Grand National Aintree 2023
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Landed back-to-back Ultima Handicap Chases at the Cheltenham Festival in March. Likes to be held up and come from off the pace, but doesn’t always find the most when hitting the front. Therefore, he would need to pick the runners off on the second circuit and leave it late to have a chance. Nice racing weight of just 10st 5lbs and also from the 2017 Grand National-winning yard of Lucinda Russell. Perfect age profile at 9 and, despite this being his first run in the race and over these fences, heads here lightly-raced with just 9 chase runs and 4 wins. Looks set to be one of the Grand National favourites and easy to see why – one negative is that only 3 horses that won at the Cheltenham Festival that same season have won since 1961.
Form: U1-541 / Official Rating: 146 / Weight: 10st 5lbs / Age: 9 / Trainer: Lucinda Russell
Last year’s shock Grand National winner at 50/1 is back to try and join Tiger Roll and Red Rum as the only recent back-to-back winners of the race. Also became the first 7 year-old National winner since 1940 when winning 12 months ago and has returned this season in great shape. Won the Many Clouds Chase at Aintree back in December and was a fine staying-on fourth in the Cheltenham Gold Cup last time out. The return to the longer trip is a big plus and at 8 years-old has time and age on his side. We know the fences suit so another big chance in a race that this stamina-happy horse loves. Downside for his backers is that he’s rated a massive 19lbs higher this year. The last horse to win the National with 11st-11lbs or more was Red Rum in 1974, and we’ve only had one winner carry this weight (or more) to victory since 1951.
Form: 1-P113 / Official Rating: 166 / Weight: 11st 11lbs / Age: 8 / Trainer: Emmet Mullins
Third in the Grand National and is back for more on a pound lower rating. Last seen better than ever when winning the Cross Country Chase at the Cheltenham Festival – beating his stablemate Galvin by 2½ lengths. Carried 11-9 in this race last year, so the handicapper has given him a chance here with 11-4 and 5lbs less in actual weight to carry this time. Does need to make up 22 lengths though, which is what distance this Gordon Elliott runner was behind Noble Yeats. Still a worthy contender though and we know he loves this style of fences. If successful would be giving his trainer his fourth win in the race and also owned by Gigginstown House Stud, who have won the National three times since 2016
Form: 13-136 / Official Rating: 159 / Weight: 11st 4lbs / Age: 10 / Trainer: Gordon Elliott
GAILLARD DU MESNIL
Not a fast horse, but that doesn’t matter in the Grand National. However, this Willie Mullins runner does have plenty of stamina to make up for his lack of pace. Stayed on well to take the NH Plate at the Cheltenham Festival last time out over 3m6f and was also third in the 2022 Irish Grand National. Therefore, we know he stays well and from his 9 career chase starts is yet to finish out of the first three (2 wins). First run in the race, so the ability to handle the fences taken on trust, but a sound jumper. The negatives would be his age (7), while he’s another recent Festival winner – and they don’t have the best record of following up in the National. Just 3 Cheltenham winners have won the National the same season since 1961.
Form: 3-2131 / Official Rating: 155 / Weight: 11st / Age: 7 / Trainer: Willie Mullins
From the powerful Willie Mullins yard, whose only win in the National to date came in 2005 with Hedgehunter. Last seen running a fair third in the Kim Muir Chase at the Cheltenham Festival – staying on to be just 5¾ lengths back. Lightly-raced with just seven career runs, so should have more to come, and the longer trip looks a plus. However, despite a 7 year-old winning last year, that was the first horse of that age to take the National since 1940 – so, this is still a big stat for him to overcome. On a plus, would only have 10-4 if getting into the race.
Form: 2RP-B2 / Official Rating: 145 / Weight: 10st 4lbs / Age: 7 / Trainer: Willie Mullins
ANY SECOND NOW
Regular in the race these days as this 11 year-old will be having his third run in the race. Was third in 2021 and runner-up 12 months ago, so is that 3-2 sequence continues will be winning this year’s Grand National! However, this JP McManus runner is not getting any younger at 11 and is also rated 8lbs higher this year. He’ll also have a big weight of 11-12 to carry – 4lbs more than 12 months ago. The positives are that he’s still loving his racing – winning well at Navan recently, which will set him up for another big run in a race we know he loves. Would be looking to give owner JP McManus his third Grand National win, after taking the prize in 2010 with Don’t Push It and 2021 with Minella Times. Trainer Ted Walsh won the National in 2000 with Papillon.
Form: 612-24 / Official Rating: 167 / Weight: 11st 12lbs / Age: 11 / Trainer: Ted Walsh
Fancied to run well in the race 12 months ago and did run a fair race to be 6th. However, was beaten 34 lengths at the line by the winner Noble Yeats so has a fair bit of ground to make up. Getting in here off the same mark as last year and another year older and wiser at 9 will help. Last seen winning at Down Royal in March, so heads here in winning form and his experience of the National fences will be a plus. Ground to make up but will carry 4lbs less than last year which helps. Place claims for this Irish raider.
Form: 76-P16 / Official Rating: 155 / Weight: 11st / Age: 9 / Trainer: Martin Brassil
Useful staying chaser that was fourth in the 2022 Cheltenham Gold Cup and was last seen running second in the Cross Country Chase to his stablemate Delta Work. Has won over 3m6f in the past too, so stamina will be fine in what will be his first try in this race. Another of those with a big weight though (11-11), so would be needing to defy some hefty weight stats to win, but is classy on his day and could easily hunt round the first part of the race and pick them off in the closing circuit. Chance, but a big weight burden makes life hard.
Form: 4-6146 / Official Rating: 166 / Weight: 11st 11lbs / Age: 9 / Trainer: Gordon Elliott
Has an exciting profile, with a nice weight at 10-11 and aged just 8. Moved to the Dan Skelton yard (from Tim Vaughan) last year and has done well to win two of his three starts for his new yard. Won the Coral Gold Cup back in November and was a close runner-up in the Premier Chase at Kelso in March. Should be spot-on for this and despite yet to race beyond 3m2f, looks the sort to relish the test. First run in the race and would be looking to give his trainer Dan Skelton a first National win. Live chance if taking to the fences.
Form: 114-11 / Official Rating: 152 / Weight: 10st 11lbs / Age: 8 / Trainer: Dan Skelton
AIN'T THAT A SHAME
Hails from the 2021 Grand National-winning yard of Henry De Bromhead and likely to sneak into the race as one of the bottom weights. Very lightly-raced for a 9 year-old – just 10 career runs – but was in winning form the last time when taking a Beginners Chase at Gowran Park in March. Has close form with The Big Dog too, when a close second to that horse in the Muster National last year. First run in the race and if taking to the fences would have a chance off a featherweight. But is another that might want the ground soft, and his lack of experience isn’t ideal.
Form: 220-24 / Official Rating: 146 / Weight: 10st 5lbs / Age: 9 / Trainer: Henry de Bromhead
Blew away the cobwebs with a run over hurdles last time out in March (3rd) and has experience over these fences when a decent fourth in the Grand Sefton Chase here last November. Is rated 7lbs higher this time though so more needed, but many feel he’s progressed since having run third to the now Cheltenham Gold Cup winner – Galopin Des Champs – to 14 ½ lengths at Punchestown in December. Debut run in the National and would be the first winner in the race for Irish trainer Jessie Harrington.
Form: -24234 / Official Rating: 158 / Weight: 11st 3lbs / Age: 8 / Trainer: Mrs John Harrington
THE BIG DOG
Fell last time out in the Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown – so coming into the National, a race where jumping is key, off the back of a defeat isn’t ideal. That said, is a useful staying chaser and prior to that tumble this 10 year-old was a fine third in the Coral Welsh National at Chepstow. Might also want the ground to have some degree of ‘soft’ in it to have a better chance, plus the 70-day absence from the track isn’t ideal with 77% of the last 31 winners having run within the last 34 days.
Form: 6-113F / Official Rating: 160 / Weight: 11st 5lbs / Age: 10 / Trainer: Peter Fahey
Interesting Irish runner from the Gavin Cromwell yard. Has a lovely racing weight (10-6) to carry and should be spot-on for this after a close second to the useful Kemboy in the Bobby Jo Chase last time out at Fairyhouse. Maybe, however, a bit to prove over this trip after weakening aver 3m6f in the NH Plate at Cheltenham last season, but is only 8 and could have more to come. First run in the National.
Form: 3-636F / Official Rating: 147 / Weight: 10st 6lbs / Age: 8 / Trainer: Gavin Cromwell
Another from the Willie Mullins yard and owned by JP McManus. Still only a 7 year-old, so would have this stat against him and has only run 6 times over fences (2 wins). Has shown that he’s certainly going the right way though and was a Grade One Novice Chase winner at the Punchestown Festival last April. Overall, a promising sort that has time on his side, but his lack of experience and big weight (11-5) you feel are hurdles that would be against him.
Form: 6-113F / Official Rating: 160 / Weight: 11st 5lbs / Age: 10 / Trainer: Peter Fahey
Won the Thyestes Chase for the Willie Mullins yard back in January. Since running 4th in the Bobbyjo Chase but would still come to the race as a very lightly-raced 11 year-old. Has only raced 7 times over fences, but has won 4 of those. Looks worth a crack at the race, with time against him, but might want the ground to be on the softer side to be seen at his best.
Form: 11U01 / Official Rating: 156 / Weight: 11st 1lb / Age: 11 / Trainer: Willie Mullins
Will carry the popular silks of the Gigginstown House Stud, that has won the National three times since 2016. Also another from the Gordon Elliott yard, that has three Nationals under their belt and this one looks a lively outsider for the stable. Proved his stamina to win last time at Punchestown over 3m4f in the Grand National Trial Chase, but has been hiked up 9lbs for that success. Also has experience in this race, when 8th twelve months ago – beaten 66 lengths – however, the horse lost a shoe in the race. Yes, is rated 5lbs higher than last year, but is another year older at 8 and with a ‘shoeless’ round can be expected to get closer this time.
Form: 8-9441 / Official Rating: 155 / Weight: 11st / Age: 8 / Trainer: Gordon Elliott
Form: 233154 / Official Rating: 154 / Weight: 10st 13lbs / Age: 10 / Trainer: J P O'Brien
Won at Kempton in February when outbattling Flegmatik in the Coral Trophy Handicap (the Old Racing Post Chase). That came off a 4-month break too, so can be expected to strip fitter this time. Would get in there with just 10st to carry having won 50% of his 8 chase runs certainly knows how to get his head in front. First run in the race and represents the former Gold Cup winning jockey Sam Thomas. Not without an e/w chance of getting into the race and taking to the fences.
Form: F135-1 / Official Rating: 141 / Weight: 10st / Age: 8 / Trainer: Sam Thomas
Runner-up in the Thyestes Chase at Gowran Park in January and was a fancy for the Kim Muir Chase at the Cheltenham Festival last time. But I could only manage fourth that day so I have a bit to answer. Only career chase win came on heavy ground too (from 7 runs) so any of the ‘wet stuff’ would be handy. Low weight (10st) will help and from the powerful Gordon Elliott yard – however, would be a shock winner on what we’ve seen in recent runs.
Form: 66R1P2 / Official Rating: 141 / Weight: 10st / Age: 8 / Trainer: Gordon Elliott
Form: 2-3133 / Official Rating: 161 / Weight: 11st 6lbs / Age: 9 / Trainer: Gordon Elliott
THE BIG BREAKAWAY
Just the one career win over fence from 11 runs is the slight worry, but is a horse with ability in these staying races, while, in his defense, he has been second 5 times too. Backed that up when a close second in the Welsh National over Christmas and is only rated 3lbs higher here. Fair racing weight at 10-10 to carry and first run in this race. The negative is he’ll be coming here off the back off a poor run in the Ultima Chase at Cheltenham (pulled up).
Form: 23P-22 / Official Rating: 151 / Weight: 10st 10lbs / Age: 8 / Trainer: Joe Tizzard
Irish runner that is another of the ones at the foot of the handicap and a low weight. Runner-up to Any Second Now last time at Navan was a fair run and before that beat a useful sort in Minella Crooner at Fairyhouse in February. Was also 6th in the 2022 Irish National – beaten just 8 lengths. Is, however, another 7 year-old in the race, so would need to defy this stat that’s seen only one winner of this age since 1940.
Form: 6-0PP1 / Official Rating: 147 / Weight: 10st 6lbs / Age: 7 / Trainer: Thomas Gibney
Form: 0-9220 / Official Rating: 149 / Weight: 10st 8lbs / Age: 9 / Trainer: Noel Meade
Form: 829-27 / Official Rating: 151 / Weight: 10st 10lbs / Age: 9 / Trainer: Gordon Elliott
Former Nigel Twiston-Davies runner who is now with the Sandy Thomson yard. Returned from a wind op to run well down the field at Kelso last time out and seems to have rather lost his way. His last win now was 13 runs back and in 2020. On a plus, though he does seem to like the National-style fences – having run 7th in the Becher Chase back in December and was runner-up in the 2021 Becher Chase too. Only 10-2 to carry and is slipping to a fair handicap mark.
Form: 42U-37 / Official Rating: 143 / Weight: 10st 2lbs / Age: 10 / Trainer: Sandy Thomson
From the Donald McCain yard that has plenty of National history over the years. Can ignore his last run as that was a spin over hurdles to ready himself for his – 10 of the last 19 Grand National winners had run over hurdles earlier that season. Prior to that had won twice at Perth last Spring/Summer and is only 2lbs higher this time. Stamina an unknown, as the furthest he’s gone to date is 3m, but this 9 year-old only has 10-6 to carry. Could be an interesting outsider from a yard that knows the time of day with their National runners.
Form: 1121-1 / Official Rating: 147 / Weight: 10st 6lbs / Age: 9 / Trainer: Donald McCain
Trainer Nicky Henderson is still hunting out his first win in the Grand National and it will probably be a shock if this horse is getting him off the mark. Has only had 8 career runs over fences, but is yet to win, with 5 silver medals. Last seen a 15-length third to Gaillard Du Mesnil at Cheltenham in the NH Chase and was runner-up in the 2022 Kim Muir. To his credit, has only finished out of the third three once (8 runs fences) and a low weight of 10-4 a help.
Form: 220-22 / Official Rating: 145 / Weight: 10st 4lbs / Age: 8 / Trainer: Nicky Henderson
RECITE A PRAYER
Another Willie Mullins runner in the race and a bigger priced entry. Well back in the Becher Chase over these fences in December but at least has experience over these obstacles and stayed well to be 3rd in the Cork National back in November over 3m4f.
Form: 1P-P87 / Official Rating: 142 / Weight: 10st 1lb / Age: 8 / Trainer: Willie Mullins
Fell in the Cross Country race at Cheltenham on Trials Day at the end of January, but bounced back from that to be a close second at Down Royal over 3m2f last time to Longhouse Poet. Would be another that would enjoy the softer ground and no spring chicken at 11 – however, we have seen three 11 year-olds win the race since 2012. Nice racing weight helps and experienced sort with 38 runs over fences (8 wins), but you just feel some younger legs might outgun him here.
Form: 17-33F / Official Rating: 149 / Weight: 10st 8lbs / Age: 11 / Trainer: Patrick Griffin
A WAVE OF THE SEA
Ran another top race at the Dublin Racing Festival in February but since pulled up in the Grand Annual Chase at Cheltenham. Only 7, but the big negative is the trip with all his best runs to date coming over a lot shorter.
Form: F64P03 / Official Rating: 147 / Weight: 10st 6lbs / Age: 7 / Trainer: Joseph Patrick O'Brien
BACK ON THE LASH
Often seen running in the Cross Country Chase at Cheltenham, but ran no sort of race there last time, when pulled up at the Festival. That said, has won over that track so looks well worth a crack over the National fences with a similar test on show here. Would need a fair few to come out of the race to get in, but part-owned by former Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp, so will be hoping to hit the back of the net (pun intended).
Form: P-9231 / Official Rating: 140 / Weight: 9st 13lbs / Age: 9 / Trainer: Martin Keighley
BORN BY THE SEA
Form: -23530 / Official Rating: 137 / Weight: 9st 10lbs / Age: 9 / Trainer: Paul John Gilligan
Fourth to Velvet Elvis last time at Fairyhouse so much more needed. Both career chase wins have been over 2m4f and 2m1f too, so the National trip is a big unknown. Is also another 7 year-old in the race, so hard to get too jiggy about this John Joseph Hanlon runner.
Form: 92F304 / Official Rating: 149 / Weight: 10st 8lbs / Age: 7 / Trainer: John Joseph Hanlon
Over the years has looked like a typical National type. Comes from the Venetia Williams yard that won this in 2009 with Mon Mome, while runs in the colours of the late Trevor Hemmings, who won the National three times. Does need to recover from being pulled up in the Ultima Chase at Cheltenham though, but before that was a fair third in the Grand National Trial at Haydock. Also won the Ladbrokes Trophy Chase (Old Hennessy) in 2021 and is only rated 5lbs higher here. Has had his training setbacks, but hard to ignore off just 10-4 in weight.
Form: 1P9-3 / Official Rating: 145 / Weight: 10st 4lbs / Age: 10 / Trainer: Venetia Williams
Got no further than the first fence in the race last year but returns this time on a 2lbs lower rating. Should be fitter for a 6th in the G3 Bobbyjo Chase at Fairyhouse last time out in February and could be a tad overpriced considering he went off 20/1 for the National last year. Another for the green and gold silks of JP McManus.
Form: U9-000 / Official Rating: 146 / Weight: 10st 5lbs / Age: 9 / Trainer: Ciaran Murphy
Interesting contender from the Tim Vaughan yard that is having his first run in the race. Is a grey horse, so will get all the normal ‘grey’ attention as he looks to become only the four winning Grand National grey horse. Won a decent handicap at Cheltenham as their December Meeting and was a fair 4th in the Eider Chase at Newcastle last time out. Only 10-1 in weight to carry, which will feel like a featherweight after having to lump around 12st the last twice.
Form: 1-6216 / Official Rating: 142 / Weight: 10st 1lb / Age: 9 / Trainer: Tim Vaughan
Ran a blinder to be 4th in the Becher Chase over these fences at Aintree in December. Since pulled up in the Welsh Grand National, but a better 5th in the Grand National Trial at Haydock. Also ran in the 2022 National, but unseated late on when well back at the time. The handicapper has given him a chance on a 3lb lower mark this time but would need a lot to come out and might be seen in the Topham Chase if so.
Form: U-44P5 / Official Rating: 140 / Weight: 9st 13lbs / Age: 9 / Trainer: Henry Daly
FRANCKY DU BERLAIS
Might have held on for third in the Cross-Country last time if he hadn’t jinked at the last and unseated Ben Jones. Was 15th in the Becher Chase over these fences in December and fourth in the Topham Chase at this meeting 12 months ago. Only 10st is a big bonus and we know the horse is suited to the fences. Would need several to come out to get into the race, but if not could see him in the Topham Chase again at the fixture.
Form: 120005 / Official Rating: 141 / Weight: 10st / Age: 10 / Trainer: Peter Bowen
Bits and pieces of form give him some glimmer of a chance, but this Henry De Bromhead 8 year-old would have big questions surrounding the trip. The furthest he’s gone is 3m1f to date and that was a well-beaten 8th (18) in the Thyestes Chase at Gowran Park.
Form: -51568 / Official Rating: 143 / Weight: 10st 2lbs / Age: 8 / Trainer: Henry De Bromhead
Has won over 3m1f in the last at Aintree, so stamina should be fine here. Winner of 3 of his 12 chase starts and will be spot on for this after a spin over hurdles recently at Uttoxeter. Was also only 4 lengths behind the since Gold Cup second Bravemansgame in the Charlie Hall Chase in October so if being that level of form to the table, this 11 year-old is an interesting outsider despite having 11-4 to carry.