All this week has been building up for this moment. 40 horses, 30 fences, 10 minutes. The wildest, most exhilarating, most watched race in the world is back. The Grand National. Everyone will have their own picks, from the colour of the silks, to one with a good name, it’s a lottery. Here are my five picks for the national, that I think will come home the strongest.
MAIN PICK: DIOL KER – 80/1
I have had my eye on this horse for a while now. The more I read into him, the more I think he’s got a shot of finishing in, at least, the top five. His run in the Grand National trial wasn’t great, but it seemed he needed it softer. Bottomless ground is his forte, and the ground should be soft on Saturday for him. That soft ground form, and the big distance he’ll run says he will stay for the whole trip. Noel Meade, the trainer, hasn’t also said that the track at Aintree will suit better than Punchestown. He has national experience, winning the Leinster National in 2022 off a mark of 137. He’s off 149, but his weight is under 11st, which is always a good sign for a debutant in the National.
NEXT BEST: CORACH RAMBLER – 10/1
He’s been antepost for such a long-time, and only was backed out of favouritism on Friday morning. But that doesn’t take away how good this horse is. Two Ultima chases, which was where the winner came from last year, and his relentless staying power makes him a fan favourite. Derek Fox will have to ride him to a career best to win the race, as usually he’s held up from the back, and sometimes you’d like to be a bit closer to the front in the National. Too far out the back can often leave you outpaced. But Corach Rambler knows his race tactics, and could deliver a performance similar to his 2022 Ultima win. Out the back at halfway, and stays on late in the day to win. The whole of Scotland will cheer on Corach Rambler in Liverpool on Saturday.
RANK OUTSIDER: ESCARIA TEN – 100/1
His mark might not look interesting, but then you look at his weight and suddenly it makes for a bit more appeal. 1lb lower mark than last year, but 5lbs lower in the weights than last year, may make up for his ninth placed finish. He got round the course fine, but cracked at the second last and wandered over the line. The relaxing in the weights makes a bit more appeal, and after his debut he’ll know his way round that bit better. Gordon Elliott was tight-lipped, but said he goes better over longer trips. He’s right, in a way. He finished second as a novice in the 3m 6F National Hunt Cup and likes testing ground, showing that he is an outright stayer. His weight makes appeal for him to cross the line, and finish the race better than he did last year, for me.
PINSTICKER: THE BIG BREAKAWAY – 40/1
If you know nothing about the National, or any of the 40 horses, then this horse might make appeal. He finished second in the Welsh National this year, which is always a good sign. A horse that has competed in Nationals, or longer trips, always perform well in the National. He pulled up last toe, but that could be due the big weight he was given to carry that day. In the national he’s carrying a stone less than he did at Cheltenham, and remains at the same mark of 151. A big distance and a player on soft ground, Joe Tizzard can go one better than his father and win the Grand National.
EMOTIONAL ENDING: GALVIN – 20/1
Last year, Sam Wahley-Cohen announced he was leaving the saddle 24 hours before he was due to ride Noble Yeats. 24 hours later he won the Grand National on Noble Yeats. And history could repeat itself. Davy Russell announced a shock retirement on a mundane Sunday at Thurles. Jack Kennedy then broke his leg at Naas, prompting the two-time Grand National winner to come out of retirement until the end of the season. In what should be his last Grand National ride, he rides Galvin. He put in a sterling effort to finish behind Delta Work in the Cross-Country at Cheltenham, which has been a go to race for winners of this race. He seems to have the make-up of a National horse, but given that it his debut he doesn’t have a better jockey on board to win with than Davy Russell.
Whoever you are on this Grand National the very best of luck!
Why not check out my selections for the other races on Day Three! Click the link here
All prices are with William Hill – Official Betting Partner of the Grand National.