The Grand National is a wild and unpredictable race at the best of times so just how do you pick a winner? Well, you could spend some time studying the form but if you are a once a year punter like the majority who bet on the Grand National then learning just how to do that is probably unnecessary. Instead we have provided below some alternative ways to pick the horse that is right for you.

Pick a horse with a name similar to someone you know. It could be a family member or friend or even a favourite celebrity! In the end it doesn’t really matter as this is only a way to narrow the field. According To Pete and Junior are good examples and likely to attract lots of punters this year.

Choose a ‘grey’ (the colour of the horse for all you novices) this will make it easy to choose your horse as there were only 4 greys who lined up in 2011. Now while the last grey to win was Nicolaus Silver in 1961 but King John's Castle was runner up in 2008.

If a horse has a link to your favourite football, rugby or any other sporting team you support then pick it! It could be down to strip colour or team name or home ground. Horses such as Cappa Bleu, Becauseicouldntsee, West End Rocker or even Organisedconfusion could ring true to you.

Take a look at the Jockey’s Silks (the jockey’s clothing) and if the colours have significance for you then hope he is riding a decent horse.

Choose the horse with a name that might have meaning for you such as ‘Seabass’ for all you anglers out there or maybe for the terminally single ‘On His Own’, alternatively for those with a partner that has to have the last word ‘Always Right’.

This is a suggestion that may have more substance to it than you think, go with the Irish horse, trainer or jockey or if feasible, all three! With 6 out of the last 12 races having irish winners then your money is in good hands. Midnight Club or Alpha Beat could be in with a chance this year and worth having a punt.

Avoid the French! This isn’t some deep seated hatred of the French, simply statistics as a French trained horse hasn’t won the National for over a 100 years. Although a UK trained French horse isn’t out of the question as Venetia Williams’ Horse Mon Mome won in 2008.

And if there isn’t anything amongst these suggestions then you could always stick a pin in a list of the runners.

Once you have selected your horse you should place your bet with a bookie that has a Free Bet offer (there will be conditions). Paddy Power are giving a Free 20 Pound bet if you open an account on line and stake 10 Pounds of you're own money. It wont feel half so bad if you lose using someone else's cash and as they pay out on the first 5 horses (instead of the traditional 4) you have a better chance of collecting some cash.

Make sure you bet ‘Each Way’ this ensures you pick up some cash even if your horse comes in as low as 4th (5th with Paddy Power).