So who is going to win the this year's Aintree Grand National?

Well, historical research into previous winners finds that Dan Skelton's Virgilio has the best chance of stealing the £561,000 first prize on Saturday next.

Betting aggregator GrandNational.org.uk has studied the winning horses since the Grand National started in 1839 and found that, statistically, the winner of the iconic race is... wait for it...

Nine-years old -
Has a handicap of 10st 7lbs -
Is ridden by a jockey called John or Tommy -
Is trained by a man called Tom - 
Has an owner called John 

From this year’s expected line-up, Bay Gelding Virgilio perfectly matches the best age (nine) and handicap (10st 7lbs) and most closely resembles the typical Grand National winner. 

And, with current odds of 100/1 with some bookies, this French horse could allow racing fans to rein in some serious earnings if he crosses the finish line first. 

Those concerned about the unfavourable odds should be reassured that a 100/1 shot, for example, has been victorious at Aintree as recently as 2009. Mon Mome – also nine-years-old at the time – won with jockey Liam Treadwell in the plate.

Paul Townend partnered Willie Mullins' Total Recall (nearest) to win this season's Ladbroke Trophy at Newbury

Of the favourites for this year’s race, just two of the five match the average winning age (Total Recall and Blaklion) and Tiger Roll is the closest to the ideal handicap with a weight of 10st 12lbs.
 
Other lucky characteristics punters might look out for include the starting price. Horses with odds around 19/1 perform best. 
 
Just 23 outright favourites have gone on to win, with a further six joint-favourites taking home the prize over the last 170 races.
 
The findings also show that successful horses often have a jockey called John or Tommy – both names have won 11 times each. Riders called George and Arthur have claimed eight and seven wins respectively.

Runners and riders at the start

Sticking with lucky names, more winning horses have had a trainer called Tom (11) than anyone else, and George is another popular trainer first name (eight wins). Saint Are – currently rated at 50/1 – is the only horse trained by a Tom in this year’s line-up, and ironically his last name is George.
 
There have also been 17 winning racehorse owners called John, 12 more than the next most successful name (Noel, five times).
 
Just seven horses have won the Grand National on more than one occasion and only one (Red Rum) has crossed the finishing line first at Aintree on three separate occasions (in 1973, 1974 and 1977).
 
A spokesperson from GrandNational.org.uk commented, "Our research shows that, historically, nine-year-old horses weighing 10st 7lbs race best, so this makes Virgilo an interesting proposition, despite the bookies rating the horse at 100/1." 

Follow the Randox Health Grand National via a live blog on RTÉ.ie/sport and the News Now App from 4pm on Saturday next.