklas Bendtner fight for one place, while in central defence Brentford’s Andreas Bjelland and the captain Simon Kjær are picked ahead of Chelsea’s Andreas Christensen.

How they qualified Second in European Group E behind Poland, then play-off win against Republic of Ireland Preferred system 4-3-3 Star player Christian Eriksen (Tottenham Hotspur) One to watch Thomas Delaney (Werder Bremen) ManagerAge Hareide Odds 80-1

Group D

Argentina

Argentina made it in the end and it will be a farewell party for a lot of senior players. Sergio Romero, Ángel Di María, Sergio Agüero, Gonzalo Higuaín, Lucas Biglia and Éver Banega, among others, are almost certainly about to play in their final tournament. For Lionel Messi – the captain and main reason they reached Russia – it is also pretty much a case of now or never. With that in mind, Jorge Sampaoli is likely to go on the attack in his attempt to secure Argentina’s first World Cup since 1986. The team were unreliable in qualifying and it is up to Sampaoli to make them stronger in defence. Gabriel Mercado, Javier Mascherano and Nicolás Otamendi are likely to occupy the spots in the back three, with Biglia and Enzo Pérez expected to take the central midfield places.

How they qualified Third in South American section behind Brazil and Uruguay Preferred system 3-4-3 Star player Lionel Messi (Barcelona) One to watch Paulo Dybala (Juventus) Manager Jorge Sampaoli Odds 8-1

Iceland

Will supporters from the smallest nation ever to qualify for the World Cup be able to support their team in Russia in the way they did in France? Almost 10% of the nation travelled to Euro 2016 and there could be similar levels next summer but Moscow and Saint Petersburg are obviously easier to reach than Ekaterinburg and Volgograd. Iceland had to overcome a series of problems to qualify: the loss of their main striker Kolbeinn Sigthorsson to injury, Lars Lagerback’s departure and a draw that placed them with three teams who reached Euro 2016. However, they won their group and Heimir Hallgrimsson, who is now in sole charge, has shown more tactical flexibility than Lagerback did. Iceland still mainly play 4-4-2 but Hallgrimsson changes this to a 4-5-1 in certain games, to good effect. Apart from Sigthorsson, everybody from the starting lineup in France is expected to be in Russia.

How they qualified Winners of European Group I ahead of Croatia Preferred system 4-4-2 Star player Gylfi Sigurdsson (Everton) One to watch Hordur Bjorgvin Magnusson (Bristol City) Manager Heimir Hallgrimsson

Croatia

a’s results became progressively worse during the qualifiers before, as usual, the manager was fired. The new man in charge, Zlatko Dalic, was appointed two days before the final – and decisive – group game but it was enough for a triumph of improvisation in Kiev, and then Croatia disposed of Greece with authority in the play-offs. Luka Modric is 32 and most of the other likely starters will be 29 or older – and the tournament may well be the last realistic shot at something big for this extraordinary generation, the best Croatia has had since the 1998 bronze-winning team. But the perennial dark horses have been caught in a web of internal divides involving key national federation men, the fans, the media and politics, decimating their support at home and making it difficult for them to focus.

How they qualified Second in European Group I behind Iceland, then play-off win against Greece Preferred system 4-2-3-1 Star player Luka Modric (Real Madrid) One to watch Nikola Vlasic (Everton) Manager Zlatko Dalic Odds 25-1

croatia

Croatia’s form got progressively worse during the World Cup qualifying campaign. 

Nigeria

Placed in a group with Algeria, Cameroon and the 2012 African champions Zambia, the Super Eagles qualified with a game to spare. The comeback victory over Argentina in a recent friendly in Russia further fed optimism regarding what the team can achieve under Gernot Rohr. The German manager has radically improved the side, infusing the freshness of youth into a team who failed to qualify for two consecutive Africa Cup of Nations tournaments before his appointment. Since he took over last year, the former Bordeaux manager has lost one game and knitted together a ruthless counterattacking side who feature the outstanding Alex Iwobi and with Chelsea’s wing-back Victor Moses playing as a dynamic, talismanic winger. The team are based on a sturdy defence, with energetic ball-winners at the base of midfield and the calming presence of Mikel John Obi to funnel balls to the attack.

How they qualified Winners of African Group B (round three) ahead of Zambia Preferred system 4-3-3 Star player Victor Moses (Chelsea) One to watch Alex Iwobi (Arsenal) Manager Gernot Rohr Odds 150-1

Group E

Brazil

Tite has not had 20 games in charge but Brazil’s transformation from a rudderless wreck to World Cup contenders has been astonishing. Tite has implemented a 4-1-4-1 and carefully navigated the lack of club playing time for some of his players. He has accommodated Neymar on the left, Casemiro in front of the backline, Gabriel Jesus in the centre of attack and has got the best from the full-backs Dani Alves and Marcelo. Renato Augusto is another performing at his peak, and Paulinho, one of Tite’s favourite players, has managed the transformation from the Chinese league to Barcelona remarkably well. The process has risks attached to it, too. Apart from the regulars in the starting XI there is not much depth – Willian and Roberto Firmino aside, Tite does not seem to have faith in many other players.

How they qualified Winners of the South American section ahead of Uruguay Preferred system 4-1-4-1 Star player Neymar (Paris St-Germain) One to watch Paulinho (Barcelona) Manager Tite Odds 5-1

brazil

Brazil line up to face England at Wembley in November.

Switzerland

People in Switzerland expect their team to reach major finals these days so there was no euphoria when the place in Russia was booked. The expectation is for Vladimir Petkovic’s squad to reach at least the last 16. “My team has a got an excellent team spirit and have a tremendous will to succeed,” says Petkovic. Granit Xhaka is at the heart, dictating the pace of the game. With creative and quick players such as Xherdan Shaqiri and Steven Zuber, Switzerland are always capable of creating something on the flanks, especially as the wingers have strong full-backs behind them in Juventus’s Stephan Lichtsteiner, right, and Milan’s Ricardo Rodríguez, left. With Fabian Schär and young Manuel Akanji there is also a solid central defence to lean on. The weakest part of the team is the centre-forward position, which is almost always occupied by Haris Seferović.

How they qualified Second in European Group B behind Portugal, then play-off win against Northern Ireland Preferred system 4-5-1 Star player Granit Xhaka (Arsenal) One to watch Denis Zakaria (Borussia Mönchengladbach) ManagerVladimir Petkovic Odds 66-1

Costa Rica

Costa Rica were a sensation four years ago, reaching the World Cup quarter-finals, and face the challenge of emulating that. The coach then, Jorge Luis Pinto, has been replaced by Óscar Ramírez and his team showed in qualifying they are the Concacaf team to beat, qualifying with two games to spare. Ramírez has continued to deploy the 5-4-1 that served Pinto so well. It asks a lot of Bryan Ruiz and Celso Borges; Ruiz is the main reference in attack and Borges gives balance in midfield. Keylor Navas is the star, with Marco Ureña, who plays for San Jose Earthquakes in the MLS, adding pace to the attack. Costa Rica may struggle to repeat a place in the last eight but they have the quality to reach the knockout phase.

How they qualified Second in Concacaf round five behind Mexico Preferred system 5-4-1 Star player Keylor Navas (Real Madrid) One to watch Marco Ureña (San Jose Earthquakes) Manager Óscar Ramírez Odds 400-1

Serbia

Serbia qualified for their first major tournament for seven years in comprehensive fashion. With only one defeat in 10 matches, they pipped the Euro 2016 semi-finalists Wales and Republic of Ireland to first place in their group, but that was not enough for Slavoljub Muslin to keep his job. The 64-year-old’s conflict with the president of the Serbian FA, Slavisa Kokeza, over the style of play and squad selection – with the star midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic at the epicentre – resulted in Muslin being fired. Mladen Krstajic took over as caretaker and immediately brought Milinkovic-Savic into the team for the November friendlies. The Lazio man repaid the faith with superb performances and an assist, sending a message that he could be trusted to lead a star-studded but ageing Serbia side.

How they qualified Winners of Euopean Group D ahead of Republic of IrelandPreferred system 3-4-3 Star player Nemanja Matic (Manchester United) One to Watch Sergej Milinkovic-Savic (Lazio) Manager Mladen Krstajic (caretaker)

Group F

Germany

After Germany lost to France in the Euro 2016 semi-final plenty predicted the Joachim Löw era was slowly coming to an end. However, the team bounced back impressively and qualified for the World Cup with a perfect 10 wins out of 10 while scoring a joint European-record 43 goals. Die Mannschaft have not lost since that defeat against France and, rather frighteningly for their rivals, won the Confederations Cup in the summer without all of these missing players: Jérôme Boateng, Mats Hummels, Manuel Neuer, Toni Kroos, Mesut Özil, Thomas Müller, Mario Götze, Ilkay Gündogan, Marco Reus, Sami Khedira and Leroy Sané. New players (such as Timo Werner, Lars Stindl and – above all – Leon Goretzka) have staked their claim, meaning competition for places in the World Cup squad will be immense. Goretzka’s impressive displays for Schalke should see Löw pick him ahead of Khedira in central midfield.

How they qualified Winners of European Group C ahead of Northern Ireland Preferred system 4-2-3-1 Star player Toni Kroos (Real Madrid) One to watch Leon Goretzka (Schalke) Manager Joachim Löw Odds 5-1

Mexico

The team had no problem reaching the World Cup but Juan Carlos Osorio is still being questioned, because in more demanding fixtures, such as against Chile in the Copa América Centenario and Germany in the Confederations Cup, El Trilooked lost, being beaten 7-0 and 4-1 respectively. However, some of the players are in their prime. Guillermo Ochoa, Andrés Guardado, Héctor Moreno, Héctor Herrera and Javier Hernández have at least five years of experience in Europe and this could be the difference for Mexico to finally make it to a fifth game at the World Cup. Osorio’s system has been changing of late. When the Colombian took over he always used a 4-3-3 but in two recent friendlies he played with two midfield enforcers, something he may repeat (along with a five-man defence) in Russia.

How they qualified Winners of Concacaf round five ahead of Costa Rica and Panama Preferred system 4-3-3 Star player Javier “Chicharito” Hernández (West Ham United) One to watch Hirving “Chucky” Lozano (PSV Eindhoven) ManagerJuan Carlos Osorio Odds 66-1

Sweden

Euro 2016 saw the end of the Zlatan Ibrahimovic era as well as that of the manager Erik Hamren. The new Sweden team, under Janne Andersson, are extremely hardworking and disciplined. The 4-4-2 and tactics are reminiscent of the successful period from Lars Lagerback’s days in the early 2000s – but with players from more anonymous clubs. The stars of the Lagerback-era played for teams such as Arsenal, Juventus and Barcelona – today they represent clubs in Denmark, Greece, Russia, Scotland and the United Arab Emirates (apart from Emil Forsberg at RB Leipzig and Victor Lindelof at Manchester United). The play-off win against Italy was deserved and the big talking point now is whether Ibrahimovic will come out of international retirement for the World Cup. If so, will he fit in the collective Andersson has created?

How they qualified Second in European Group A behind France, then play-off win against Italy Preferred system 4-4-2 Star player Emil Forsberg (RB Leipzig) One to watch Viktor Claesson (Krasnodar) Manager Janne Andersson Odds 80-1

sweden

 Emil Forsberg has starred for club and country throughout 2017, including against Italy in the play-offs to reach Russia.

South Korea

They struggled throughout the qualifiers through being anemic in attack and defence and narrowly qualified after a poor run which resulted in the firing of Uli Stielike. Shin Tae-yong, who was the manager of the under-23s and under-20s, is not a master tactician but he is a good motivator. Only a few people in South Korea have high expectations and, surprisingly, most fans are waiting for the return of the former coach Guus Hiddink. With a team lacking world-class talent, the manager has to depend on two standout players: Son Heung-min from Tottenham Hotspur and Ki Sung-yueng from Swansea City. Shin often plays a 4-4-2 but seems obsessed with a fluid back-three system so it is not clear how South Korea will play.

How they qualified Second in Asian Group A behind Iran (round three) Preferred system 4-4-2 Star player Son Heung-min (Tottenham Hotspur) One to watch Kwon Chang-hoon (Dijon) Manager Shin Tae-yong Odds 500-1

Group G

Belgium

Belgium broke all sorts of records in qualifying: they were unbeaten, they got 28 points from 10 games, they scored 43 goals and Romelu Lukaku became the country’s record goalscorer. However, the last two friendlies, and especially the 3-3 draw against Mexico, have left fans, pundits and players worried. True, Belgium were without Jan Vertonghen, Toby Alderweireld and Vincent Kompany against Mexico but the replacements could not fill the void. Kevin De Bruyne, for one, did not hold back. “Mexico were just better tactically,” he said. “Their system made our five defenders sit deep and we were up against it in midfield – it was five against seven. If we don’t have a good tactical system, we will have difficulties against countries like Mexico. It’s a pity that we have not found a solution yet.” The main problem is that, after two years with Roberto Martínez, there is still no real defensive organisation.

How they qualified Winners of European Group H ahead of Greece Preferred system 3-4-2-1 Star player Eden Hazard (Chelsea) One to watch Thomas Meunier (Paris St-Germain) Manager Roberto Martínez Odds 12-1

Panama

“We’ll go to the World Cup to learn and compete. It’s an experience to enjoy,” said Hernán Darío Gómez, and he should know: the Colombian has led four teams at World Cup finals. His experience has been crucial in turning a mature squad who had performed well at age-group levels into the country’s first qualification. That feat owed much to the defensive colossus Román Torres, who scored the goal that took them to Russia, and the midfielder Gabriel Gómez, the brains of the operation. It is a team built on solidity, discipline and hitting on the break. Alberto Quintero’s creativity is the key source of chances for Gabriel Torres and Blas Pérez, the most-used forward pairing. Fidel Escobar, Michael Murillo (both of New York Red Bulls) and Deportivo La Coruña’s Ismael Díaz add youthful endeavour.

How they qualified Third in Concacaf round five behind Mexico and Costa Rica Preferred system 4-4-2 Star player Gabriel Gómez (Atlético Bucaramanga) One to watch Román Torres (Seattle Sounders) Manager Hernán Darío Gómez Odds 1,000-1

Tunisia

After a 12-year absence Tunisia are back at a World Cup but their path was not entirely straight. They sacked Henryk Kasperczak soon after losing in the last eight of the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations. Nabil Maâloul was appointed in April and steered the country to the World Cup, mainly using a 4-2-3-1. The full-backs are encouraged to attack and on the left Ali Maâloul of Al Ahly is key because of how much he contributes going forward. The midfield are dominated by two hard-working ball-winners in Ferjani Sassi and Mohamed Amine Ben Amor, with the MKN trio of Youssef Msakni, Wahbi Khazri and Naïm Sliti adding flair. Msakni, who plays in Qatar, is a tremendous talent and often carries the team. The manager sometimes switches to 4-3-2-1, especially against attacking teams, incorporating the defensive midfilder Ghailene Chaalali instead of Khazri or Sliti.

How they qualified Winners of African Group A (round three) Preferred system 4-2-3-1 Star player Youssef Msakni (Al-Duhail) One to watch Naïm Sliti (Dijon, on loan from Lille) Manager Nabil Maâloul Odds 400-1

England

The most amazing statistic about England is that they have not lost a qualifying match for any major competition since October 2009. It is an incredible run, covering 39 games, with three different managers in place since the team, then led by Fabio Capello, went down 1-0 to Ukraine. Gareth Southgate has certainly had an eventful year since being promoted from his role as the manager of England’s under-21s. Southgate has moved out Wayne Rooney and overseen a period of change that now has England operating with a younger, more experimental team in a 3-4-2-1 formation. Yet there are lingering questions about whether they have improved since the ordeal of being eliminated by Iceland at Euro 2016. England fans even staged a walkout at the qualifying match in Malta.

How they qualified Winners of European Group F ahead of Slovakia Preferred system 3-4-2-1 Star player Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur) One to watch Marcus Rashford (Manchester United) Manager Gareth Southgate Odds 16-1

england

England’s squad has been revamped by Gareth Southgate since the Euro 2016 debacle, with Daniel Sturridge among those unlikely to travel to Russia. 

Group H

Poland

Adam Nawalka’s side always looked certain of qualifying and won eight of their 10 games. The captain, Robert Lewandowski, hit a record-breaking 16 goals and his leadership was crucial as Poland returned to the biggest stage after a 12-year absence but they are not a one-man team: other players also contributed heavily to ensure that Poland ended up in pot one for the draw. The defence is a concern (Poland conceded 14 goals – the most of all groups winners) but Nawalka is capable of sorting it out with Poland having the second-best defence at Euro 2016 until the quarter-finals. He has six months to fine-tune his plans, which include working on a formation with three central defenders. Poland have a strong backbone of Wojciech Szczesny-Kamil Glik-Grzegorz Krychowiak-Robert Lewandowski with Hull City’s Kamil Grosicki another key player with his pace on the left flank.

How they qualified Winners of European Group E ahead of Denmark Preferred system 4-2-3-1 Star player Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich) One to watchPiotr Zielinski (Napoli) Manager Adam Nawalka Odds 40-1

Senegal

This will be Senegal’s second World Cup finals after Aliou Cissé, who was the captain of the 2002 side under the late Bruno Metsu, guided his team through a difficult qualification group containing Burkina Faso, South Africa and Cape Verde. Cissé has moulded a team strong in all areas. The addition of M’Baye Niang to a forward line who include Keita Baldé of Monaco and Liverpool’s Sadio Mané has allowed Cissé to play 4-3-3, although in the crucial victory over South Africa West Ham’s Diafra Sakho started in a 4-4-2. Much will be expected of Mané, who has been the star man for several years and has been compared to El Hadji Diouf, the talisman for the 2002 side. His injury problems have slowed down a brilliant start to life at Liverpool and he will need to be at his best in Russia.

How they qualified Winners of African Group D (round three) ahead of Burkina Faso Preferred system 4-3-3 Star player Sadio Mané (Liverpool) One to watch M’Baye Niang (Torino, on loan from Milan) Manager Aliou Cissé Odds 150-1

sadio mane

 Liverpool forward Sadio Mané will be Senegal’s main goal threat at their second World Cup.

Colombia

Colombia will aim to repeat their performance from the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, when they reached the quarter-finals but it will be harder as they are not among the top seeds. That is an indication of the fact qualifying was not straightforward. “Qualifying was really hard,” says the coach, José Pékerman. “We’ve never experienced a situation where so few points separated so many teams.” Three factors explain the difficulties Colombia had: the need to inject youth in defence, the lack of playing time for the stars (James Rodríguez at Real Madrid and Bayern Munich, Radamel Falcao at Monaco and David Ospina at Arsenal) and the lack of options going forward. Pékerman often plays 4-2-3-1 but has tried 4-3-2-1 away from home. Colombia had their best results when they were more defensive and compact between the lines, hitting on the counter with speed and very few passes.

How they qualified Fourth in the South American section behind Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina Preferred system 4-2-3-1 Star player James Rodríguez (Bayern Munich, on loan from Real Madrid) One to watch Davinson Sánchez (Tottenham Hotpsur) Manager José Pékerman Odds 50-1

Japan

Japan have traditionally preferred a possession-based style but Vahid Halilhodzic demands his side look to play on the counter. His drastic reforms have seen Japan’s two biggest stars, Keisuke Honda and Shinji Kagawa, dropped from the squad as they failed to fit into this philosophy – or, in other words, preferred Japan’s traditional approach. There is also no room for Shinji Okazaki of Leicester City, because Halilhodzic opts for a lone forward capable of holding up the play. These choices, and the manager’s overall style, have been the subject of fierce debate in Japan. Halilhodzic has vast experience of international football and took Ivory Coast to the 2010 World Cup (although he was dismissed before the tournament) and Algeria to the 2014 tournament.  Japan are more of a force to be reckoned with than you may believe. I wouldn't bet on them to go out early!

How they qualified Winners of Asian Group B (round three) ahead of Saudi Arabia Preferred system 4-3-3 Star player Maya Yoshida (Southampton) One to watchYosuke Ideguchi (Gamba Osaka) Manager Vahid Halilhodzic Odds 250-1


Schedule

GROUP STAGE   
DateMatchVenueKick-off
Thursday June 14 Russia v Saudi Arabia (A) Moscow (Luzhniki) 4pm GMT
Friday June 15 Egypt v Uruguay (A) Ekaterinburg 1pm
Friday June 15 Morocco v Iran (B) St Petersburg 4pm
Friday June 15 Portugal v Spain (B) Sochi 7pm
Saturday June 16 France v Australia (C) Kazan 11am
Saturday June 16 Argentina v Iceland (D) Moscow (Spartak) 2pm
Saturday June 16 Peru v Denmark (C) Saransk 5pm
Saturday June 16 Croatia v Nigeria (D) Kaliningrad 8pm
Sunday June 17 Costa Rica v Serbia (E) Samara 1pm
Sunday June 17 Germany v Mexico (F) Moscow (Luzhniki) 4pm
Sunday June 17 Brazil v Switzerland (E) Rostov-on-Don 7pm
Monday June 18 Sweden v South Korea (F) Nizhny Novgorod 1pm
Monday June 18 Belgium v Panama (G) Sochi 4pm
Monday June 18 Tunisia v England (G) Volgograd 7pm
Tuesday June 19 Poland v Senegal (H) Moscow (Spartak) 1pm
Tuesday June 19 Colombia v Japan (H) Saransk 4pm
Tuesday June 19 Russia v Egypt (A) St Petersburg 7pm
Wednesday June 20 Portugal v Morocco (B) Moscow (Luzhniki) 1pm
Wednesday June 20 Uruguay v Saudi Arabia (A) Rostov-on-Don 4pm
Wednesday June 20 Iran v Spain (B) Kazan 7pm
Thursday June 21 France v Peru (C) Ekaterinburg 1pm
Thursday June 21 Denmark v Australia (C) Samara 4pm
Thursday June 21 Argentina v Croatia (D) Nizhny Novgorod 7pm
Friday June 22 Brazil v Costa Rica (E) St Petersburg 1pm
Friday June 22 Nigeria v Iceland (D) Volgograd 4pm
Friday June 22 Serbia v Switzerland (E) Kaliningrad 7pm
Saturday June 23 Belgium v Tunisia (G) Moscow (Spartak) 1pm
Saturday June 23 Germany v Sweden (F) Sochi 4pm
Saturday June 23 South Korea v Mexico (F) Rostov-on-Don 7pm
Sunday June 24 England v Panama (G) Nizhny Novgorod 1pm
Sunday June 24 Japan v Senegal (H) Ekaterinburg 4pm
Sunday June 24 Poland v Colombia (H) Kazan 7pm
Monday June 25 Uruguay v Russia (A) Samara 3pm
Monday June 25 Saudi Arabia v Egypt (A) Volgograd 3pm
Monday June 25 Spain v Morocco (B) Kaliningrad 7pm
Monday June 25 Iran v Portugal (B) Saransk 7pm
Tuesday June 26 Denmark v France (C) Moscow (Luzhniki) 3pm
Tuesday June 26 Australia v Peru (C) Sochi 3pm
Tuesday June 26 Nigeria v Argentina (D) St Petersburg 7pm
Tuesday June 26 Iceland v Croatia (D) Rostov-on-Don 7pm
Wednesday June 27 South Korea v Germany (F) Kazan 3pm
Wednesday June 27 Mexico v Sweden (F) Ekaterinburg 3pm
Wednesday June 27 Serbia v Brazil (E) Moscow (Spartak) 7pm
Wednesday June 27 Switzerland v Costa Rica (E) Nizhny Novgorod 7pm
Thursday June 28 Japan v Poland (H) Volgograd 3pm
Thursday June 28 Senegal v Colombia (H) Samara 3pm
Thursday June 28 England v Belgium (G) Kaliningrad 7pm
Thursday June 28 Panama v Tunisia (G) Saransk 7pm
    
LAST 16   
Saturday June 30 1C v 2D (Match 50)Kazan 3pm
Saturday June 30 1A v 2B (Match 49)Sochi 7pm
Sunday July 1 1B v 2A (Match 51)Moscow 3pm
Sunday July 1 1D v 2C (Match 52)Nizhny Novgorod 7pm
Monday July 2 1E v 2F (Match 53)Samara 3pm
Monday July 2 1G v 2H (Match 54)Rostov-on-Don 7pm
Tuesday July 3 1F v 2E (Match 55)St Petersburg 3pm
Tuesday July 3 1H v 2G (Match 56)Moscow (Spartak) 7pm
    
QUARTER-FINALS   
Friday July 6 Winner 49 v winner 50 (57) Nizhny Novgorod 3pm
Friday July 6 Winner 53 v winner 54 (58) Kazan 7pm
Saturday July 7 Winner 55 v winner 56 (60) Samara 3pm
Saturday July 7 Winner 51 v winner 52 (59) Sochi 7pm
    
SEMI-FINALS   
Tuesday July 10 Winner 57 v winner 58 St Petersburg 7pm
Wednesday July 11 Winner 59 v winner 60 Moscow (Luzhniki) 7pm
    
THIRD-PLACE PLAY-OFF   
Saturday July 14Losers of two semi-finals St Petersburg 3pm
    
FINAL   
Sunday July 15Winners of two-semi-finals Moscow (Luzhniki) 4pm

Russia World Cup 2018 – in numbers

Teams: 32
Playing venues: 12
Matches: 65

Opening match: Luzhniki Stadium
Final: Luzhniki Stadium

Average venue capacity: 49,300 seats
Largest venue: Luzhniki Stadium (81,000 seats)
Smallest venue: Kaliningrad Stadium (35,212 seats)
Average no. of matches per venue: 5.33


Moscow

Luzhniki Stadium | Capacity: 80,000 seats | Opening: 1956

Luzhniki Stadium

Matches:

14 June 2018 18:00 – Russia vs Saudi Arabia – Group A
17 June 2018 18:00 – Germany vs Mexico – Group F
20 June 2018 15:00 – Portugal vs Morocco – Group B
26 June 2018 17:00 – Denmark vs France – Group C
1 July 2018 17:00 – 1B vs 2A – Round of 16
11 July 2018 21:00 – W59 vs W60 – Semi Final
15 July 2018 18:00 – W61 vs W62 – Final


Saint Petersburg

Saint Petersburg Stadium | Capacity: 67,000 seats | Opening: 2017

Saint Petersburg Stadium

Matches:

15 June 2018 17:00 – Morocco vs Iran – Group B
19 June 2018 21:00 – Russia vs Egypt – Group A
22 June 2018 15:00 – Brazil vs Costa Rica – Group E
26 June 2018 21:00 – Nigeria vs Argentina – Group D
3 July 2018 17:00 – 1F vs 2E – Round of 16
10 July 2018 21:00 – W57 vs W58 – Semi Final
14 July 2018 17:00 – L61 vs L62 – Third Place

Sochi

Fisht Stadium | Capacity: 48,000 seats | Opening: 2013

Fisht Stadium

Matches:

15 June 2018 21:00 – Portugal vs Spain – Group B
18 June 2018 18:00 – Belgium vs Panama – Group G
23 June 2018 18:00 – Germany vs Sweden – Group F
26 June 2018 17:00 – Australia vs Peru – Group C
30 June 2018 21:00 – 1A vs 2B – Round of 16
7 July 2018 21:00 – W51 vs W52 – Quarter Final


Ekaterinburg

Ekaterinburg Arena | Capacity: 45,000 seats | Scheduled opening: late 2017 | Status: under construction

Ekaterinburg Arena

Matches:

15 June 2018 17:00 – Egypt vs Uruguay – Group A
21 June 2018 17:00 – France vs Peru – Group C
24 June 2018 20:00 – Japan vs Senegal – Group H
27 June 2018 19:00 – Mexico vs Sweden – Group F


Kazan

Kazan Arena | Capacity: 45,000 seats | Opening: 2013

Kazan Arena

Matches:

16 June 2018 13:00 – France vs Australia – Group C
20 June 2018 21:00 – Iran vs Spain – Group B
24 June 2018 21:00 – Poland vs Colombia – Group H
27 June 2018 17:00 – Korea Republic vs Germany – Group F
30 June 2018 17:00 – 1C vs 2D – Round of 16
6 July 2018 21:00 – W53 vs W54 – Quarter Final


Nizhny Novgorod

Nizhny Novgorod Stadium | Capacity: 45,000 seats | Opening: 2017 | Status: under construction

Nizhny Novgorod Stadium

Matches:

18 June 2018 15:00 – Sweden vs Korea Republic – Group F
21 June 2018 21:00 – Argentina vs Croatia – Group D
24 June 2018 15:00 – England vs Panama – Group G
27 June 2018 21:00 – Switzerland vs Costa Rica – Group E
1 July 2018 21:00 – 1D vs 2C – Round of 16
6 July 2018 17:00 – W49 vs W50 – Quarter Final


Rostov-on-Don

Rostov Arena | Capacity: 45,000 seats | Opening: 2017 | Status: under construction

Rostov Arena

Matches:

17 June 2018 21:00 – Brazil vs Switzerland – Group E
20 June 2018 18:00 – Uruguay vs Saudi Arabia – Group A
23 June 2018 21:00 – Korea Republic vs Mexico – Group F
26 June 2018 21:00 – Iceland vs Croatia – Group D
2 July 2018 21:00 – 1G vs 2H – Round of 16


Samara

Samara Arena | Capacity: 45,000 seats | Opening: 2017 | Status: under construction

Samara Arena

Matches:

17 June 2018 16:00 – Costa Rica vs Serbia – Group E
21 June 2018 19:00 – Denmark vs Australia – Group C
25 June 2018 18:00 – Uruguay vs Russia – Group A
28 June 2018 18:00 – Senegal vs Colombia – Group H
2 July 2018 18:00 – 1E vs 2F – Round of 16
7 July 2018 18:00 – W55 vs W56 – Quarter Final


Saransk

Mordovia Arena | Capacity: 45,000 seats | Opening: 2017 | Status: under construction

Mordovia Arena

Matches:

16 June 2018 19:00 – Peru vs Denmark – Group C
19 June 2018 18:00 – Colombia vs Japan – Group H
25 June 2018 21:00 – Iran vs Portugal – Group B
28 June 2018 21:00 – Panama vs Tunisia – Group G


Volgograd

Volgograd Stadium | Capacity: 45,000 seats | Opening: 2017 | Status: under construction

Volgograd Stadium

Matches:

18 June 2018 21:00 – Tunisia vs England – Group G
22 June 2018 18:00 – Nigeria vs Iceland – Group D
25 June 2018 17:00 – Saudi Arabia vs Egypt – Group A
28 June 2018 17:00 – Japan vs Poland – Group H


Moscow

Spartak Stadium | Capacity: 42,000 seats | Opening: 2014

Spartak Stadium

Matches:

16 June 2018 16:00 – Argentina vs Iceland – Group D
19 June 2018 15:00 – Poland vs Senegal – Group H
23 June 2018 15:00 – Belgium vs Tunisia – Group B
26 June 2018 17:00 – Serbia vs Brazil – Group C
3 July 2018 21:00 – 1H vs 2G – Round of 16


Kaliningrad

Kaliningrad Stadium | Capacity: 35,212 seats | Opening: 2017 | Status: under construction

Kaliningrad Stadium

Matches:

16 June 2018 21:00 – Croatia vs Nigeria – Group D
22 June 2018 20:00 – Serbia vs Switzerland – Group E
25 June 2018 20:00 – Spain vs Morocco – Group B
28 June 2018 20:00 – England vs Belgium – Group G


History of FIFA

The Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) was founded in the rear of the headquarters of the Union Française de Sports Athlétiques at the Rue Saint Honoré 229 in Paris on 21 May 1904. The foundation act was signed by the authorised representatives of the following associations:

Present at that historic meeting were: Robert Guérin and André Espir (France); Louis Muhlinghaus and Max Kahn (Belgium); Ludvig Sylow (Denmark); Carl Anton Wilhelm Hirschman (Netherlands); Victor E Schneider (Switzerland). Sylow also represented the SBF while Spir performed the same function for the Madrid Football Club.

  • France - Union des Sociétés Françaises de Sports Athlétiques (USFSA)
  • Belgium - Union Belge des Sociétés de Sports (UBSSA)
  • Denmark - Dansk Boldspil Union (DBU)
  • Netherlands - Nederlandsche Voetbal Bond (NVB)
  • Spain - Madrid Football Club
  • Sweden - Svenska Bollspells Förbundet (SBF)
  • Switzerland - Association Suisse de Football (ASF)

When the idea of founding an international football federation began taking shape in Europe, the intention of those involved was to recognise the role of the English who had founded their Football Association back in 1863. Hirschman, secretary of the Netherlands Football Association, turned to the Football Association. Its secretary, FJ Wall, did accept the proposal but progress stalled while waiting for the Executive Committee of the Football Association, the International FA Board and the associations of Scotland, Wales and Ireland to give their opinion about the matter.

Guérin, secretary of the football department of the Union des Sociétés Françaises de Sports Athlétiques and a journalist with Le Matin newspaper, did not want to wait any longer. He contacted the national associations on the continent in writing and asked them to consider the possibility of founding an umbrella organisation.

When Belgium and France met in the first official international match in Brussels on 1 May 1904, Guérin discussed the subject with his Belgian counterpart Louis Muhlinghaus. It was now definite that the English FA, under its president Lord Kinnaird, would not be participating in the foundation of an international federation. So Guérin took the opportunity and sent out invitations to the founding assembly. The process of organising the international game had begun.

The first FIFA Statutes were laid down and the following points determined: the reciprocal and exclusive recognition of the national associations represented and attending; clubs and players were forbidden to play simultaneously for different national associations; recognition by the other associations of a player's suspension announced by an association; and the playing of matches according to the Laws of the Game of the Football Association Ltd.

Each national association had to pay an annual fee of FF50. Already then there were thoughts of staging an international competition and Article 9 stipulated that FIFA alone was entitled to take over the organisation of such an event. It was decided that these regulations would only come into force as of 1 September 1904. Moreover, the first Statutes of FIFA were only of a provisional nature, in order to simplify the acceptance of additional members. On the day of foundation, the Deutscher Fussball-Bund (German FA) sent a telegram confirming that it would adhere to these Statutes in principle.

The first FIFA Congress followed immediately and on 22 May 1904, Robert Guerin was elected as President. Victor E Schneider (Switzerland) and Carl Anton Wilhelm Hirschman (Netherlands) were made Vice-Presidents. Louis Muhlinghaus (Belgium) was appointed Secretary and Treasurer, with the assistance of Ludvig Sylow (Denmark). These pioneers were faced with an immense task because FIFA only existed on paper, as it were. Now came the real work: to give this new body shape and attract new members. In the first place, the English had to be convinced that their membership of this newly created organisation was indispensable.

On 14 April 1905, the Executive Committee of the FA recognised the national associations affiliated to FIFA and joined. This was FlFA's first big success and the credit was due Baron Edouard de Laveleye. With great personal effort, the president of the Union Belge des Sociétés de Sports Athlétiques dissipated the last misgivings of the English. The Baron became the first honorary member of FIFA.

The second FIFA Congress took place in Paris from 10 to 12 June 1905. In the meantime, the associations from Germany, Austria, Italy and Hungary had joined FIFA; Scotland, Wales and Ireland would follow England's example. There was already talk about an international competition to take place in 1906. It would consist of four groups and Switzerland would be in charge of organising the semi-finals and the final. There was a proposal to involve the best club teams and Schneider, the Swiss Vice-President, had already donated a trophy.

The FIFA Executive Committee was elected for a further year but now the difficulties were accumulating. The first international competition was a failure. Various national associations had major worries, with the French governing body divided internally. These difficulties were a heavy burden for the FIFA President who had set about his tasks with so much enthusiasm. Guerin increasingly withdrew from the sport and handed over the administration to Vice-President Schneider and Espir, his personal assistant.

All the same, FIFA could now give a sign of its strength. When the 'English Ramblers', an improvised English football club, wanted to play games on the continent without the authorisation of the FA, FIFA forbade its members from playing against this team. The FA, which like its three fellow British associations now had a good relationship with FIFA, was particularly impressed by this strict and uncompromising stance.

This was in clear evidence at the next Congress in Berne in 1906 where - with Schneider conducting negotiations in the absence of Guérin - Daniel Burley Woolfall, an Englishman, was elected the new President. Woolfall was a pragmatist and had gathered a great deal of experience on the administrative board of the FA. Under his guidance, English and continental football became more united. Moreover, he also led the push for uniformity in the Laws of the Game.

The idea of holding a major international competition was still up in the air and so the FA in England assumed the responsibility for staging a tournament that took place as part of the Olympic Games in London in 1908. Some problems arose in the organisation, which were still unsolved four years later in 1912, when the tournament was played in Stockholm. The new sport was regarded with suspicion at the Olympics and was considered as a show and not a competition. Given the amateur ethos of the Olympics, the problem of professional players also arose - a thorny problem which would be pursued in decades to follow. England won both the 1908 and 1912 tournaments.

The Congress which, in accordance with the Statutes, was to be held in different cities on an annual basis, was always presided over by President Woolfall. The will to impose uniform football rules on an international level always featured at the top of the agenda. This had a positive effect, resulting in the basic rules of the federation, which are still partly valid today and which allowed FIFA to create a solid base and develop clear guidelines.

Under the guidance of the English President, obvious progress was also made in the administration. The first official FIFA bulletin was published. It was agreed to have French as the official language. The application of the Laws of the Game, strictly established according to the English model, became compulsory. A clear definition was made of international matches - national selections and inter-club - and outsiders were forbidden to organise games for lucrative purposes.

FIFA only consisted of European Associations up until 1909. The first members from overseas joined in the following order: South Africa in 1909/10, Argentina and Chile in 1912, United States in 1913. This was the start of FlFA's intercontinental activities. The long path towards full expansion had been sketched out.

The start of World War One caused a major interruption. Who talked then about football and its mission to unite nations? And yet, the ties that had been developed were not fully broken, even if they were only maintained on a small scale. There were some international matches played, albeit organised on neutral territory. However, given the difficulties some members faced in crossing frontiers, there would be no Congress for seven years from 1914.

President Daniel Burley Woolfall died in 1918 and that FIFA did not fade out altogether was down to one man only, Carl Anton Wilhelm Hirschman. He carried out his tasks as honorary secretary from his offices in Amsterdam and carefully kept the organisation alive, maintaining correspondence with his foreign colleagues. This way, he looked after the FIFA Secretariat on his own, and at his own expense.

Hirschman had an incredible capacity for work and dedicated his life to sport in general and football in particular. A former general secretary of the Dutch Football Association, he also helped establish his national Olympic Committee. One of the founders of FIFA, he made contact with all the members at the end of the war, on the initiative of the President of the French Football Association, Jules Rimet. Hirschman actually convened an assembly in Brussels in 1919 but negotiations advanced slowly. After a long, bloody war, wounds had not yet healed. Many delegates, particularly the British, did not yet want to accept yesterday's foes.

A meeting was eventually held in Antwerp in 1920 and a new administrative Board of FIFA was elected on a provisional basis. It comprised the following: Rimet as chairman, Denmark's Louis Oestrup as deputy chairman and Hirschman as honorary secretary. The results of this election were then submitted to all affiliated associations which unanimously gave their approval by mail. This was the last time that such a procedure was employed, as the next Statutes excluded voting by mail or by mandate.

Rimet became FIFA's third President on 1 March 1921 and the game's governing body became the life task of the then 48 year-old Frenchman. He took over a federation that had been shaken by World War One and counted 20 members. The British had left in unison and neither Brazil nor Uruguay were present. Over the 33 years of his presidency, FIFA experienced an incredible upswing - and this in spite of the subsequent horrors of World War Two. One ought to talk about a 'Jules Rimet era' in view of his success in reorganising FIFA and realising the dream of a world championship. On passing on the reins of FIFA in 1954, as he opened the FIFA World Cup ™ in Switzerland, the federation counted 85 members.

Rimet was hardly an unknown. While president of France's Ligue de Football Association, he had participated in the 1914 Congress. The following proposal was ratified on that occasion: "Under the condition that the Olympic Tournament take place in accordance with the Regulations of FIFA, the latter shall recognise this as a world football championship for amateurs." FIFA had underlined its eagerness to assume responsibility for organising the Olympic Football Tournament and in the first years of Rimet's reign, it did just that.

The 1924 Olympic Football Tournament in Paris featured 24 teams and proved a great success. The British stayed away but the Americans were there and a team representing faraway Uruguay showed how football was played in South America, much to the delight of the public. Uruguay's results were astounding: 7-0 against Yugoslavia, 3-0 against the United States, 5-1 against France, 2-1 against the Netherlands. Sixty thousand spectators followed the final between Uruguay and Switzerland, which the South Americans won 3-0. Uruguay had the gold medal - and were celebrated as world champions in Montevideo.

South America's predominance was even more impressive at the Olympics in Amsterdam in 1928. Uruguay retained their gold medal at the expense of their neighbours and final opponents Argentina. It was not long before the teams were facing each in another final... for an even greater prize.

The success of the Olympic Football Tournament intensified FlFA's wish for its own world championship. Questionnaires were sent to the affiliated associations, asking whether they agreed to the organisation of a tournament and under what conditions. A special committee examined the question, with President Jules Rimet the driving force. He was aided by the untiring Secretary of the French Football Federation, Henri Delaunay.

Following a remarkable proposal by the Executive Committee, the FIFA Congress in Amsterdam on 28 May 1928 decided to stage a world championship organised by FIFA. Now, the organising country had to be chosen. Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Sweden submitted their candidatures. Right from the start, Uruguay was the favourite and not simply for its Olympic gold medal wins in 1924 and 1928 - the country was celebrating its 100th anniversary of independence in 1930 at great expense.

Moreover, its national association was willing to cover all the costs, including the travel and accommodation of the participating teams. Any possible profit would be shared, while Uruguay would take on the deficit. These arguments were decisive. The FIFA Congress in Barcelona in 1929 assigned Uruguay as first host country of the FIFA World Cup ™. The other candidates had withdrawn.

With Europe in the midst of an economic crisis, not everything went to plan during the countdown to these first finals. Participation did not only involve a long sea journey for the Europeans; the clubs would have to renounce their best players for two months. Consequently, more and more associations broke their promise to participate and it took much manoeuvring by Rimet to ensure at least four European teams - France, Belgium, Romania and Yugoslavia - joined him on the Conte Verde liner bound for Buenos Aires.

The first FIFA World Cup opened at the brand-new Estadio Centenario in Montevideo on 18 July 1930. It was the beginning of a new era in world football and the inaugural event proved a remarkable success, both in a sporting and a financial sense. Of course, the organisers were disappointed that only four European sides had participated. The anger in Montevideo was so intense in fact that four years later, world champions Uruguay became the first and only team to refuse to defend their title.

When the Congress convened in Budapest in 1930, it thanked Uruguay for staging the world championship for the first time in difficult conditions. It also noted its regret at seeing only a minimum number of teams participating from Europe.

The significance of the new tournament only increased following the setback FIFA suffered in the lead-up to the 1932 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. After failing to settle differences of opinion over the amateur status of footballers with the International Olympic Committee regarding the amateur status of football players, plans to organise the Olympic Football Tournament were abandoned.

FIFA chose Italy ahead of rival candidates Sweden to host the second FIFA World Cup and this time it took qualifying matches to arrive at the 16 finalists. Unlike in 1930 there were no groups and only knockout rounds, meaning Brazil and Argentina went home after playing just one match each. Once again, the home team prevailed, Italy winning the Final against Czechoslovakia in extra time. For the first time, the Final was transmitted on the radio.

Four years later, Rimet saw his wish fulfilled when the third FIFA World Cup took place in France, his home country. Again not everything ran according to plan: Austria had disappeared from the scene and so Sweden did not have an opponent in the first round. Uruguay still did not wish to participate and Argentina withdrew. This is why the national teams from Cuba and the Dutch East Indies came to France. This time, there was no home victory and Italy successfully defended their title.

The FIFA World Cup should have taken place for the fourth time in 1942 but the outbreak of World War Two meant otherwise. Although FIFA maintained its Zurich offices throughout the conflict, it was not until 1 July 1946 in Luxembourg that the Congress met again. Thirty-four associations were represented and they gave Rimet, who had been President for a quarter of a century already, a special Jubilee gift. From now on, the FIFA World Cup trophy would be called the Jules Rimet Cup.

As the only candidate, Brazil was chosen unanimously to host the next FIFA World Cup, to be staged in 1949 (and postponed to 1950 for time reasons). At the same time, Switzerland was given the option for 1954.

The event was celebrated with a match between Great Britain and a 'Rest of Europe XI' played at Hampden Park, Glasgow on 10 May 1947.Billed as 'The Match of the Century' by the press, it drew a crowd of 135,000 spectators and receipts amounted to £35,000. As a sign of goodwill, this sum was placed at FlFA's disposal in order to help the governing body surmount financial difficulties brought on by the war years. The British won the game 6-1.

The first post-war FIFA World Cup™ was staged in Brazil in 1950, where the hosts lost out on the title to Uruguay. For the second time, the 'Jules Rimet Cup' was bound for Montevideo.

The start of the fifth finals in Switzerland in 1954 signalled the end of Rimet's long reign. After opening the tournament in Lausanne, the 80-year-old President confirmed his retirement at the Congress in Bern on 21 June. Rimet earned a standing ovation from his fellow delegates and, moreover, became the first Honorary President. For the last time, on 4 July, the 'Father of the World Cup' presented the captain of the victorious team, West Germany's Fritz Walter, with the 'Jules Rimet Cup'.

Rodolphe William Seeldrayers was the fourth President of FIFA, stepping into the shoes of Jules Rimet whom he had assisted as Vice-President for over 25 years. In his new function, he celebrated the 50th Anniversary of FIFA, which now counted 85 members. Yet his reign was brief, curtailed by his death in October 1955.

Seeldrayers' successor was Arthur Drewry who was elected President on 9 June 1956, but had already headed FIFA for over half a year on an interim basis. He chaired the Study Committee for the new FIFA Statutes and opened the sixth FIFA World Cup in Stockholm in 1958. Brazil captured their first world title in Sweden but it would prove the only finals of Drewry's presidency. He died on 25 March 1961 aged 70.

FIFA's operations were controlled for six months by the Swiss Ernst B Thommen who, as chairman of the Organising Committee for the 1954, 1958 and 1962 FIFA World Cups, gave great service to the world governing body. Then, on 28 September 1961, Sir Stanley Rous was elected the sixth President of FIFA.

Rous was an international referee in his younger years and in the late 1930s had helped rewrite the Laws of the Game. It was to his great delight that during his term of office, England won the world crown in 1966. As President, Rous oversaw further expansion. During this post-colonial period, the number of members grew steadily with affiliation to FIFA among the first steps taken by many newly independent nations. The television transmission of the FIFA World Cup also contributed considerably towards the worldwide expansion.

As a private institution, FIFA's means and possibilities were still very much restricted as it received neither governmental subsidies nor funds from other sources. Income came strictly from profits from the FIFA World Cup and this money had to be spread out over a four-year period. It took a great deal of self-sacrifice, therefore, to maintain FIFA's good work and Rous achieved this. In recognition of his merits, he was made Honorary President in Frankfurt on 11 June 1974. On that day, the Brazilian Dr Joao Havelange took over the reins of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association.

From the moment the South American Confederation, the Confederación Sudamericana de Fútbol, presented his candidature for the FIFA Presidency in 1970, Dr João Havelange had looked for solutions to the major problems of world football. When the Brazilian was elected at the 39th Congress in 1974, he was ready to consider football not only as a competition but also to try and find new ways and means of promoting technical development worldwide.

Havelange's installation in FIFA's headquarters heralded the dawn of a new era. Previously, with survival dependent almost exclusively on FIFA World Cup™ proceeds in four-yearly intervals, the world governing body had been somewhat conservative when it came to taking decisions. In no time, Havelange transformed an administration-oriented institution into a dynamic enterprise brimming with new ideas and the will to see them through.

The actual address in Zurich, home to FIFA since 1932, did not alter but beside the Derwald Villa on the Zurichberg, which in 1974 housed a staff of just 12, a modern office building now rose housing almost 100 employees coming to grips with an ever increasing workload.

Back in 1974, FIFA was flexing its muscles in readiness for the tenth FIFA World Cup, which was very much a trial of strength between Europe with nine teams and South America with four. The ripples created by political upheavals, particularly in Africa where many former colonies had been granted independence, were beginning to be noticed on the international sports scene. At that time Africa, Asia, and CONCACAF were each still sending one selection each to the world football showpiece. For the 1982 FIFA World Cup in Spain, Havelange duly increased the table of competitors from 16 to 24 teams.

Since that decision, the unqualified success of teams that were once derided as also-rans has reinforced Havelange's notion that his policies were right. For the 1998 finals in France, the field was increased again to 32 finalists, allowing even greater participation from all the confederations.

On a political level, Havelange firmly followed the course of appeasement and service, following the principle of universality to which FIFA has committed itself. Under his leadership, the FIFA offices became the hub of sporting diplomacy. One notable example of this was when representatives from Iraq, Iran, the two Koreas, Japan and Saudi Arabia came face to face in Zurich in July 1993 to discuss the Asian final qualifying round for USA 94 in an atmosphere of friendship and peace.

Havelange had already shown his flair for taking advantage of the conciliatory potential of football at exactly the right moment. After intense diplomatic activity - the Brazilian visited every association at least once- he smoothed the way for the People's Republic of China to return to FIFA. In 1991 the two Koreas sent a joint team to the FIFA World Youth Championship in Portugal. And because of its particular situation, Israel began competing with European teams in all FIFA qualifying competitions.

Over the past 25 years football has enhanced its status as the world's leading game, reaching into other branches of society, commerce and politics. Football, more than any other factor, has enveloped whole regions, people and nations.

With approximately 200 million active players it now constitutes a substantial chunk of the leisure industry, having opened up new markets for itself and for the rest of the business world.

The potential has yet to be exhausted, especially in Asia and North America. As of mid-2007, FIFA has grown to include 208 member associations, thus making it one of the biggest and certainly the most popular sports federation in the world.

On 8 June 1998 Joseph S. Blatter was elected as successor to Dr João Havelange and became the eighth FIFA President. This victory at the 51st FIFA Ordinary Congress in Paris elevated the Swiss, who had already served FIFA in various positions for 23 years, on to the highest rung in international football.


Winners of the World Cup

Brazil have won the World Cup a record five times, with Italy hard on their heels with four wins and West Germany on three. Here is a list of all the World Cup winners along with runner-up and final score.

YearHostWinnerRunner UpScore
1930UruguayUruguayArgentina4-2
1934ItalyItalyCzechoslovakia2-1
1938FranceItalyHungary4-2
1950BrazilUruguayBrazil2-1
1954SwitzerlandWest GermanyHungary3-2
1958SwedenBrazilSweden5-2
1962ChileBrazilCzechoslovakia3-1
1966EnglandEnglandWest Germany4-2
1970MexicoBrazilItaly4-1
1974West GermanyWest GermanyNetherlands2-1
1978ArgentinaArgentinaNetherlands3-1
1982SpainItalyWest Germany3-1
1986MexicoArgentinaWest Germany3-2
1990ItalyWest GermanyArgentina1-0
1994United StatesBrazilItaly0-0 (P)
1998FranceFranceBrazil3-0
2002South Korea/JapanBrazilGermany2-0
2006GermanyItalyFrance1-1 (P)
2010South AfricaSpainNetherlands1-0 (AET)
2014BrazilGermanyArgentina1-0 (AET)

FIFA World Cup All Time Statistics

EDITIONTEAMSMATCHES PLAYEDGOALS SCOREDAVERAGE GOALSAVG. ATTENDANCE
2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil ™32641712.752,918
2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa ™32641452.349,669
2006 FIFA World Cup Germany ™32641472.352,491
2002 FIFA World Cup Korea/Japan ™32641612.542,268
1998 FIFA World Cup France ™32641712.743,517
1994 FIFA World Cup USA ™24521412.768,991
1990 FIFA World Cup Italy ™24521152.248,388
1986 FIFA World Cup Mexico ™24521322.546,039
1982 FIFA World Cup Spain ™24521462.840,571
1978 FIFA World Cup Argentina ™16381022.740,678
1974 FIFA World Cup Germany ™1638972.649,098
1970 FIFA World Cup Mexico ™1632953.050,124
1966 FIFA World Cup England ™1632892.848,847
1962 FIFA World Cup Chile ™1632892.827,911
1958 FIFA World Cup Sweden ™16351263.623,423
1954 FIFA World Cup Switzerland ™16261405.429,561
1950 FIFA World Cup Brazil ™1322884.047,511
1938 FIFA World Cup France ™1518844.720,872
1934 FIFA World Cup Italy ™1617704.121,352
1930 FIFA World Cup Uruguay ™1318703.932,808

FIFA WORLD CUP - ALL-TIME RANKINGS

RANKTEAMPTSMPWDLGSGAAV. PTSAPPS.
12271041717702211022.220
22181062020662241212.118
315683172145128771.918
414077211442131841.816
5995918122992661.71

Players

PLAYERS WITH THE MOST TOURNAMENT PARTICIPATIONS

PLAYERPARTICIPATIONSEDITIONS
51950, 1954, 1958, 1962, 1966
51982, 1986, 1990, 1994, 1998
51998, 2002, 2006, 2010, 2014
41950, 1954, 1958, 1962
41950, 1954, 1958, 1962

MATCHES WITH THE MOST GOALS

MATCHGOALS SCORED
26 JUN 1954 - 17:00 Local time
QUARTER-FINALS
La Pontaise
Lausanne
Austria
AUSTRIA
Switzerland
SWITZERLAND
FULL-TIME
7-5
 
12
05 JUN 1938 - 17:30 Local time
FIRST ROUND
Stade de la Meinau
Strasbourg
Brazil
BRAZIL
Poland
POLAND
FULL-TIME
6-5
Brazil win after extra time
11
20 JUN 1954 - 16:50 Local time
GROUP 2
St. Jakob
Basel
Hungary
HUNGARY
Germany FR
GERMANY FR
FULL-TIME
8-3
 
11
15 JUN 1982 - 21:00 Local time
GROUP 3
Nuevo Estadio
Elche
Hungary
HUNGARY
El Salvador
EL SALVADOR
FULL-TIME
10-1
 
11
08 JUN 1958 - 19:00 Local time
GROUP 2
Idrottsparken
NorrköPing
France
FRANCE
Paraguay
PARAGUAY
FULL-TIME
7-3
 
10
19 JUL 1930 - 15:00 Local time
GROUP 1
Estadio Centenario
Montevideo
Argentina
ARGENTINA
Mexico
MEXICO
FULL-TIME
6-3
 
9
17 JUN 1954 - 18:00 Local time
GROUP 2
Hardturm
Zurich
Hungary
HUNGARY
Korea Republic
KOREA REPUBLIC
FULL-TIME
9-0
 
9
23 JUN 1954 - 18:00 Local time
GROUP 2
Hardturm
Zurich
Germany FR
GERMANY FR
Turkey
TURKEY
FULL-TIME
7-2
 
9
28 JUN 1958 - 17:00 Local time
MATCH FOR THIRD PLACE
Nya Ullevi
Gothenburg
France
FRANCE
Germany FR
GERMANY FR
FULL-TIME
6-3
 
9
18 JUN 1974 - 19:30 Local time
GROUP 2
Parkstadion
Gelsenkirchen
Yugoslavia
YUGOSLAVIA
Zaire
ZAIRE
FULL-TIME
9-0
 
9

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Golf Masters 2018

The 2018 Masters Tournament will be the 82nd edition of the Masters Tournament and the first of golf's four major championships to be held in 2018. It is scheduled for April 5–8 at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia.

The Masters has the smallest field of the four major championships. Officially, the Masters remains an invitation event, but there is a set of qualifying criteria that determines who is included in the field.

Each player is classified according to the first category by which he qualified, with other categories in which he qualified shown in parentheses. Dates when a qualifying category will be completely determined are indicated in italics.

Golfers who qualify solely based on their performance in amateur tournaments (categories 6–10) must remain amateurs on the starting day of the tournament to be eligible to play.


2018 US Masters - Outright Winner Odds

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The Course

Par 4 445 Yards

The slight dogleg right is not the easiest tee shot golfers will face. Carrying the fairway bunker will require a drive of 300 yards, and shorter hitters will face an uphill shot to the undulating green.  It's always interesting when you're betting on this specific hole!

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Hole story

No. 1 was first named Cherokee Rose for Georgia's state flower.

Significant changes since opening

  • Fairway bunker adjusted, 2006
  • Trees added to left side of fairway, 2006
  • Tee moved back 15-20 yards, 2006
  • Back of tee reduced 7 yards and scorecard changed to 445 yards, 2009

About the plant

  • Evergreen, can be pruned into a tree or bush; Tiny white fragrant flowers bloom October to March.
  • Spot it on the course
  • It's to the right of the fairway and rear of the green on No. 1.

Where and how the plant grows

  • Native to eastern Asia
  • Grows slowly but can reach 30 feet high and 20 feet wide
  • Full to partial sun -
  • Acidic, well-drained soil
  • Moderately drought tolerant, once established - Propagation by cuttings

 

Hole No. 2 - Pink Dogwood

Par 5 575 yards

A slight draw off the tee sets up a chance to reach the par-5 green in two. Bunkers in front of the green often come into play.

Hole story

Before it was Pink Dogwood, No. 2 was named Woodbine.

Significant changes since opening

  • Fairway bunker shifted to right, 1999
  • Tee moved back 20-25 yards, 1999

About the plant

  • Deciduous, flowering tree
  • Pink, biscuit-shaped blossoms from March to May
  • Red berries in fall are a favorite of songbirds.

Where and how the plant grows

  • Can grow 20 to 40 feet high and wide
  • Shade tolerant
  • Moist to dry, well-drained, acidic soil
  • Moderately drought tolerant
  • Propagation from seeds
  • Sensitive to pests and diseases

 


No. 3 - Flowering Peach

Par 4 350 yards

Most players opt for position off the tee with a long iron or a fairway wood. The small green, which slopes from right to left, is not entirely visible from the fairway.

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Hole story

Significant changes since opening

  • Fairway bunker complex built, 1982

About the plant

  • Deciduous, flowering tree
  • Single, semidouble and double blooms in late March to early April
  • 11/2-inch flowers in shades of white, pink and red appear before new leaves unfold

Where and how the plant grows

  • Native to China
  • Can grow 25 feet high and wide
  • Full sun
  • Well-drained, moist, slightly acidic soil; nitrogen is essential
  • Moderately drought tolerant
  • Susceptible to damage by late spring frosts or extreme winters
  • Propagation by cuttings or grafting

Par 3 240 yards

This tough par-3 requires a long-iron shot to the green, which is guarded by a pair of bunkers.

Hole story

No. 4 once was named Palm.

Significant changes since opening

  • Tee moved back 30-35 yards for 2006

About the plant

  • Deciduous, flowering tree
  • Produces fragrant single and semi double blooms from late March to early April - 3/4- to 1-inch flowers range from light pink to deep rose
  • Colorful 1-inch apples in summer to fall

Where and how the plant grows

  • Can grow 25 to 30 feet tall, depending on variety
  • Very adaptable
  • Full sun
  • Well-drained soil
  • Moderately drought tolerant
  • Propagation by seed, cuttings or grafting
  • Varieties produced from hybridizing

Par 4 455 yards

The deep fairway bunkers on the left require a carry of 315 yards around the dogleg. Large humps in the green make it a challenging putting surface.

Native to Southeastern U.S.; state tree of Mississippi; state flower of Louisiana .

Significant changes since opening

  • Fairway bunkers extended about 80 yards toward the green, 2003.

About the plant

  • Evergreen tree with 5- to 8-inch-long leathery oblong leaves
  • Produces fragrant 10-inch white blooms in May and June
  • Flowers are followed by cone-shaped fruit that yields small berries in late summer.

Where and how the plant grows

  • All varieties can grow 60 to 80 feet tall and 30 to 40 feet wide.
  • Full sun to partial shade
  • Slightly acidic, well-drained soil
  • Moderately drought tolerant
  • Propagation by cuttings, grafting or seed

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Par 3 180 yards

This downhill par-3 usually requires no more than a medium iron to the large, undulating green. Put the ball on the wrong part of the green, however, and a three-putt is likely.

Hole story

Significant changes since opening

  • Pond filled in at front of green, 1959

About the plant

  • Deciduous, flowering tree
  • Coniferous evergreen shrub or tree
  • Low-maintenance plant with fragrant blue-green to dark green foliage
  • Junipers are dioecious (take on male or female form)
  • In late summer, female trees produce berries and flowers

Where and how the plant grows

  • Native to North America
  • Can grow 40 to 50 feet high and 10 to 20 feet wide
  • Full sun to partial shade
  • Well-drained, alkaline or acidic soil
  • Little need for water once established
  • Propagation from seeds

Par 4 450 yards

The new tee installed in 2002 puts a driver back into most players hands. The hole features a narrow fairway to an elevated, well-bunkered green.

 Hole story

Before it was Pampas, No. 7 was named Cedar.

Significant changes since opening

  • Green relocated and bunkers added, 1938
  • Tee moved back 35-40 yards, 2006
  • Trees added to both sides of fairway, 2006
  • Green rebuilt for possible right-rear pin position, 2006

About the plant

  • Evergreen ornamental grass with sharply serrated leaves
  • In late summer, yields silver-white plumes that stay until winter

Where and how the plant grows

  • Native to Argentina
  • Fast-growing clumps can be 8 to 10 feet high and wide
  • Space 6 to 8 feet apart in mass plantings; grows larger than expected
  • Full sun
  • Clay to sand, alkaline to acidic soil
  • High drought tolerance
  • Propagation by division

 No. 8 Yellow - Jasmine

Par 5 570 yards

A large fairway bunker makes this par-5 difficult to reach in two shots. A blind uphill shot awaits those who are tempted to go for it in two.

 Hole story

Significant changes since opening

  • Tee moved back 15-20 yards and shifted 10 yards to golfer's right, 2002
  • Fairway bunker reshaped and nearly doubled in size, 2002

About the plant

  • Flowering semi-evergreen vine
  • Produces 11/2-inch bright yellow trumpet flowers during first warm period in February; can bloom briefly in early fall

Where and how the plant grows

  • Native to Southeastern U.S.; state flower of South Carolina
  • Slow-growing; can climb to 20 feet high
  • Sun to partial shade
  • Moist soil
  • High drought tolerance
  • Propagation by seeds or cuttings
  • "Pride of Augusta" is a double-flowering form

Par 4 460 yards

The severely sloped green makes par a challenge. Accuracy off the tee is required, and approach shots that are short of the target often roll off the green.

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Hole story

Significant changes since opening

  • Tee moved back 25-30 yards, 2002

About the plant

  • Flowering evergreen tree - Fast-growing, with dense foliage
  • Produces small white to cream flowers in fragrant 2-inch clusters from February to April

Where and how the plant grows

  • Native from North Carolina to Texas
  • Can grow 25 to 40 feet high and 15 to 25 feet wide
  • Shade tolerant
  • Moist, well-drained soil
  • High drought tolerance, once established
  • Propagation by seeds or cuttings

 


Par 4 495 yards

Historically the toughest hole at Augusta National, the tee shot requires a hard hook to gain extra distance. Drives that go too far right will leave a long second shot; if they go too far left, trees are a problem.

Hole story

Significant changes since opening

  • Green relocated from fairway bottom to current location, 1937
  • Tee moved back 5-10 yards and moved five yards to the golfer's left, 2002

About the plant

  • Flowering evergreen shrub, can be pruned into a tree
  • Yields 2- to 5-inch single to double flowers in white, pink, red and variegated from late fall to spring

Where and how the plant grows

  • Native to Asia
  • Needs room to grow; can reach 6 to 15 feet high and 5 to 10 feet wide
  • Partial shade
  • Acidic, moist soil
  • Drought tolerant once established
  • Propagation by seeds or cuttings

 


Par 4 505 yards

The start of Amen Corner is the most difficult hole in recent years because of its added length. A slight fade off the tee is necessary to reach the fairway. The greenside pond is more of a factor, because players have longer shots into the green.

Hole story

Significant changes since opening

  • Tee relocated and pond left of green built, 1950
  • Green, pond and bunker complex adjusted, 1999
  • Tee moved back 10-15 yards, 2006
  • Trees added to right side of fairway, 2004 and 2006
  • Dogwoods added to wooded area on left, 2006
  • Fairway shifted to left, 2006
  • Several trees removed on right side of fairway and fairway widened, 2008

About the plant

  • Deciduous flowering tree
  • Blooms late March to early April; 3- to 4-inch white flowers with four bracts surrounding tiny yellowish flowers clustered in center
  • In fall, produces red berries and brilliant red leaves

Where and how the plant grows

  • Virginia's state tree; state flower of North Carolina
  • Grows 20 to 40 feet high and 25 to 30 feet wide
  • Shade
  • Rich, acidic, moist to dry soil
  • Moderately drought tolerant
  • Propagation by seeds
  • Planting not recommended in heavy, wet soil, unless it's on a raised bed

 


Par 3 155 yards

The shortest hole is a bear to play because of swirling winds. Its usually a medium- or short-iron shot to a narrow green that is protected by Raes Creek in front and azaleas behind.

Hole story

Before it was Golden Bell, No. 12 was named Three Pines.

Significant changes since opening

  • None

About the plant

  • Deciduous flowering shrub
  • Blooms at first hint of spring with 3/4-inch golden yellow blooms followed by dark green foliage

Where and how the plant grows

  • Native to China
  • Grows to 8 feet
  • Sun
  • Moist, well-drained, rich, loose organic soil
  • High drought tolerance
  • Propagation by cuttings
  • Extremely disease resistant

 


Par 5 510 yards

The classic risk-reward hole became more challenging with a new tee added in 2002. A slight draw is required to get into position for the second shot to the par-5, but a tributary of the creek catches shots that come up short.

Hole story

Significant changes since opening

  • Tee moved back 20-25 yards, 2002

About the plant

  • Flowering shrub - Hundreds of varieties (deciduous and evergreen); plant assortment to extend floral display from February to October
  • Colors vary; tubular flowers with long stamens; evergreens are most colorful Spot it on the course

Where and how the plant grows

  • Georgia's native azalea has yellow flowers.
  • Size varies; can grow up to 8 feet high and 10 feet wide
  • Filtered shade, morning sun
  • Acidic, well-drained soil
  • Low drought tolerance - Propagation by seed or cuttings
  • Plant in fall; prune after blooming

Par 4 440 yards

It's the only hole on the course without a bunker, but a severe green provides plenty of problems. Players often have to hit driver instead of a 3-wood, and a sloping fairway kicks shots into trouble on the right. Large undulations on the green make this the trickiest to putt.

Hole story

No. 14 was once named Spanish Dagger.

Significant changes since opening

  • Bunker on right side of fairway landing area removed, 1952
  • Tee moved back 30-35 yards, 2002

About the plant

  • Evergreen tree
  • Fast-growing, exotic tree with bright green, pointed needles
  • Produces ornamental cones - Despite being an evergreen, it sheds some branches in fall

Where and how the plant grows

  • Native to China
  • Grows 30 to 75 feet tall and 10 to 30 feet wide
  • Sun to partial shade
  • Acidic, moist, well-drained soil
  • Extremely high drought tolerance
  • Propagation by cuttings

Par 5 530 yards

Changes made in the last decade make reaching this par-5 hole in two shots a challenge, but plenty of birdies will be had. A pond guards the green in front, but those who lay up face a hard shot from a downhill lie.

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Hole story

Significant changes since opening

  • Pond in front of green enlarged, 1961
  • Tee moved back 25-30 yards, 2006
  • Tee shifted about 20 yards to golfer's left, 2006

About the plant

  • Large, thorny evergreen shrub is a member of the rose family.
  • Creamy white April blooms are small and plain but profuse.
  • Yields thick clusters of orange berries in summer to early winter Spot it on the course.

Where and how the plant grows

  • Grows fast; can reach 8 to 12 feet high
  • Full sun
  • Well-drained soil
  • High drought tolerance
  • Propagation by cuttings
  • Plant in low-traffic area to avoid contact with thorns.

Par 3 170 yards

This par-3 requires anything from a short- to medium-iron shot. The green is the holes main defense; being below the hole is a must. The back bunker and a pond on the left also pose hazards.

Hole story

Significant changes since opening

  • Stream in front of green transformed into a pond, 1947

About the plant

  • Deciduous flowering tree
  • Blooms March to May; clusters of small orchid-pink blooms before new heart-shaped leaves appear; followed by long seed pods
  • Called Judas tree based on myth that Judas Iscariot hanged himself on the related Cercis siliquastrum

Where and how the plant grows

  • Native to Eastern U.S.
  • Grows 20 to 30 feet high and 15 to 25 feet wide
  • Full sun to shade (in Southern zones)
  • Moist, well-drained, fertile soil
  • High drought tolerance
  • Propagation by seed

Par 4 440 yards

For most players it's a short-iron second shot into a rock-hard green.

Hole story

Significant changes since opening

  • Tee moved back 10-15 yards, 2006

About the plant

  • Old-fashioned, tough evergreen shrub with fernlike foliage
  • Blooms April to May; large clusters of small, creamy flowers
  • In winter, yields clusters of brilliant red berries

Where and how the plant grows

  • Grows 6 to 8 feet high and 2 to 3 feet wide
  • Sun to shade
  • Moist, well-drained soil
  • High drought tolerance
  • Propagation by seed or division

Par 4 465 yards

The closing hole has become a 465-yard challenge with the extension of the tee in 2002. An accurate drive is a must, and an expanded bunker complex requires a clout of 335 yards to carry. Trees to the left of the bunkers prevent a bailout on that side, and the elevated green is guarded by bunkers.

Hole story

Significant changes since opening

  • Double bunker constructed left of fairway landing area, 1967
  • Tee moved back 55-60 yards and moved to the golfer's right five yards, 2002
  • Bunker complex adjusted, 2002

About the plant

  • Deciduous, flowering tree
  • Dioecious evergreen tree with spiny, dull green leaves
  • From March to June, male and female bear inconspicuous green or white flowers.
  • Female yields bright red poisonous berries in winter, if male is also present.

Where and how the plant grows

  • Grows to 35 to 50 feet high and 15 to 25 feet wide
  • Shade tolerant
  • Moist, well-drained, acidic, sandy soil
  • High drought tolerance
  • Propagation by cuttings

Masters History

A look at how The Masters began...

masters golf

Newspaper headlines were full of big names in the spring of 1934.

President Roosevelt was busy trying to prevent an auto strike. German Chancellor Adolf Hitler was working on a plan to increase Germany’s population. Clark Gable attended the Academy Awards dinner, but Katherine Hepburn and Charles Laughton declined to attend.

On the sports pages, Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig were still belting spring training home runs for the New York Yankees.

In Augusta, another big name was dominating the headlines.

Robert T. Jones Jr (Bob to his friends) was making his return to competitive golf. The venue was Augusta National Golf Club, and the setting was the first Augusta National Invitation Tournament.

At 10:35 a.m. on March 22, 1934, Jones struck his tee shot on what is now the 10th hole at Augusta National.

Jones gathered himself and, with playing partner Paul Runyan and their caddies in tow, strode down the fairway.

For Jones, much more was at stake than his return to competition. It was about the club he co-founded, Augusta National, and a tournament, the Masters, that would prove to be his lasting gift to the game.

Jones’ journey from the 11th green at Merion Cricket Club on Sept. 27, 1930 – where he closed out Eugene Homans to win the U.S. Amateur and complete the Grand Slam – to Augusta 3½ years later is an interesting one.

Consider that Jones had not seen Fruitland Nurseries, the site where Augusta National was built, until after his Grand Slam.

Consider that Jones and Clifford Roberts, who shared a vision for a private golf club and an annual tournament that would celebrate Jones and his friends, were trying to raise money for their venture at the height of the Great Depression.

“Most golf courses during the Depression were folding,” said Sid Matthew, an attorney and historian. “What a tremendous challenge it was for them to build. And then to make it popular.”

 

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Jones had been plotting his retirement for some time, but it still came as a shock to the public when he announced it in late 1930. After all, he was only 28.

The pressure of competing in major championship events took a toll on Jones. He was the prohibitive favorite in every event, and he yearned for the day when he could enjoy a game of golf with friends and not be surrounded by thousands of fans.

So he and Roberts set off to build his dream course. But he also had several other projects he was busy with.

Jones went to Hollywood in 1931 and made the highly popular film series How I Play Golf. He also had signed on with sporting goods manufacturer Spalding during this time and, according to Matthew, was partly responsible for such innovations as registering your club specifications and developing a “matched” set of clubs.

robert jones

The legendary Bobby Jones in action

Jones went back to California in 1933 to do a follow-up series of instructional films, and he also did quite a bit of writing as an associate editor for The American Golfer, a magazine.

He also spent time following his friends in championship events around the country.

On July 15, 1931, The Augusta Chronicle trumpeted the news that Jones had picked Augusta for his new course.

“Bobby Jones to Build His Ideal Golf Course on Berckmans’ Place” was the large headline that accompanied a story from O.B. Keeler, an Atlanta sportswriter who was Jones’ friend and biographer.

Remarkably, course construction took less than two years. The course opened for limited play in December 1932, and the formal opening was a month later.

Getting members to join was more of a challenge, but Jones and Roberts persevered.

The final step was to stage a tournament. Initially, they wanted to bring the U.S. Open to their course, but that didn’t happen for a number of reasons. So Jones and Roberts decided to hold their own annual event.

When Jones stepped to the tee for the first round in 1934, he was still the man to beat. At least he was in the minds of the press and the public.

“It’s the Field Against Bobby” read a headline in The Chronicle’s edition March 22, 1934.

“It will be a matter of stepping back under heavy pressure for the first time since 1930,” Grantland Rice wrote in a preview of the first tournament for The American Golfer. “No one can say in advance how the nerve strain will affect him, what his mental attitude will be against the keen blades of so many stars, all after his scalp.”

In reality, no one knew what to expect from Jones. He had shot 1-under-par 71 in a practice round, and a few weeks before the tournament he had fired an impressive 65.

Whether Jones would even play was up for debate. According to the club, he wanted to serve as an official and preferred not to play. But the membership prevailed upon him to join the field.

“The final argument that persuaded Bob to agree to play, or so he said, was one I advanced, to the effect that he simply could not invite his golfing friends to play on his course and then decline to play with them,” Roberts wrote in his book, The Story of the Augusta National Golf Club.

Jones drew a crowd – The Chronicle reported that 900 automobiles representing 38 states and Canada passed through the entrance – but he didn’t thrill the gallery with his round of 76. The score left him in the middle of the pack and six shots behind a trio of leaders, including eventual winner Horton Smith.

The culprit, according to Keeler’s account the next day, was Jones’ putting. He required 35 putts, far more than he needed during his prime. His play off the tee and with the longer clubs was fine, according to Keeler.

Jones “smacked a spoon” onto the green at the par-5 fourth (now 13) and two-putted for a birdie. At the 11th (now 2), he “hit a brassie shot like a ruled line to the distant green, seven feet from the pin – and nearly took three putts.”

Short-game woes kept Jones from being a threat. He improved in the second round, shooting 2-over 74, but was eight strokes behind Smith.

Paired with Walter Hagen for the third round, Jones shot even-par 72 but lost the head-to-head battle to Hagen’s 70. The headline in The Chronicle read, “Jones Surrenders Final Chance.”

In the final round, Jones posted another 72 to finish the tournament at 6-over 294, 10 shots behind Smith. The tie for 13th would be his best showing in 12 Masters appearances.

Smith had the banner headline, but the newspapers played up Jones saying he would play in his tournament the next year.

How did Jones view his performance?

“I think in one word: relieved,” said Matthew, the historian. “Another word: proud. That the debut of his course drew what should have been the expected rave reviews from those who knew the difference between an inspiring golf course and one that was challenging to play.”

A tournament was born.

“I think Jones was satisfied he had pulled off what he had intended to pull off,” Matthew said. “And then he could go hide for a while.”


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The 1930s

Bobby Jones builds his dream course, Augusta National Golf Club, and the first Masters is played in 1934. Gene Sarazen helps put the tournament on the map on the map with his double eagle, and playoff win, in 1935.

1931 - Construction Begins

Tournament co-founders Bobby Jones and Clifford Roberts decide to buy the old Fruitland property in Augusta, Ga., for $70,000. Dr. Alister MacKenzie is selected to help Jones design the course, and construction of Augusta National Golf Club begins in the summer.

1934 - The First Masters

The inaugural Augusta National Invitation Tournament (named the Masters Tournament in 1939) is played at Augusta National Golf Club. Horton Smith beats Craig Wood by a stroke, and becomes the first Masters champion. His share of the purse is $1,500.

1935 - Holes Reversed

The holes are reversed before the tournament, making the front nine the "second nine."

1935 - Shot Heard ‘Round the World

Gene Sarazen helps put the tournament on the map with his rare double eagle, known as the “shot heard ‘round the world.” Sarazen wins a 36-hole playoff the next day.

1936 - First Two-Time Champion

Horton Smith edges Craig Wood by a stroke to become the first two-time Masters champion. The rain-delayed tournament started on a Friday and ended on a Monday.

1937 - Lord Byron’s Charge

Byron Nelson became part of Masters lore thanks to his charge in the final round. Nelson trailed Ralph Guldahl but made up six strokes at Nos. 12 and 13 with a birdie and eagle. Guldahl, meanwhile, played the two holes in 5-6, and Nelson cruised to his first major victory.

1938 - Weather Delays Start

Henry Picard had to battle the field and the elements to earn his Masters victory in 1938. Inclement weather pushed the start of the tournament back to Saturday, and 36 holes were played Sunday.

1939 - Guldahl breaks through

Ralph Guldahl didn't want to be a Masters bridesmaid for the third time. Guldahl shot 3-under-par 33 on the final nine holes to win by a stroke, and his total of 279 would not be eclipsed until 1953. The tournament was officially named the Masters.

The 1940s

World War II interrupts play for three years, but not before Byron Nelson wins his second Masters in a memorable duel against Ben Hogan. Sam Snead, in 1949, is the first winner to receive a green coat.

1942 - Nelson's Playoff Win

In a memorable Monday playoff, just the second in the brief history of the tournament, Byron Nelson wins his second Masters. He beats boyhood friend and rival Ben Hogan for the win.

1943-1945 - The War Years

The Masters Tournament is not played during the years 1943, 1944 and 1945 because of World War II. To help with the war effort, turkey and cattle are raised on the Augusta National grounds.

1946 - First Major Upset

The Masters Tournament returns after a three-year hiatus. Herman Keiser gives the tournament its first major upset when he beats Ben Hogan by a stroke.

1947 - First sub-par rounds

Four sub-par rounds earned Jimmy Demaret a spot in the Masters record book as the first golfer to accomplish that feat. This is Demaret's second Masters win.

1948 - Ike Likes Augusta

Dwight D. Eisenhower, war hero and future president, becomes an Augusta National Golf Club member in 1948.

1949 - First Green Jacket Presented

Sam Snead wins the Masters by three strokes and receives a green jacket, starting a tradition that continues to this day. Snead's share of the purse is $2,500.

The 1950s

Dwight D. Eisenhower becomes an influential member, Jimmy Demaret becomes the first three-time champion, tournament TV broadcasts begin and "Amen Corner" is named.

1950 - First Three-Time Winner

Jimmy Demaret becomes the first three-time Masters champion after final-round leader Jim Ferrier bogeyed five of the final six holes.

1953 - Ike's Cabin Built

After Augusta National Golf Club member Dwight D. Eisenhower is elected president in 1952, members build a cabin for the President, his wife, Mamie, and his Secret Service protection. Known as the Eisenhower Cabin, or Ike's Cabin, it is near the 10th tee at Augusta National.

1954 - Snead Garners Third Win

A memorable duel between Sam Snead and Ben Hogan was almost upstaged by amateur Billy Joe Patton. Snead and Hogan wound up tied after 72 holes at 1-over-par 289, and Patton finished one shot behind them. In the playoff the next day, the two men battled but Snead prevailed by one shot, 70-71, for his third and final Masters win.

1956 - First TV Broadcast

CBS broadcasts the third and fourth rounds of the Masters, the first time the tournament is televised. Cameras provide coverage of holes 15 through 18. Jack Burke Jr. rallies from eight shots behind to beat amateur Ken Venturi.

1958 - Amen Corner Named

Herbert Warren Wind, golf writer for Sports Illustrated, uses the term "Amen Corner" to describe the action at golf holes Nos. 11, 12 and 13. The name is now part of Masters history. Arnold Palmer wins his first Masters. His share of the purse is $11,250.

The 1960s

Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus each win at Augusta National three times. Along with Gary Player, the first international winner, the "Big Three" dominate professional golf. With the tournament growing in popularity, attendance limitations are instituted for the first time.

1960 - First Par-3 Contest

The first Par-3 Contest is played on the Wednesday before the 1960 Masters. Sam Snead wins the contest, which is played on a short course designed by George Cobb and Clifford Roberts.

1960 - Palmer Wins Second Masters

Arnold Palmer rallies in spectacular fashion with birdies on his final two holes to win his second Masters.

1961 - First Foreign Player Win

South African Gary Player becomes the first foreign player to wear the green coat, defeating Arnold Palmer and amateur Charles Coe. Player's share of the purse is $20,000.

1963 - First Honorary Starters

The tradition of having honorary starters begins this year. Jock Hutchison and Fred McLeod hit their ceremonial shots from the first tee before the first round of the Masters.

1963 - Youngest Masters Winner

Jack Nicklaus, at age 23, is the youngest player to win the Masters.

1964 - First Four-Time Winner

Arnold Palmer, who rallied in spectacular fashion, became the first golfer to win the Masters Tournament four times.

1965 – Nicklaus sets 72-hole record

Jack Nicklaus shattered the 72-hole scoring record with a total of 271 in winning his second green jacket. His score of 64 in the third round ties the course record.

1966 - First Back-To-Back Win

Defending champion Jack Nicklaus becomes the first player to achieve back-to-back wins at the Masters. He receives his third green jacket.

1968 - Scorecard Error

Argentina's Roberto De Vicenzo was poised to battle Bob Goalby in an 18-hole playoff when he got the sad news that he had signed an incorrect scorecard. Goalby is ruled the winner.

 

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The 1970s

With a pair of wins, Jack Nicklaus overtakes Arnold Palmer for most Masters victories with five. Tournament co-founders Bobby Jones and Clifford Roberts pass away. Fuzzy Zoeller wins the first sudden-death playoff in 1979.

1971 - Bobby Jones Dies

Bobby Jones, Masters Tournament co-founder, dies on Dec. 18, 1971. He is buried at Atlanta's Oakland Cemetery where thousands of fans visit his gravesite every year and leave items such as golf balls, clubs and golf tees.

1975 - Nicklaus Makes History

On the 18th hole, Johnny Miller and Tom Weiskopf had chances to send the tournament to a playoff, but each missed from close range, securing a record fifth green jacket for Jack Nicklaus.

1979 - First Sudden-Death Playoff

Fuzzy Zoeller survives the first sudden-death playoff at the Masters against Ed Sneed and Tom Watson. He joins Horton Smith and Gene Sarazen as the only men to win in their first try at Augusta National.

The 1980s

Seve Ballesteros spearheads the European invasion - five Masters are won by golfers from that continent - but they can’t stave off Jack Nicklaus’ charge in 1986 to become the oldest winner.

1980 - First European Win

Seve Ballesteros, a 23-year-old Spaniard, supplanted Jack Nicklaus as the youngest champion. He also became the second international champion and the first from Europe to don a green jacket.

1981 - Bentgrass Arrives

Augusta National Golf Club switches its greens from bermuda grass to bentgrass. The Par-3 Course made the switch in 1978.

1981 - Watson's Second Jacket

Tom Watson shoots 1-under 71 for a two-shot win over Jack Nicklaus and Johnny Miller for his second Masters win and fifth major title. Watson's share of the purse is $60,000.

1984 - Crenshaw's Consecutive Birdies

Ben Crenshaw's three consecutive birdies, including a memorable 60-foot birdie putt on the 10th hole, takes him to his first green jacket. He tops Tom Watson by two shots for the win.

1986 - One For The Ages

In the final round, 46-year-old Jack Nicklaus makes his charge with a 30 on the final nine and becomes the oldest player to win the Masters. He collects his sixth green jacket, also a tournament record. Nicklaus' share of the purse is $144,000.

1987 - Augusta Native Wins

Larry Mize's spectacular 140-foot chip shot, during a sudden-death playoff with Seve Ballesteros and Greg Norman, gives the Augusta native the win.

The 1990s

Nick Faldo and other Europeans continue to excel, but the Masters ushers in a new era in 1997 when Tiger Woods becomes the youngest champion. He also breaks numerous records, including the 72-hole scoring record.

1990 - Faldo Defends Title

Nick Faldo of England becomes the second Masters winner to successfully defend his title. Faldo beat Raymond Floyd, the 1976 winner, in a sudden-death playoff. Faldo's share of the purse is $225,000.

1991 - Woosnam Wins

Ian Woosnam, of Wales, got off to a slow start with 72 but roared into contention with a second-round 66. Woosnam, Tom Watson and Spain's Jose Maria Olazabal all came to the final hole tied for the lead. Mistakes by Watson and Olazabal allow Woosnam to sink his final putt for the win.

1992 - A Green Jacket For Couples

Final-round leader Fred Couples hit the bank on the far side of Rae’s Creek on the 12th hole but the ball, defying gravity, did not roll back into the water. From there, Couples chipped up close to save par and went on to win by two strokes over close friend and mentor Raymond Floyd. Couples' share of the purse is $270,000.

1993 - Langer's Second Win

Bernhard Langer of Germany wins his second green jacket and becomes the 12th golfer with multiple victories. The trend of foreign dominance at the Masters continues. Five of the six winners from 1988-93 came from outside the United States.

1994 - European Takes Title Back

Spaniard Jose Maria Olazabal joined countryman Seve Ballesteros as a Masters champion with his win in 1994, extending Europe's dominance at Augusta National Golf Club.

1995 - Ben's Emotional Win

Famed golf instructor Harvey Penick, who helped Ben Crenshaw when he had swing problems, had died the previous Sunday. With memories of Penick in his head, Crenshaw went out and shot 70-67-69-68, beating Davis Love III by a stroke for his second Masters. Crenshaw's share of the purse is $360,000.

1996 - Faldo's Third Green Jacket

This year is known not only for Nick Faldo's win, but also for Greg Norman's collapse. Faldo was six strokes behind Norman in the final round. Norman's struggles on the back nine allowed Faldo to win by five strokes. Nick Faldo joins Gary Player, Sam Snead and Jimmy Demaret as three-time Masters winners. Faldo's share of the purse is $450,000.

1997 - Tiger's Historic Win

With a record-shattering performance, Tiger Woods becomes the first minority golfer to win the Masters. Woods, 21, is also the youngest champion and earned a tournament record 18-under-par with a record 12-shot victory.

1998 - Lucky 15 for O'Meara

Mark O'Meara birdied the final two holes, something only two other golfers in Masters Tournament history had accomplished, to win by a shot over Fred Couples and David Duval. The win came in his 15th try at the Augusta National. No one had ever played in that many Masters and then won the title. O'Meara's share of the purse is $576,000.

The 2000s

Tiger Woods adds to his resume with three more wins, and also becomes the third back-to-back champion. Chairman Billy Payne ushers in a new era of leadership with a focus on growing the game through technology and creating a new tournament in Asia.

2000 - HDTV Broadcasts Begin

The Masters is the first golf tournament to be broadcast live in HDTV on network television.

2000 - A First For Singh

Vijay Singh of Fiji played 22 holes in three under par Sunday for his victory at Augusta National.

2001 - Woods' Grand Slam

Tiger Woods completed his version of the Grand Slam with a two-stroke Masters victory, his second win at Augusta. He is now the only golfer in history to hold the four major championship titles at the same time. Woods' share of the purse is $1,008,000.

2002 - Woods' Back-To-Back Win

Tiger Woods makes it look easy, winning back-to-back Masters and earns his third green jacket. He joins Jack Nicklaus and Nick Faldo as the only golfers with consecutive wins at the Masters. Woods' winning share of the purse is $1,080,000.

2003 - First Canadian Champion

Mike Weir became the first Canadian to wear a green jacket, and the first left-hander in 40 years to win a major, after the first sudden-death Masters playoff in 13 years.

2004 - Mickelson Wins A Major

Phil Mickelson, the man known as the best golfer never to win a major, rolled in an 18-foot birdie putt to win the 68th Masters Tournament by a shot. Mickelson had finished second in three major championships and was third in five others, including the past three Masters.

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2005 - Woods Makes It Four

Tiger Woods added a fourth green jacket to his Masters collection, but this one didn't come easy. For the first time in Masters history, the playoff started on No. 18. Woods beat Chris DiMarco by a stroke to tie for second place with Arnold Palmer for most Masters victories; Jack Nicklaus has six. His share of the purse is $1,260,000.

2006 - Another Major Win

Phil Mickelson's second Masters victory is his third major championship in nine starts, and second in a row after August's PGA Championship. He defeated runner-up Tim Clark by two-strokes. Before winning the 2004 Masters, Mickelson had been winless in 46 majors.

2007 - Fifth Toughest Masters

Zach Johnson remained calm to win the highest-scoring Masters Tournament in 51 years. He tied the tournament record for high winning score at 1-over 289. He also set a record for a Masters champion with 16 bogeys. The high winning score was understandable; this was the fifth toughest Masters on record. His share of the purse is $1,305,000.

2008 - Immelman Earns Jacket

Trevor Immelman of South Africa beats Tiger Woods by three shots in the final round. Immelman finishes at 8-under 280, nine shots lower than last year's winning total. At age 28, he is the youngest Masters champion since Woods won his second Masters in 2001 at age 25.

2009 - 52 Consecutive Masters

Three-time Masters champion Gary Player of South Africa competes in his 52nd consecutive and final Masters.

2009 - Cabrera's Sudden-Death Win

Argentina's Angel Cabrera outlasts Kenny Perry, winning the 73rd Masters on the second hole of a sudden-death playoff. He is the first Masters champion from South America and the 15th player to win the Masters on Easter Sunday. Cabrera's share of the purse is $1,350,000.

The 2010s

Excitement is plentiful as Phil Mickelson adds his third green jacket, and Charl Schwartzel and Bubba Watson win with memorable finishes. Augusta National admits its first two female members in 2012 with Condoleezza Rice and Darla Moore.

2010 - 3-D Broadcast Begins

The Masters and the Par-3 Contest is produced and distributed live in 3-D, on TV and the internet. This is the first time the technology is used for any major sporting event.

2010 - Mickelson's Third Green Jacket

Phil Mickelson captures his third Masters win. Mickelson finishes at 16-under 272. Only Tiger Woods, in 2001, has had a lower winning score in the past 13 years. His share of the purse is $1,350,000.

2011 - Historic Birdies For Charl

Charl Schwartzel, 28, of South Africa, becomes the first Masters champion to birdie his final four holes - two more than any other winner ever had to finish. He also did it in just his second appearance. Schwartzel's share of the purse is $1,440,000.

2012 - Double Eagle And A Hook Shot

The rarest of golf shots - a double eagle - helped Louis Oosthuizen earn a spot in a playoff with Bubba Watson. But it is Watson's amazing hook shot from the trees during the playoff that allowed him to pick up his first major win and a green jacket. His share of the purse is $1,440,000.

2013 - Scott gets first win for Aussies

After decades of frustration and numerous close calls in the Masters Tournament, Australia's dry spell ended when Adam Scott rolled in a playoff birdie. Scott birdied two of his final three holes and beat 2009 winner Angel Cabrera on the second hole of sudden death to become the first winner from Down Under. The win earned him $1,440,000.

2014 - Ike's Tree Damaged, Removed

Golf’s most famous pine tree is no longer guarding the 17th hole at Augusta National Golf Club. The Eisenhower Tree suffered major damage in an ice storm and was removed.

2015 - Spieth goes wire-to-wire

On the 20th anniversary of the last Texan – Ben Crenshaw – to win the Masters, 21-year-old Jordan Spieth closed with 2-under-par 70 on Sunday to win by four shots and finish at 18-under-par 270, matching Tiger Woods’ 18-year-old scoring record.

2016 - Willett delivers

On the 20th anniversary of one of the greatest collapses in tournament history, Danny Wil­lett tied for the day’s low round and took advantage of defending champion Jordan Spieth’s back-nine blunders to win the 80th Masters Tour­na­ment.

Historic Leaderboards

  • 2017 - Sergio Garcia
  • 2016 - Danny Willett
  • 2015 - Jordan Spieth
  • 2014 - Bubba Watson
  • 2013 - Adam Scott
  • 2012 - Bubba Watson
  • 2011 - Charl Schwartzel
  • 2010 - Phil Mickelson
  • 2009 - Angel Cabrera
  • 2008 - Trevor Immelman
  • 2007 - Zach Johnson
  • 2006 - Phil Mickelson
  • 2005 - Tiger Woods
  • 2004 - Phil Mickelson
  • 2003 - Mike Weir
  • 2002 - Tiger Woods
  • 2001 - Tiger Woods
  • 2000 - Vijay Singh
  • 1999 - Jose-Maria Olazabal
  • 1998 - Mark O'Meara
  • 1997 - Tiger Woods
  • 1996 - Nick Faldo
  • 1995 - Ben Crenshaw
  • 1994 - Jose-Maria Olazabal
  • 1993 - Bernhard Langer
  • 1992 - Fred Couples
  • 1991 - Ian Woosnam
  • 1990 - Nick Faldo
  • 1989 - Nick Faldo
  • 1988 - Sandy Lyle
  • 1987 - Larry Mize
  • 1986 - Jack Nicklaus
  • 1985 - Bernhard Langer
  • 1984 - Ben Crenshaw
  • 1983 - Seve Ballesteros
  • 1982 - Craig Stadler
  • 1981 - Tom Watson
  • 1980 - Seve Ballesteros
  • 1979 - Fuzzy Zoeller
  • 1978 - Gary Player
  • 1977 - Tom Watson
  • 1976 - Ray Floyd
  • 1975 - Jack Nicklaus
  • 1974 - Gary Player
  • 1973 - Tommy Aaron
  • 1972 - Jack Nicklaus
  • 1971 - Charles Coody
  • 1970 - Billy Casper
  • 1969 - George Archer
  • 1968 - Bob Goalby
  • 1967 - Gay Brewer
  • 1966 - Jack Nicklaus
  • 1965 - Jack Nicklaus
  • 1964 - Arnold Palmer
  • 1963 - Jack Nicklaus
  • 1962 - Arnold Palmer
  • 1961 - Gary Player
  • 1960 - Arnold Palmer
  • 1959 - Art Wall Jr.
  • 1958 - Arnold Palmer
  • 1957 - Doug Ford
  • 1956 - Jack Burke, Jr
  • 1955 - Cary Middlecoff
  • 1954 - Sam Snead
  • 1953 - Ben Hogan
  • 1952 - Sam Snead
  • 1951 - Ben Hogan
  • 1950 - Jimmy Demaret
  • 1949 - Sam Snead
  • 1948 - Claude Harmon
  • 1947 - Jimmy Demaret
  • 1946 - Herman Keiser
  • 1942 - Byron Nelson
  • 1941 - Craig Wood
  • 1940 - Jimmy Demaret
  • 1939 - Ralph Guldahl
  • 1938 - Henry Picard
  • 1937 - Byron Nelson
  • 1936 - Horton Smith
  • 1935 - Gene Sarazen
  • 1934 - Horton Smith

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commonwealth games 2018

commonwealth games 2018 bets, tips and odds | everything you need to know about Commonwealth Games

 

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The XII Commonwealth Games will take place between 4-15 April on the Gold Coast, Australia.

The Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games (GC2018) will welcome more than 6,600 athletes and team officials from 70 Commonwealth nations and territories to the Gold Coast and event cities Brisbane, Cairns and Townsville, to share in the celebration of sport, entertainment and culture.

The largest sporting event to be staged in Australia this decade, GC2018 will feature the largest integrated sports program in Commonwealth Games history, comprising 18 sports and seven para-sports.

Beach Volleyball, Para Triathlon and Women’s Rugby Sevens will make their Commonwealth Games debuts and for the first time at a Commonwealth Games, an equal number of men’s and women’s medal events will be contested.

The Commonwealth is a collective of independent sovereign states spread across every continent and ocean and makes up to 30% of the worlds population. From Asia to Africa and beyond, the Commonwealth is composed of a rich variety of faiths, races, languages, cultures and traditions.

 

 

Countries participating in Commonwealth Games 2018

  •  Anguilla
  •  Antigua and Barbuda
  •  Australia (host nation)
  •  Bahamas
  •  Bangladesh
  •  Barbados
  •  Belize
  •  Bermuda
  •  Botswana
  •  British Virgin Islands
  •  Brunei
  •  Cameroon
  •  Canada
  •  Cayman Islands
  •  Cook Islands
  •  Cyprus
  •  Dominica
  •  England
  •  Falkland Islands
  •  Fiji
  •  Ghana
  •  Gibraltar
  •  Grenada
  •  Guernsey
  •  Guyana
  •  India
  •  Isle of Man
  •  Jamaica
  •  Jersey
  •  Kenya
  •  Kiribati
  •  Lesotho
  •  Malawi
  •  Malaysia
  •  Malta
  •  Mauritius
  •  Montserrat
  •  Mozambique
  •  Namibia
  •  Nauru
  •  New Zealand
  •  Nigeria
  •  Niue
  •  Norfolk Island
  •  Northern Ireland
  •  Pakistan
  •  Papua New Guinea
  •  Rwanda
  •  Saint Helena
  •  Saint Kitts and Nevis
  •  Saint Lucia
  •  Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  •  Samoa
  •  Scotland
  •  Seychelles
  •  Sierra Leone
  •  Singapore
  •  Solomon Islands
  •  South Africa
  •  Sri Lanka
  •  Swaziland
  •  Tanzania
  •  Tonga
  •  Trinidad and Tobago
  •  Turks and Caicos Islands
  •  Tuvalu
  •  Uganda
  •  Vanuatu
  •  Wales
  •  Zambia

The current regulations state that from the 26 approved sports administered by Commonwealth Governing Bodies, a minimum of ten core sports and maximum of seventeen sports must be included in any Commonwealth Games schedule.

The current approved sports include the 10 core sports: athletics, badminton, boxing, hockey, lawn bowls, netball (for women), rugby sevens, squash, swimming and weightlifting.

Integrated disabled competitions are also scheduled for the Games in nine sports: swimming, athletics, cycling, table tennis, cycling, power-lifting and lawn bowls. Along these events for the first time EAD events in triathlon will be held, with the medals being added to the final tally for each nation. A record 38 para events will be contested at these games. On 8 March 2016, Beach Volleyball was announced as the 18th sport.

The program will be broadly similar to that of the 2014 Commonwealth Games, with the major changes being the dropping of judo, the reintroduction of basketball, the debut of women's rugby sevens and beach volleyball.

On 7 October 2016, it was announced seven new events for women were added to the sport program, meaning there will be an equal number of events for men and women. This marks the first time in history that a major multi-sport event will have equality in terms of events. In total 275 events in 18 sports will be contested.

Sports

Commonwealth Games 2018 FAQs

When will the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games (GC2018) be held?

The Gold Coast will host the Commonwealth Games from 4-15 April in 2018.

Who is organising the Commonwealth Games this year?

The Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Corporation (GOLDOC) have the role to plan, organise and deliver GC2018, working alongside the Commonwealth Games Federation, Australian Commonwealth Games Association, Federal and Queensland Government and the Gold Coast City Council.

Where will the Games be held?

Events will predominately be held at venues on the Gold Coast. Some events will also be held in Brisbane, Townsville and Cairns.

What sports will be contested at Commonwealth Games 2018?

Eighteen sports and 7 Paralympic sports will be contested this year.

Where should I stay during the Games?

The Gold Coast is rich in accommodation options with many great places to stay. To view information about the Gold Coast including where to stay, things to see and do, visit the Gold Coast Tourism website or call 1300 309 440.

History of the Commonwealth Games

From 4-15 April, 2018, the Gold Coast will create its own slice of history when it hosts the 21st Commonwealth Games.

It will be the fifth time Australia has staged the Commonwealth Games following Sydney (1938), Perth (1962), Brisbane (1982) and Melbourne (2006) – making Australia the nation that has hosted the most number of Games.

Significantly, GC2018 will mark the first time a Commonwealth Games will be held in a regional Australian city.

he Commonwealth Games have been conducted by the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) every four years (except for 1942 and 1946 due to World War II) since the first British Empire Games were held in Hamilton, Canada in 1930.

There have been many magical moments witnessed at the Commonwealth Games over the years, including the famous “Miracle Mile” at the 1954 Games when England’s Roger Bannister and Australian John Landy created history by both breaking the four-minute mile in a race.

A key player in the staging of the first Commonwealth Games was sports reporter and administrator Melville Marks (Bobby) Robinson, who helped bring to reality what Commonwealth nations had been dreaming about for three decades.

Since then, the Games have grown from an event featuring 11 countries and 400 athletes to a modern sporting spectacular that includes 70 nations and territories and over 6,600 athletes and team officials.

Important change has also been made in gender equity over the years, with GC2018 set to mark the first time in the history of a major multi-sport Games that there will be an equal number of medal events for men and women.

The size and format of the sporting competition has also grown over the years.

Up until the late 1990s, there had only ever been single competition sports before the introduction of hockey (men and women), netball (women) and rugby 7’s (men) at the Kuala Lumpur Games in 1998.

It wasn’t until eight years later at the Melbourne Commonwealth Games in 2006 that basketball was introduced.

GC2018 will see the first ever Beach Volleyball competition on the Gold Coast – a fitting inclusion for the globally renowned beachside destination.

But the Commonwealth Games are more than just about competition.

They aim to unite the Commonwealth family through sport.

The Games reflect the CGF’s core values of humanity, equality and destiny.

They bring together members of the Commonwealth of nations to compete on a level playing field in a spirit of friendship and fair play often referred to as the ‘friendly games’.

As one of the biggest sporting events of the sporting world, the commonwealth games attracts bettors from all over the world!

 

 

The Commonwealth

The Commonwealth is a collective of diverse nations spread across every continent and ocean and makes up to 30% of the world’s population. From Asia to Africa and beyond, the Commonwealth is composed of a rich variety of faiths, races, languages, cultures and traditions.

The Commonwealth Games is a unique, world class, multi-sport event that is held once every four years and is often referred to as the ‘Friendly Games’. The Commonwealth Games brings together the members of the Commonwealth of Nations in an effort to raise the bar of sport for all humanity and provide a level playing field where athletes compete in a spirit of friendship and fair play.

There are a total of 53 members of the Commonwealth of Nations, including a number of British overseas territories, Crown dependencies and island states who compete under their own flag. England, Isle of Man, Guernsey, Gibraltar, Jersey, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland all send separate teams to compete in the Games.

The Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) is the organisation that is responsible for the direction and control of the Commonwealth Games. As a means of improving society and the general well-being of the people of the Commonwealth, the CGF also encourages and assists education via sport development and physical recreation.

Underlying every decision made by the CGF are three core values:

  • Humanity
  • Equality
  • Destiny

These values help to inspire and unite millions of people and symbolise the broad mandate of the CGF within the Commonwealth. The main element of the Commonwealth Games brand is ‘The Bar’.

A symbol that represents the Games’ effort to raise the bar of sports and level the playing field where athletes can come to complete in a spirit of friendship and fair play. It also acts as a collective aspiration for the whole of the Commonwealth and is something that will be present during the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.

Motto

The official motto for the 2018 Commonwealth Games is "Share the Dream". It was chosen to highlight the dreams and experience at the games that were shared by participants of the games, ranging from athletes to volunteers and the host country Australia to the world including the Commonwealth nations.

Emblem

The emblem of the 2018 Commonwealth Games is a sihoulette of the skyline and landscape of Gold coast, the host city of the games. It was chosen to represent the vibrancy, warmth, friendliness, energy and joy in the city, as well as the competitive spirit of the athletes who are welcomed to the city to participate in the games.

Mascot

Borobi was named as the mascot of the 2018 Commonwealth Games in 2016. Borobi is a blue koala, with indigenous markings on its body. The term "borobi" is an Aboriginal term for koala.

 
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mr green

Mr Green – live sports betting!

 

Mr Green Sports Review

Mr Green's expansion into the world of sports betting has been nothing short of sensational. Swedish gaming site Mr Green was already a hugely popular brand for online casino but the migration from casino to sportsbook isn't always a smooth transition. The online sportsbook launched to coincide with the Euro 2016 football tournament held in France and hit the ground running, offering up a fresh, clean interface to shake up sports betting online.

What Software Does Mr Green Sports Use?

Mr Green has partnered with sports betting experience company Kambi, based in Malta, where Mr Green is also licensed and regulated. Rather than simply outsource the sports book, Kambi offers a collaborative sourcing approach, which allows Mr Green to innovate and differentiate the platform from other sports websites using the same software. It also has a dedicated mobile app that can be downloaded for iOS and Android.

Game Providers

Game Provider Kambi

User Experience

The new sportsbook platform has a clean, minimal design, all in stylistic shades of green one would expect of the titular company. A series of well-spaced tabs and windows welcome players, highlighting popular events and bets, as well as the option to dive into a particular sport, or the Mr Green specials.

A handy search bar at the top allows users to search for specific sports, teams or leagues. The responsive design of the website means that it appears the same on both desktop computers and mobile devices. Another key feature of Mr Green Sports is that it gives you as much info as it can to make an informed bet.

For example, clicking on a particular match will bring up a window filled with statistics, such as the last six results of the two players or teams and the last results of when they faced each other, to help guide you as you gamble.

mr green sports
 

Odds and Prices

As Mr Green offers one of the largest selection of sports to bet on, it is a sportsbook that caters to all tastes and all betting types. Betting options include single bets, each way, combination bets or as system bets. The site also supports a number of different styles of accumulators, including Trixie, Patent, Yankee and Heinz.

A tab at the bottom of the page allows you to change the default fractional betting system to the European decimal one, or the American favoured money line odds. The odds at Mr Green are in line with their direct competitors, but because they cover such an extensive range of events, they may be one of the only sites that take a bet on specific markets.

What Betting Markets are Offered at Mr Green Sports?

Mr Green offers an extensive market of sports to bet on, with 35 sporting and non-sporting activities, as well as the sportsbook specials, which are constantly updated. More popular markets such as football have a host of options, including:

  • Match and Total Goals
  • Both Teams to Score
  • Double Chance
  • Half Time
  • Total Goals – 1st Half
  • Draw No Bet
  • Asian Handicap
  • 3-Way Handicap
  • Total Goals by Home Team
  • Total Goals by Away Team

Mr Green offers bets across a wide range of sports, with the main markets being football, tennis, horse racing and cricket. There are also popular sports such as basketball, golf, ice hockey, in addition to Rugby League and Rugby Union.

However, the diverse list of sports and activities include lesser known markets like bandy, handball, pesapollo, yachting, WWE, UFC and MMA fighting. Like many sports websites, it also has options to bet on non-sporting activities, such as politics, film and TV awards and literature prizes.

Most Popular Betting Markets at Mr Green Sports

  • Football
  • Horse Racing
  • Golf
  • Tennis
  • Cricket
  • Baseball
  • Basketball
  • Rugby
  • Handball

Does Mr Green Sports Offer Live Betting?

Yes, although Mr Green is a relatively new sportsbook, there is an in-play tab on the site, allowing you to bet live across a multitude of sports, including football, tennis, badminton and snooker.

mr green sports

 

Security and Banking

Mr Green offers extensive customer support features, available 24/7, including telephone, email, online chat and feedback form. There are a number of ways to fund your Mr Green sports wallet, including Visa, Mastercard and Maestro, as well online services such as PayPal, Skrill, ClickandBuy and Neteller.

Payments made in are usually available straight away. If players are withdrawing back onto a debit or credit card, they may need to wait 1 to 3 working days, while online payment systems will receive the money much faster, often within 24 hours. Mr Green allows one free withdrawal every seven days, with a fee of 1% for any additional withdrawals, maximum of £10.

Payment Methods:

Our Verdict

Mr Green’s expansion into sports betting really is very exciting, offering the same level of quality that players have come to expect from the gaming website. The design is crisp and clean, while browsing between game variations and betting types is very fast. It's a highly welcome addition.

ProsCons
 partnered with sports betting experience company Kambi does not offer Virtual Sports betting
 platform has a clean, minimal design, all in stylistic shades of green 
 offers one of the largest selection of sports to bet on 
 

VISIT MR GREEN SPORTS

 

Mr Green Casino Review

 
 
 
mr green sportsbook

Where can I get free bets?

Our Mr Green Sportsbook Review

Mr Green is yet another world renowned online casino brand that has recently expanded its business into the world of sports betting. With the official launch scheduled to coincide nicely with the start of the 2016 football Euros, the highly aesthetic, user-friendly sportsbook can be accessed from desktop, mobile and tablet devices, and comes with a great range of in-play and pre-match betting markets. As we often see with some of the other slightly lesser experienced betting sites in the UK market, the overall betting service is somewhat limited.

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OVERALL SPORTSBOOK SCORE B+ Grade OTHER RATING CRITERIAS Markets 8.1/10Live betting 8.2/10Bonus 8.3/10

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Mr Green is no exception here, with many of the extra added features such as live streaming, in-play cashout, and an up-to-date news section mostly missing. However, as the sportsbook continues to grow and expand we have no doubt that these features will be gradually introduced, and Mr Green will be in good contention to compete with some of the more established UK betting sites. Keep reading down below and get the full update in our Mr Green sportsbook review.


How to Claim the £5 Mr Green Sign-up Sports Bonus?

Some bookmakers aren’t so generous when it comes to awesome welcome bonuses. But these fears of yours can be allayed when it comes to the absolutely awesome Mr Green welcome offer, which simply represents some of the best value you can find online for a first time user.

Claiming the bonus really couldn’t be simpler. First of all you have to register an account with the bookmaker by filling in your email, password and personal details. Please make sure you are in a country that Mr Green operates in and that you are over 18 years of age. Once you have registered your account, then you are able to start claiming your bonus. This offer is only available for new customers.

You can easily claim your £5 FREE Bet by following these simple steps:

Open a Mr Green account by filling in your personal details Register and activate an account – the process takes 60 seconds

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Extra Features: In-Play Betting, Live Stream & Much More

The Mr Green sportsbook is powered by Kambi – one of the most innovative web developers in the sports betting business. As a result, the platform is one of the best we’ve seen both in terms of its aesthetic appeal and the overall design. It is considerably different from many of the other user interfaces on the market; for one it is far less data-heavy, with only the most important live betting highlights being displayed in neatly arranged windows across the middle of the screen. The list of a-z sports is located at the top of the screen – rather than in a side bar where you normally find it – and the search tool bar positioned just below allows you to carry out a word-specific search for your desired sports market, team, or competition.

SPORTSBOOK FEATURES
A Look at the Mr Green WebsiteSports Markets Coverage
American Football, Australian Rules, Bandy, Baseball, Baskteball, Boxing, Chess, Cricket,Cycling,Darts, E-Sports, Floorball, Football, Futsal, Golf, Handbal, Horse Racing, Ice Hockey, Motorsport, Mr Green Specials, Non-Sport, Pesapallo, Politics, Rugby League, Rugby Union, Snooker, Surfing, Tennis,Trotting,  UFC/ MMA, Volleyball, Wintersports, WWE, Yachting
Mobile App..
Bet ExchangeNo
In-Play ConsoleYes
Live StreamingNo
Live Streaming Requirementsn/a
In-Play Cashoutn/a
Other Featuresn/a
Minimum Bet£1,00

The live platform is arranged in a slightly different list view. All the fixtures currently in-play are arranged in order of sport, with the odds prices displayed nicely alongside at the right-hand side of the screen. There’s also a pretty compressive stats centre where punters can view all the most important statistics between two opponents in the last few meetings, as well as information regarding which the most clicked match, the most clicked competition, and the most clicked sport.

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Another noteworthy feature here is the live infographic. This extremely handy tool is displayed alongside selected in-play fixtures, and lets you keep extra close tabs on the action. You can track the fixture in real-time and see when there’s a break in play, when there’s an injury, or when a penalty or a foul has been committed. It works extremely well with football where you can track exactly where the ball is on the field and see when there’s a dangerous attack, when your team is on the defensive, and which team is in possession.


How Easy is it to Make a Payment at Mr Green?

Although they don’t quite offer the largest selection of payment methods we’ve seen, there is still a more than respectable number of banking options to choose from to suit your needs. All the most popular debit and credit cards are supported, as well as a good selection of e-Wallets and prepaid cards such as Skrill, Neteller, PayPal and paysafecard. With the exception of Trusty – where payments made to your account may take up to 24 hours – all deposits are processed quickly and smoothly and are made available for you to play with almost instantly. All deposits are capped at £10,000, which is a more than high enough upper limit excluding certain exceptional circumstances, and the minimum amounts are set at a very affordable £5 or £10.

MR GREEN ACCEPT THE FOLLOWING PAYMENT METHODS
Payment MethodDepositWithdrawal ProcessingCashout
minmaxtimefeemin.max.fee
Visa£10£10 000InstantFree2-5 Days£30no limitFree
Visa Debit£10£10 000InstantFree2-5 Days£30no limitFree
Mastercard£10£10 000InstantFree2-5 Days£30no limitFree
PayPal£5£10 000InstantFree1-3 Days£30no limitFree
Neteller£5£10 000InstantFree1-3 Days£30no limitFree
Click2Pay£10£10 000InstantFree2-5 Days£30no limitFree
Skrill£5£10 000InstantFree1-3 Days£30no limitFree
Paysafe Card£10£10 000InstantFreen/an/an/an/a
Trustly£10£10 000Up to 24 hoursFree2-5 Days£30no limitFree
Bank Transfer£10£10 0001-5 DaysFree5-7 Days£30no limitFree

As far as withdrawals are concerned, the waiting times vary somewhat depending on the payment method used to make the initial deposit. For Visa and credit cards, Trusty, and Click2pay you can expect to wait between 2-5 days from the time of request for your funds to reach your account. With Skrill, Neteller and PayPal the waiting time is a little bit shorter at somewhere between 1-3 days. Mr Green do not set limits to the amount that can be withdrawn at any one time; in the event that you’re due a big money pay out you need to first check with your bank or building society to see if they allow for extra-large deposits, and whether or not any extra charges will be accrued. One important thing to note is that customers are only allowed to make one free withdrawal every seven days. Any more withdrawals after this will incur additional fees of £1 up to the first £100, and then a flat rate of 1% on any amount over £100 – charges will be capped at £10 if the maximum permitted withdrawal amount of £10,000 is made.

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The Help & Support Desk

Any bookmaker worth its salt will always make sure that it’s customers have access to proper help and support. Customers at Mr Green can contact the customer service team via email, telephone and live chat and get expert help resolving a number of different issues and queries. The one slight downside here is that the phone line is not free of charge; calls will be charged at the normal rate for a local landline call. It is for this reason that we would recommend using the live chat service wherever possible. Not only is it completely free of charge, but waiting times are always kept to a minimum, and in our experiences the customer service agents have always been able to resolve our queries in a friendly and professional manner. Email support is also efficient, with the normal response time normally between 12-24 hours.

SPORTSBOOK SUPPORT DETAILS
You can contact Mr Green 24 Hours a day, 7 days a week.
.Telephone Number0207 197 14 44
AddressTagliaferro Business Centre, Level 7, High Street, Sliema
Post CodeSLM 1549
Emailcustomerservice@mrgreen.com
Live Chattick
Opening Hours24 – 7

The one area where we feel as though there is a slight room for improvement is in the FAQ section. At present Mr Green don’t have a help centre or detailed FAQ section to help their customers deal with some of the most common troubleshooting issues. Although this is entirely due to the fact that the sportsbook is still in its early stages of development, we still feel as though every sports betting site should include a comprehensive self-help section that allows punters to quickly solve some of the more straight forward issues and queries themselves. We do however have every confidence that Mr Green will add this in the near future.


History and Company Overview

As many of our readers will already know, Mr Green is first and foremost an online gaming company specialising in the casino games department. The company was first launched in 2008 to the Swedish market, and today boasts being one of the most recognisable casino brands in Europe with active operations in over ten countries. Mr Green are not only renowned for providing top of the range games from a number of acclaimed software developers; they also proved their worth in mobile gaming department as they took home the much coveted prize of “Mobile Operator of the Year” at the IGA awards this summer. Other noteworthy accolades include “Online Casino Operator of the Year”, “Casino Brand of the Year” and “Socially Responsible Operator of the Year”.

AT A GLANCE – MR GREEN COMPANY INFORMATION
Name of OperatorMr Green Ltd.
Sportsbook Web Sitehttps://casino.mrgreen.com/en-GB/bet
Chief Executive OfficerPer Norman
License InformationLicensed by the UK Gambling Commission – 000-039264-R-319432-002
Testing AgencyIBAS
FTSE Listed and FTSE NameYes – MRG
Revenue£800 million
Betting ShopsNo
Number of Customersn/a
Owner InformationMr Green and Co. AB
Employeesn/a
Sister Siteshttps://casino.mrgreen.com/en-GB/
Bohemian FC

Mr Green is owned by the Swedish investment company Mr Green & Co. with Per Norman currently sitting as the CEO. After the decision to expand the company’s services into the sports betting market, the Mr Green sportsbook site was launched in June of 2016 – just in time for the football Euros. As the sportsbook continues to grow and add additional products to its arsenal such as a mobile app, a live streaming service, and a cash out function, we are sure that the same first-rate gambling experience evident in the casino brand will be reflected in the sports betting service.


Final Thoughts

To sum up, we feel as though Mr Green are well on their way in competing with the more established sports betting sites. We really like what we see so far; the high power platform retains all the same user friendly-friendly, aesthetically pleasing attributes of the casino site, and the customer service experience really is top notch. To add to this, the sports market selection is pretty impressive, and the in-play graphics seen on the live betting interface are some of the best around.

OUR OVERALL CONCLUSION ON THE SPORTSBOOK
MarketsSupportLive BettingMobile AppBonusOverall
8.7/10Very Good8.3/10Good8.3/10Very Good!8.8/10VeryGood9.3/10Very Good9/10

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Power Force Villains slot review – free spins

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Power Force Villains Slot

Forget about saving the world and think about yourself a little bit. Wouldn’t it be nice to be a little selfish for once and focus on your own profit for a moment? Join the Power Force Villains team in a video slot game by Push Gaming, and use your wits to dominate the entire city and make all of its wealth yours in just a few spins of the reels.

As the companion game of Power Force Heroes, you will find many common points between the two games. From the low volatility to the many bonus features, including giant clusters of symbols, there is a lot to cover in Power Force Villains. Let’s get down to business right away in our full review of the game.

When Crime Does Pay

Being a villain requires a lot of secrecy. Having a secure lab is a must, and Power Force Villains takes place at the heart of a high-tech facility buried somewhere under the city. The dark space is crowded with complex machines, with wires and tubes dangling from the ceiling and giving the entire scene a bit of a creepy atmosphere.

Just like its counterpart, Power Force Villains has a clear comic book look. This alone is going to attract plenty of new players to the game right away, eager to join a team of bad guys for once. Operating the game will also prove quite straightforward, nothing like using any of the machines in the lab. Let’s find out in our next section.

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