The Dude

Mike and Zara's Horse Tipped For Grand National Glory

Eddie Keogh/Reuters

Many people think the best way to pick the winner of Britain's most famous horse race, the Grand National, to be held this weekend, is to pick a name out of the hat, but a Cambridge mathematician claims to have found a formula which can predict the winner of the famous steeplechase based on everything but the form.

William Hartston has rated factors such as the age of the horse, the letters in the owner's name, and the letters and number of words in the horses' names to draw up his bizarre formula.And the result is that he has tipped Zara and Mike Tindall's horse Monbeg Dude to win.

Mr Hartston told the Daily Telegraph: "This year's scoring system is based on a re-analysis of the results of all Aintree Grand Nationals since 1886. Unlike last year, I have given a weighting towards recent years and added an item relating to the name of the trainer."I would have liked to include the name of the jockey too, but in many cases this is not available until the morning of the race."If Moonbeg Dude does win, new mum Zara will be able to take some of the credit.Every Monday afternoon, trainer Michael Scudamore has been taking Monbeg Dude to Zara’s home on the Princess Royal’s Gatcombe Park estate in the Cotswolds.While 11-week-old daughter Mia sits in her buggy, mum Zara takes control of an intensive 45-minute schooling session to brush up the horse’s jumping.His jockey told The Mirror: “The Dude certainly likes his visits to Gatcombe by royal appointment - it’s a lovely place and it’s something different for him.“I’ve been taking him over there most Mondays since the start of the season.Zara hasn’t been able to ride him because she was pregnant for most of the schooling but I think she enjoys it.“She decides what exercises he should do and Mia is usually nearby - tucked up nice and warm in her buggy."