Ladbrokes and Carol Vorderman have joined forces to help you pick a horse to back at the nation’s favourite race: The Grand National.

With 40 horses lining up for the Grand National, it can be difficult to choose who to back in the world’s most famous race. So this year, bookmaker Ladbrokes worked with maths whizz and national sweetheart Carol Vorderman on a winning formula to help novice punters pick the first past the post from the runners and riders at Aintree.

“I use all sorts of unscientific methods to choose a horse to back at the Grand National,” said former queen of Countdown Carol as she launches the formula. “And so this year I’ve devised a formula for Ladbrokes that I hope will help me win. My formula is simple and a bit of fun.

“You take the first letter of your surname and assign it a number from 1 to 26. So, ‘A’ equals 1, ‘B’ equals 2, and so on until ‘Y’ equals 25 and ‘Z’ equals 26. For me, ‘V’ for Vorderman is number 22 in the alphabet, so that’s my first number.

“You then take a number from 0 to 14. Lots of people claim the number seven as their lucky number, so I’m choosing that this year. Add those two numbers together, and you’ll have a number between one and 40. I’ve got 22 + 7 = 29, and that’s the horse on the race card I’ll be backing.”

As the excitement for Saturday’s race builds, research commissioned by Ladbrokes shows that The Grand National is still the nation’s favourite, with one in three of those polled naming it as their favourite horseracing event. Red Rum is the most recognisable race horse, with 27 per cent naming the three-time Grand National winner their favourite, while Sir Tony McCoy tops the poll of favourite jockeys with 12 per cent of the vote.

“I love the Grand National,” says Carol, “but I haven’t been to Aintree before. This year, I’ll be going with some of my friends from I’m A Celebrity Get Me Outta Here. Sam Quek is an Aintree ambassador, and Ola Jordan and I are going as her guests. I hope I beat them at the bookies!”

Nicola McGeady from Ladbrokes says: “The Grand National is the biggest betting event on the calendar so we wanted to make choosing a winner as easy as possible – and who better than one of the nation’s most popular maths whizzes and TV personalities to show us how. We think Carol’s system does just that.”

And it seems Carol and Ladbrokes are on to a winner with the formula: “If I’d used this formula last year, I’d have won at 33/1, with Rule The World,” finished Carol. “I hope it works this year! Good luck, everyone."

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