The 2023 Grand National takes place at Aintree on Saturday, as the famous old race runs for the 175th time.
A trio of fancied horses head the betting with Corach Rambler, Delta Work and Noble Yeats all available around the 8/1 mark.
Noble Yeats is defending his title, although Sean Bowen is aboard this time after Sam Waley-Cohen’s retirement following last year’s triumph, Delta Work is one of six contenders for Gordon Elliott and two-time Ultima Chase winner Corach Rambler has the 2017-winning trainer-jockey combination of Lucinda Russell and Derek Fox at the helm.
Here we run through all 40 horses in the field:
1. ANY SECOND NOW (Trainer: Ted Walsh; Jockey: Mark Walsh) Rating: 7/10
Third in 2021 and runner-up last year, he bids to go one better for a trainer who has a good record in the race. This classy performer must buck history, for not since 1899 has an 11-year-old managed to win race carrying as much weight.
2. NOBLE YEATS (Emmet Mullins; Sean Bowen) 9/10
A shock 50-1 winner last year, his Gold Cup fourth was a good effort and while he carries over a stone more than last year, age and experience are on his side.
3. GALVIN (Gordon Elliott; Davy Russell) 9/10
Talented but inconsistent recently, stamina is seemingly not a problem for this Grade One winner who landed Cheltenham’s National Hunt Chase two years ago and finished fourth in the Gold Cup last year. Always regarded as National prospect.
4. FURY ROAD (Gordon Elliott; Jonjo O’Neill Jr) 6/10
A solid jumper who represents the same connections as dual winner Tiger Roll. A Grade One-winning novice chaser, he did seem to run out of steam when third in the Irish Gold Cup and was well held in the Ryanair at Cheltenham.
5. THE BIG DOG (Peter Fahey; Aidan Coleman) 7/10
Bounced back this season to take the Munster National and the Troytown at Navan, and was placed in the Welsh National. Led to three out in the Irish Gold Cup but uncharacteristically fell at the penultimate fence. Each-way claims.
6. CAPODANNO (Willie Mullins; Danny Mullins) 5/10
Owned by JP McManus, he bids to become only the second seven-year-old to win the National since Bogskar in 1940 after Noble Yeats last year. A Grade One winner but lacks experience and stamina is unproven.
7. DELTA WORK (Gordon Elliott; Keith Donoghue) 7/10
Having denied stablemate Tiger Roll a fairytale farewell at Cheltenham last year, he followed up again in the same race last month beating Galvin. A distant third in this last year, he is slightly better off at the weights this time.
8. SAM BROWN (Anthony Honeyball; Jonathan Burke) 6/10
Beaten just four lengths by Bravemansgame at Wetherby, he had not looked his best in two subsequent chase starts on unsuitable ground. Promising signs over hurdles at Uttoxeter and has won over regulation fences at Aintree before.
9. LIFETIME AMBITION (Jessica Harrington; Sean O’Keeffe) 8/10
Only once out of the first four in 22 starts for his astute trainer. Likes to be up with the pace and has shown best form on soft ground. Fourth in the Grand Sefton on his first try over these fences. Could have a say if he sees out the trip.
10. CAREFULLY SELECTED (Willie Mullins; Michael O’Sullivan) 7/10
Lightly-raced 11-year-old who justified favouritism in the Thyestes at Gowran on only his second run back after 30 months off. Has a touch of class and should go well if his jumping holds up.
11. COKO BEACH (Gordon Elliott; Harry Cobden) 8/10
Up with the pace before tiring from two out to finish eighth last year. Stronger this year, he jumped well when cosily taking the Punchestown Grand National Trial and his trainer’s runners must always be respected. Live outsider.
12. LONGHOUSE POET (Martin Bassil; JJ Slevin) 10/10
A fair sixth in 2022 despite racing with the choke out for much of the contest. Has had his mark protected with three hurdle runs this term by a trainer who won in 2006 with Numbersixvalverde. Prefers ease in the ground and if settling, holds strong claims.
13. GAILLARD DU MESNIL (Willie Mullins; Paul Townend) 7/10
Opened his account over fences in a Grade One at Leopardstown over Christmas and stayed on from well off the pace to get up in the National Hunt Chase at Cheltenham. Improver, though this may come a year too soon.
14. DARASSO (Joseph O’Brien; Luke Dempsey) 3/10
Chased home Hewick in the Galway Plate but has never won beyond two and three-quarter miles. Not one for the shortlist.
15. LE MILOS (Dan Skelton; Harry Skelton) 8/10
Has come into his own this season, winning a decent renewal of what used to be the Hennessy Gold Cup. Jumps, stays and has a decent weight, so ticks plenty of boxes for a trainer who knows the time of day. Leading chance.
16. ESCARIA TEN (Gordon Elliott; Adrian Heskin) 4/10
Beaten a nose by Any Second Now in the Bobbyjo Chase at Fairyhouse last season but stamina limitations were exposed, not for the first time, when weakening late to finish ninth in the National last year.
17. THE BIG BREAKAWAY (Joe Tizzard; Brendan Powell) 7/10
Produced some decent form this season, including a another narrow defeat in the Welsh Grand National. Jumps, stays and has a decent weight. Potential to run a big race, provided his Cheltenham run did not take too much out of him.
18. CAPE GENTLEMAN (John Joseph Hanlon; Jody McGarvey) 3/10
A fair novice chaser who has shown little in recent runs to inspire much confidence, but represents a very capable trainer.
19. ROI MAGE (Patrick Griffin; Felix de Giles) 7/10
Ex-French Grade Three winner who really upped his game on anything he had previously shown for his current yard in conceding 5lb when a gallant runner-up to Longhouse Poet at Down Royal. Could be a player at decent odds.
20. DIOL KER (Noel Meade; Kieren Buckley) 6/10
One win in 13 over fences came in the Leinster National. Blinkers helped when short-headed in a valuable Leopardstown handicap but disappointed since. Capable of better for his savvy trainer, however stamina doubts remain.
21. A WAVE OF THE SEA (Joseph O’Brien; Shane Fitzgerald) 4/10
Represents powerful connections and young enough to think there is improvement to come. Three chase wins have all come over two and a half miles or shorter, though, and was pulled up in the Grand Annual last time out.
22. MINELLA TRUMP (Donald McCain; Theo Gillard) 5/10
Rattled up a six-timer as a novice in 2021 and won Perth Gold Cup in June. Last over seven over hurdles on recent comeback.
23. VANILLIER (Gavin Cromwell; Sean Flanagan) 6/10
Clearly has class, but not proven so good over fences, with a sole success coming in a weak four-runner Grade Two. Runner-up finish to Kemboy in the Bobbyjo showed improvement, but trip is a concern.
24. VELVET ELVIS (Thomas Gibney; Darragh O’Keeffe) 3/10
Two wins from 10 over fences have both come at three miles. Close-up sixth in the Irish Grand National last April and second to Any Second Now when last seen. Another for whom this looks too soon.
25. AIN’T THAT A SHAME (Henry De Bromhead; Rachael Blackmore) 6/10
Was close up in the Munster National and Paddy Power Chase before getting off the mark over fences at the seventh time of asking. Inexperience is the drawback for this lightly-raced improver from a top yard.
26. CORACH RAMBLER (Lucinda Russell; Derek Fox) 8/10
Dual winner at Cheltenham, he bids to give the Scottish yard its second win in the race after One For Arthur in 2017. Had a hard race when winning at Cheltenham again, but always been regarded as a horse tailor-made for this race.
27. ENJOY D’ALLEN (Ciaran Murphy; Simon Torrens) 3/10
Third in the Irish National two years ago is as good as it has got. Unseated at the first last year and has shown little subsequently, yet cannot be discounted given his connections.
28. MR INCREDIBLE (Willie Mullins; Brian Hayes) 7/10
Relished the step up to three miles and five furlongs when chasing home Iwilldoit in heavy ground at Warwick. A fine third in the Kim Muir, he could win but equally could plant his feet at the start.
29. MISTER COFFEY (Nicky Henderson; Nico de Boinville) 5/10
Did not appear to take to the fences in the Topham, but ran a cracker to be third in the National Hunt Chase at Cheltenham. His master trainer may have to wait a while longer to win the one big race missing from his CV.
30. CLOUDY GLEN (Venetia Williams; Charlie Deutsch) 6/10
Former Coral (Hennessy) Gold Cup winner who finished third to stablemate Quick Wave on his first run following over a year off at Haydock in February. Pulled up subsequently in the Ultima. Stays well and soft ground would aid his chance.
31. HILL SIXTEEN (Sandy Thomson; Ryan Mania) 6/10
Last season’s Becher Chase runner-up was seventh in this year’s renewal of that race. More needed, though an assured jumper and no forlorn hope at big odds.
32. GABBYS CROSS (Henry De Bromhead; Peter Carberry) 6/10
Quick enough to win over two and a half miles as a novice, he had plenty of support when eighth in the Thyestes at Gowran Park. Followed that with a fine third in the Leinster National. Handles soft ground and should stay.
33. RECITE A PRAYER (Willie Mullins; Jack Foley) 4/10
Cork National third needs to improve on his last two runs. Will likely stay, but in his own time.
34. EVA’S OSKAR (Tim Vaughan; Alan Johns) 5/10
Was in good form earlier this season and put up a career-best in winning at Cheltenham in December. A distant Eider fourth was a fine effort under top-weight at Newcastle, but the grey needs to find a little more.
35. OUR POWER (Sam Thomas; Sam Twiston-Davies) 7/10
A tidy, accurate jumper who is well handicapped on the back of wins at Ascot and Kempton. Trainer does well with staying chasers and every chance of going well.
36. DUNBOYNE (Gordon Elliott; Jack Tudor) 6/10
In good form this year. Came close to landing the Thyestes Chase before a decent effort when fourth in the Kim Muir. Will need to bely his relative inexperience to be a factor.
37. FRANCKY DU BERLAIS (Peter Bowen; Ben Jones) 2/10
Easily held in the Becher and while he took well to Cheltenham’s cross-country course on his penultimate start, he refused after running well for a long way the second time. Plenty to find.
38. FORTESCUE (Henry Daly; Hugh Nugent) 3/10
Becher fourth is the only worthwhile form shown this term and was going backwards when unseating four out last year.
39. BACK ON THE LASH (Martin Keighley; Adam Wedge) 4/10
Part-owned by Harry Redknapp, if transferring his liking for Cheltenham’s cross-country course to these iconic fences, he is not without hope. Should stay, yet perhaps lacks a touch of class.
40. BORN BY THE SEA (Paul John Gilligan; Phillip Enright) 1/10
Massive stamina doubts having spent the large majority of his career racing over shorter and even that form leaves him with plenty to find.
Another wide-open renewal of the world’s most famous steeplechase in which Irish trainers have provided four of the last five winners.
Strength in numbers means it is worth siding with the Irish raiders again. While Gordon Elliott, who scored with Tiger Roll in 2020 and 2021, is well positioned with several live chances, Martin Brassil also knows what it takes to win this and in LONGHOUSE POET he has a horse with many of the right credentials. A little too keen last year, he has been primed for this all season and if keeping clear of trouble near the head of affairs again, he is expected to run a huge race.
All distances seem to come alike to Noble Yeats, who has done little wrong since scoring last year. History is against him, but he is one for the shortlist again, especially as there has been sufficient recovery time from his Gold Cup exploits.
Picking the best of Elliott’s bunch is no easy task, although Galvin has a touch of class and could run into a place. Lifetime Ambition is wholly consistent and, if taking to the course, might take some valuable prize money for Jessica Harrington.
Corach Rambler, Le Milos, Roi Mage and Vanillier and are all of interest, but could just miss out on the placings.
1. LONGHOUSE POET. 2. Noble Yeats. 3. Galvin. 4. Lifetime Ambition.