Grand National 2024 | Vanillier installed as new 12/1 favourite

Vanillier, Grand National

Vanillier being installed as favourite for the 2024 Randox Grand National came as something of a surprise.

As the weights were announced during a lavish lunch in Liverpool on Tuesday, Gavin Cromwell’s 9yo was given a healthy 9lb swing advantage over defending champ Corach Rambler.

Vanillier (10st8lbs) will weigh lighter than his adversary (11st3lbs), whom he finished runner-up to last year.

Rated 151 to Rambler’s 159, the differential has done enough to convince bookmakers and with good reason, currently hovering around 12/1.

Following the in-form Cromwell only this past weekend picking up a National Trial win with Yeah Man, could glory now beckon for Vanillier?


Huge antepost

The idea of Vanillier being slashed in the markets is far from alien.

Indeed, in last year’s contest, shrewd market operators who backed the gelding early doors were rewarded after seeing his 100/1 SP tumble.

A benefactor of the weights allowance – much like on Tuesday – Vanillier dropped to 40s, before going off at 25/1 some 10 months ago.

However, his big-price SPs are for a reason, with victory in the 2021 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle one of just two wins in almost three years.

Even so, a second Grade 1 win should not be a huge shock.


Following up

So the task for Vanillier is to go one step further than last year, a tall but not impossible task.

In recent years, the weights for the National have not been decisive but Tuesday’s news is big for Cromwell’s stable.

Just ask Corach Rambler.

At the same time last year, after a weight allowance before his own Ultima win at Cheltenham just weeks later, the Lucinda Russell-trained gelding was the clear pick, albeit in hindsight.

Intriguingly, Rambler was 9yo when he won; the same age as Vanillier will be.

We can also look to another bridesmaid in the race for other recent potential pointers.

Any Second Now was third to Rachael Blackmore and Minella Times in 2021.

Twelve months on, the same horse was edged out by the sensation that was Noble Yeats.

Mark Walsh’s third crack in 2023 was however, less successful, having seen his mount pulled up.

One final note of even greater irony, it was Walsh who rode Vanillier to Cheltenham glory in 2021.



Vanillier and Corach Rambler head the markets, but the latter’s extra carry may now hamper.

The chances of just a second back-to-back National winner since Red Rum therefore, look doubtful.

So, as it stands what other early fancies might punters look at in the antepost?

There are just seven British-trained entries in the top 34.

One of a number of other prominent punts is runaway Welsh Grand National winner Nassalam, a decent shout at 28/1 with BetUK for Gary Moore.

Meanwhile, Hewick should be straight on the watchlist.

Despite the King George VI winner’s 11st2lbs off a rating of 169, Hewick will stay until the bitter end.

Cheltenham pending, JJ Hanlon’s gelding must be a consideration at 40/1 with Unibet.

As usual, keep your eyes peeled with BestofBets extensive race coverage as April approaches.


The 2024 Randox Grand National takes place at Aintree on Saturday 13 April, tape up at approx. 16:00 GMT.

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