- When: 13th April 2024
- Where: Aintree, Liverpool
- Watch: ITV Racing
- Official Website: Randox Health Grand National
The Grand National is a steeplechase held every year in either late March or early April at Aintree racecourse on Merseyside. The race is one of sport’s great spectacles, with a field of up to 40 runners and riders taking on those famous fences over the marathon distance of 4 miles 2½ furlongs.
The Grand National is probably the most iconic horse race in the world, watched by tens of thousands in attendance and by millions around the world who tune in to watch on tv. It normally comes with a monumental prize fund of £1 million, with winning horses, jockeys and trainers cementing their place in the history books.
The race is the climax to the three day Aintree Grand National Festival, which starts on a Thursday, with the big race itself taking place on the Saturday. Below we will give you all the pointers you need to select your horse for The National, as well as highlighting the best promotions and extra place offers available when it comes to placing your bets.
Number Of Places On The Grand National
One huge thing to look at when choosing who to place your bets with is the number of places they pay out to, as it can literally mean the difference between your bet winning or losing. Put simply the number of places is the position the horse can come in and win the 'Place' portion of an each way bet.
So if you horse comes in 6th and your bookie pays to 5 places, you will have lost your bet. But if they pay to 6 places, then you win. Bit of a no brainer to pick someone with the most places, right? You might decide to have 5 places instead of 6 in return for 1/4 odds rather than 1/5 odds however.
New Customer Offers
For a bigger bonus check out 10bet who are offering a bonus of up to £50 to new customers. The bonus is based on the value of you first deposit and you'll receive 50% up to the maximum of £50.
Existing Customer Free Bets & Money Back Offers
Note: Offers will appear here nearer the event as and when they become available.
Grand National Betting Tips
Please note: The following tips are for 2023 and will be updated shortly before the event starts.
Approximately one month on from the mighty Cheltenham Festival, the Merseyside venue of Aintree plays host to the second of the major springtime festivals. Cheltenham undoubtedly has its selling points, but it is this fixture which boasts the most famous British race of them all - sweepstakes and lucky pins at the ready, it’s Grand National time once again!
With a cool £1m in total prize money up for grabs - £500,000 of which is earmarked for connections of the winner – this is the most valuable National Hunt event of the season, and behind only the £1.5m Epsom Derby amongst all British races. With such riches and a place in the history books on offer, it is no surprise that this contest invariably fills to capacity, and we once again have a maximum field of 40 set to go to post in 2023.
Of course, the question on everyone’s lips is, “Who’s going to win?”. Here we take a look at the main contenders and a selection of lively outsiders, before picking out our best bets for the great race.
Lucinda Russell and Derek Fox landed a famous success for Scotland with One For Arthur in 2017 and will have high hopes of a second National triumph this year, as their challenger, Corach Rambler, currently sits atop the betting market at around the 7/1 mark. A winner of four of his nine starts over fences, his two biggest successes have come in the past two editions of the Ultima Handicap Chase.
Winning that big event at the Cheltenham Festival off a mark of 140 in 2022, he again came home in front this year when running off 146. The big selling point for this one is the fact that the Grand National weights had been released prior to that Cheltenham success, meaning he gets to run off the same rating of 146 – making him officially 10lb well in on the handicap based on his current mark of 156. On the downside, he has only run once over anything approaching this trip, when beaten 19 lengths in the 2022 Classic Chase at Warwick.
Next in line is last year's third-placed finisher, Delta Work (8/1), with the Gordon Elliott star following a similar path to the race as he did 12 months ago. Just too good for Tiger Roll in the 2022 Cross Country Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, he mastered another of his stablemates, Galvin, to successfully defend his crown this year. Clearly in form, and a five-time Grade 1 winner in his pomp, he looks an obvious contender to be involved. Beaten by 22 lengths in 2022, a 1lb drop in the handicap doesn’t make him obviously well handicapped, but on the plus side he is now fully 20lbs better off with last year's winner, Noble Yeats.
It is the defending champion, Noble Yeats (9/1), who is the only other runner currently available at a single-figure price. Barring a pulled-up effort at Auteuil, this Emmet Mullins runner has largely gone from strength to strength since that famous success. He won a Listed event at Wexford, a Grade 2 at this track, and most recently was seen staying on into fourth in the Cheltenham Gold Cup. A 19lb higher mark than in 2022 undoubtedly makes life tougher, but a proven ability to handle the trip and fences counts for plenty, and he will likely be the choice of many.
Another towards the head of the market, who gets a huge tick in the course form box, is the Ted Walsh-trained, Any Second Now (16/1). Third in 2021, and second in 2022, he will likely make another good go of it, and is 13lbs better off with Noble Yeats for a 2¼l defeat.
Moving further down the list, Gordon Elliott’s Galvin (20/1) can be fancied to go well from towards the head of the weights. Like many in the field, he is yet to race over this far, but his two starts over 3m6f have yielded an impressive win in the 2021 National Hunt Chase, and a runner-up finish to Delta Work last time out in the Cross Country Chase.
Henry De Bromhead’s Gabbys Cross (50/1) looks a decent fit on the trends, is unexposed over marathon trips and gets in with a light weight. However, Rachael Blackmore has instead opted to ride, Ain’t That A Shame (20/1), which will likely be enough to attract each-way support for the nine-year-old, with De Bromhead and Blackmore having teamed up to land this with Minella Times in 2021.
Minella Times doesn’t go to post this year, but a horse by the name of Minella Trump does, and he may just be flying a little under the radar at a really big price. Hailing from the Grand National-winning yard of Donald McCain – son of the legendary trainer of Red Rum, Ginger McCain – this one has only once finished outside of the first three in 12 starts over fences. The fact that he is yet to race beyond 3m is the big question mark, but encouragingly he is a perfect four from four over that 3m trip, suggesting that stamina may well be his strong suit. Given a quiet prep in a hurdles event at Bangor, he looks interesting at odds of around 66/1.
Predictions & Tips
The first three from last season are top of our shortlist, and from that trio, it is Delta Work who just edges out Any Second Now as the main selection. At 19lbs and 9lbs better off with Noble Yeats and Any Second Now respectively, he is only 1lb lower in the handicap himself, but actually carries 5lbs less in real terms, which could make a big difference around here. Arriving in tip-top shape following that strong staying success at the Cheltenham Festival, he is fancied to go very close to landing another National for Gigginstown House Stud.
For an each-way punt, it may just be worth taking a chance on Minella Trump. Hailing from a yard steeped in Grand National history, he has steadily improved as he has been stepped up in trip, and has effectively been put away for this since winning a handicap at Perth in June of 2022. With that recent spin over hurdles likely to have blown away the cobwebs, he looks a sporting bet to hit the frame, particularly with a number of firms offering each-way terms on the first seven finishers – and some being even more generous than that.
Betting Tip – Delta Work at 8/1
Each Way Tip – Minella Trump at 66/1
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- Longest & Shortest Odds Winners In The Grand National
2023 Grand National Entrants
|Any Second Now||11-12||1||11||Ted Walsh||Mark Walsh||12/1|
|Noble Yeats||11-11||2||8||Emmet Mullins||Sean Bowen||7/1|
|Galvin||11-11||3||9||Gordon Elliott||Davy Russell||20/1|
|Fury Road||11-6||4||9||Gordon Elliott||Jonjo O’Neill Jr||40/1|
|The Big Dog||11-5||5||10||Peter Fahey||Aidan Coleman||25/1|
|Capodanno||11-5||6||7||Willie Mullins||Danny Mullins||16/1|
|Delta Work||11-4||7||10||Gordon Elliott||Keith Donoghue||8/1|
|Sam Brown||11-4||8||11||Anthony Honeyball||Jonathan Burke||80/1|
|Lifetime Ambition||11-3||9||8||Jessica Harrington||Sean O’Keeffe||25/1|
|Carefully Selected||11-1||10||11||Willie Mullins||Michael O’Sullivan||33/1|
|Coko Beach||11-0||11||8||Gordon Elliott||Harry Cobden||33/1|
|Longhouse Poet||11-0||12||9||Martin Brassil||J J Selvin||12/1|
|Gaillard Du Mesnil||11-0||13||7||Willie Mullins||Paul Townend||12/1|
|Darasso||10-13||14||10||Joseph Patrick O’Brien||Luke Dempsey||40/1|
|Le Milos||10-11||15||8||Dan Skelton||Harry Skelton||14/1|
|Escaria Ten||10-10||16||9||Gordon Elliott||Adrian Heskin||100/1|
|The Big Breakaway||10-10||17||8||Joe Tizzard||Brendan Powell||33/1|
|Cape Gentleman||10-8||18||7||John Joseph Hanlon||Jody McGarvey||100/1|
|Roi Mage||10-8||19||11||Patrick Griffin||Felix De Giles||40/1|
|Diol Ker||10-8||20||9||Noel Meade||Kieren Buckley||66/1|
|A Wave Of The Sea||10-6||21||7||Joseph Patrick O’Brien||Shane Fitzgerald||100/1|
|Minella Trump||10-6||22||9||Donald McCain||Theo Gillard||66/1|
|Vanillier||10-6||23||8||Gavin Cromwell||Sean Flanagan||16/1|
|Velvet Elvis||10-6||24||7||Thomas Gibney||Darragh O’Keeffe||40/1|
|Ain’t That A Shame||10-5||25||9||Henry de Bromhead||Rachael Blackmore||20/1|
|Corach Rambler||10-5||26||9||Lucinda Russell||Derek Fox||6/1|
|Enjoy D’allen||10-5||27||9||Ciaran Murphy||Simon Torrens||66/1|
|Mr Incredible||10-4||28||7||Willie Mullins||Brian Hayes||14/1|
|Mister Coffey||10-4||29||8||Nicky Henderson||Nico de Boinville||40/1|
|Cloudy Glen||10-4||30||10||Venetia Williams||Charlie Deutsch||66/1|
|Hill Sixteen||10-2||31||10||Sandy Thomson||Ryan Mania||66/1|
|Gabbys Cross||10-2||32||8||Henry de Bromhead||Peter Carberry||50/1|
|Recite A Prayer||10-1||33||8||Willie Mullins||Jack Foley||100/1|
|Eva’s Oscar||10-1||34||9||Tim Vaughan||Alan Johns||50/1|
|Our Power||10-0||35||8||Sam Thomas||Sam Twiston-Davies||20/1|
|Dunboyne||10-0||36||8||Gordon Elliott||Jack Tudor||50/1|
|Francky Du Berlais||10-0||37||10||Peter Bowen||Ben Jones||66/1|
|Fortescue||9-13||38||9||Henry Daly||Hugh Nugent||66/1|
|Back On The Lash||9-13||39||9||Martin Keighley||Adam Wedge||50/1|
|Born By The Sea||9-10||40||9||Paul John Gilligan||Phillip Enright||100/1|
2023 Grand National Full Result
|1||Corach Rambler||Derek Fox||Lucinda Russell||10-5||8/1|
|2||Vanillier||Sean Flanagan||Gavin Cromwell||10-6||20/1|
|3||Gaillard Du Mesnil||Paul Townend||Willie Mullins||11-0||10/1|
|4||Noble Yeats||Sean Bowen||Emmet Mullins||11-11||10/1|
|5||The Big Dog||Aidan Coleman||Peter Fahey||11-5||12/1|
|6||Born By The Sea||Phillip Enright||Paul John Gilligan||10-2||50/1|
|7||Roi Mage||Felix De Giles||Patrick Griffin||10-8||33/1|
|8||Mister Coffey||Nico de Boinville||Nicky Henderson||10-4||33/1|
|9||A Wave Of The Sea||Shane Fitzgerald||Joseph Patrick O’Brien||10-6||66/1|
|10||Le Milos||Harry Skelton||Dan Skelton||10-11||12/1|
|11||Our Power||Sam Twiston-Davies||Sam Thomas||10-2||25/1|
|12||Enjoy D’allen||Simon Torrens||Ciaran Murphy||10-5||50/1|
|13||Fortescue||Hugh Nugent||Henry Daly||10-2||100/1|
|14||Carefully Selected||Michael O’Sullivan||Willie Mullins||11-1||50/1|
|15||Minella Trump||Theo Gillard||Donald McCain||10-6||50/1|
|16||Francky Du Berlais||Ben Jones||Peter Bowen||10-2||125/1|
|17||Ain’t That A Shame||Rachael Blackmore||Henry de Bromhead||10-5||10/1|
About The Grand National
The Grand National takes place at Aintree Racecourse in Liverpool. The race was first run in 1836, making it one of the oldest races still in existence. The stand out feature of the Grand National is the sheer length of the race, measuring a massive four miles two and a half furlongs, often taking around ten minutes for the horses to complete.
The Grand National is always held in April and usually takes place on the first or second weekend of the month. Due to the race being held on free-to-air television its the most watched horse race in the world, with a reported six hundred million million people tuning in every year, from over one hundred and forty countries.
The Origins of The Grand National
The race was the brainchild of a man called William Lynn, who wanted to host a horse race, so leased some land from the Second Earl of Sefton to do it. That was back in 1829, when Lynn laid out the racecourse, built a grandstand and asked the Earl of Sefton to place the foundation stone. If you’ve read anything about the history of the Grand National before now then you’ll know that the first official race took place in 1836, which is because there’s no definitive proof that the races before that year actually took place at Aintree.
Though the race’s inaugural running was in 1836, it wasn’t until the end of the decade that Aintree started to be taken more seriously by the wider racing community. The fact that the Great St. Albans Chase stopped in 1838 might have something to do with that. Also the fact that train travel was becoming more popular, and Liverpool Lime Street Station was one of the largest train stations in the world, might have encouraged more spectators to travel to watch the race. Whatever the reason, its popularity grew, which might go a long way to explain why 1839 is considered to be the official first running of the race.
Becoming a Handicap Chase
When the National was first run it was a weight-for-age race, which was what William Lynn wanted it to be. As his health started to fail, however, he began to hand over the organisation of the race to Edward Topham, who was a well respected handicapper. Fitting with his own expertise, Topham decided to change the National to make a handicap race, which in turn meant that it became a far more open contest. That happened for the first time in 1843 and it was run as a handicap race from then on. With each passing year the Grand National garnered more and more attention, becoming one of the most popular races in the British racing calendar.
A Predictably Unpredictable Race
Part of the reason for the race’s burgeoning popularity was the fact that punters felt as if any of the participating horses could win it. That idea would later be solidified in 1967 when a horse named Popham Down, that had unseated its rider earlier in the race, veered in front of the twenty-third fence. As it veered it crashed into Rutherford and a pileup ensued, causing virtually every horse to either fall or refuse to jump the fence. Every horse, that is, apart from Foinavon who was so far behind the main horses that it was able to steer around them, jump the fence and win the race as a 100/1 outsider.
That pileup came about forty years after another famous race that saw a different 100/1 winner. In 1967 it was all about the pileup, whilst in 1928 Tipperary Tim won because forty-one of the other horses fell during the race, leaving the long-shot to finish almost uncontested.
Another interesting story took place in 1956 when Devon Loch, owned by the Queen and Queen Mother, was running towards the finish line after making it over the final fence but collapsed before ending the race. The most famous horse of all time however when it comes to the National is undoubtedly Red Rum.
Red Rum, a National Hero
Red Rum was bought for the equivalent of about £420 in today’s money back in 1966. Ginger McCain, the trainer, then purchased him for the equivalent of about £6,300 and soon realised the potential that he had. McCain had heard stories of lame carthorses being run in the sea, so when he noticed that Red Rum was showing signs of being lame he took him into the sea at Southport Beach. Whether the horse would’ve become lame or not will never be known, but it’s entirely fair to say that he recovered from whatever problems he was having.
Red Rum’s love affair with the National began in 1973. In the race he found himself fifteen lengths behind a horse by the name of Crisp by the last fence. Despite the huge lead, Red Rum caught him up and won the race by three-quarters of a length. He defended his title the following year, finished second in both 1975 and 1976 before winning again in 1977. No other horse has ever managed to win the race more than twice, meaning that Red Rum remains a record-setting horse. References to this great champion can be found all around Aintree Racecourse.
Seagram Just the Tonic in the 1980’s
Despite many romantic races over the years, such as the time Bob Champion winning the race in 1981 despite having been diagnosed with testicular cancer two years earlier and given only months to live, the Grand National was becoming less and less prestigious as the 1980s wore on. A likely cause would have been the state of the city of Liverpool itself at the time, with strikes, riots and a decision by Margaret Thatcher and her government to leave the city in a state of ‘managed decline’.
Regardless of the reasons, the Grand National had lost its lustre. As a result, a decision was taken to bring on a sponsor, with the Canadian company Seagram taking on the duty. It was at this time that the race also moved under the umbrella of the Jockey Club, who put money into the race in order to revive its fortunes and ensure that people would still take it seriously. The combination of the sponsorship and the Jockey Club worked, with the race regaining its popularity heading into the 1990s.
Rerun and Abandoned Races in the 1990’s
In 1992 the race became known as the Martell Grand National, with the brandy maker taking over from Seagram as the chief sponsor. It was to be a decade of controversy for the National. In 1993, for example, a jockey was entangled in the starting tape and a false start had to be declared. This wasn’t communicated well to the rest of the field however, and thirty of the thirty-nine horses in the race ended up completing the circuit. Seven of them ran the entire way around, with Esha Ness crossing the line first. Unfortunately the fact that a restart had been called meant that the race was declared void, meaning that Esha Ness is known as the horse that won ‘The Race That Never Was’.
That was an unfortunate occurrence but wasn’t as serious as what happened in 1997. With horses, jockeys, owners and racegoers all arriving in Aintree, it was declared that the race would be abandoned after the Irish Republican Army had called in one coded bomb threat followed by another. The people of Liverpool threw open their doors to those that couldn’t leave the city as coaches and cars were locked inside the racecourse. The National was run on the following Monday instead, with twenty-thousand people given free entry to the course.
Animal Welfare Concerns Addressed
The race is a steeplechase and one of its crowning glories is the challenge it poses to the horses to get over some of the monumental fences that are on offer. In fact, a lot of the horses fail to finish the race, either due to exhaustion or falling when jumping. However, in more recent years this has brought the race under scrutiny from animal welfare groups, claiming that the test is too much for most. Supporters argue that the aim of the Grand National is to be the ultimate test for both horses and jockeys alike.
Even so, it has always been the aim of the organisers of the Grand National to make it a challenge without putting the lives of the animals at risk. The British Horseracing Authority suggest that four horse die in steeplechases for every one thousand that take part in them. In the decade between 2000 and 2010, though, the figure was higher for the Grand National as six of four hundred and thirty-nine horses died during that period. As a result, those at Aintree have worked closely with animal welfare parties to make the race as safe as it can be.
Changes brought in include the modification of fences such as Becher’s Brook to see the drop made shorter and the incline less severe. Changes have meant that no horses died in the Grand National between 2012 and 2018 however, Up For Review in 2019, The Long Mile in 2021, Eclair Surf and Discorama in 2022 and Hill Sixteen in 2023 were all sadly fatally injured during the race. Those that weren’t keen on the race being altered pointed to the twelve horses that died between 1970 and 1989, a time when the welfare of the animals taking part in the event was barely considered. Regardless, the changes have helped to appease the more vociferous concerns.
The Famous Fences
The National asks horses to jump thirty fences over two laps. Sixteen of these fences are found on the first circuit, with fourteen of those to be jumped again on the second. If you’re wondering, the Water Jump and The Chair are the two that are only jumped the first time around. Here’s a look at some of the other well-known fences.
The first fence is one that often catches a lot of the horse out, due it being a significant distance from the start, meaning they are travelling at quite a pace by the time they reach it. The 1.37 metre fence is notorious for fallers, with many bookmakers actually offering odds for certain numbers and even specific horses to fall at this point.
Becher’s Brook is the first of the high-profile fences and comes sixth on the course. It stands at a daunting 1.52 metres and includes a water splash at the landing side. It requires a great deal skill and timing to negotiate it properly. The name came from Captain Martin Becher, who fell there in first Grand National, to then take refuge in the Brook to avoid getting trampled on by passing horses. Valentine’s reportedly received its name when a horse named Valentine jumped over the ninth fence backwards in 1840.
The Chair is the biggest fence on the course, measuring a massive 1.57 metres. The ground leading up to the jump is actually six inches higher than the landing side, which is tough for the horse and jockey to anticipate and negotiate. The fence still remains the only one from the race to have taken a human life, which happened back in 1862 when Joseph Wynne fell from his horse, passing away later that day.
The horse that has won the Grand National the most time is the aforementioned Red Rum. His three victories in 1973, 1974 and 1977 have never been repeated and are the main reason why Red Rum went on to be one of the most iconic horses in racing history.
The trainer Ginger McCain is the joint most successful trainer of all time, winning the National no less than four times. As well as being the trainer of Red Rum for all of his wins, McCain managed to repeat the feat with Amberleigh House in 2004. Two other trainers, Fred Rimell and George Dockeray, have also won four Grand Nationals.
Throughout the race’s history, the longest price to ever win the race was 100/1, which has happened on five occasions. Mon Mome is the most recent horses to win the race at that price in 2009. AP McCoy has had the second most rides in the Grand National at twenty, but it took him fifteen attempts to get his only win in 2010 with Don’t Push It. Richard Johnson has the most rides at 21 though he never won the race. Here are some other interesting facts about the race and its history:
- Just 15% of favourites have gone on to win the race since it first took place
- 63% of horses that start the race fail to complete it, which is around twenty-five horses in a field of forty
- The Chair and the Water Jump have reputations as being tough fences, but only around 2.5% of all horses fall at them in total
- The First is the fence most likely to claim a horse and rider, with Becher’s Brook the second most likely
- In 1929, sixty-six horses took part in the race – the largest field ever
- Since 1990, the average age of the winning horse is 9.8
- Just three grey horses have won the race. The Lamb (1868), Nicolaus Silver (1961) and Neptune Collonges (2012)
- Neptune Collenges won the race by a nose over Sunnyhillboy in 2012, the closest ever finish in the Grand National
- The first female jockey to compete in the race was Charlotte Brew in 1977
- The first female winning jockey was Rachael Blackmore in 2021 on Minella Times
- The Grand National is the principle race at the end of a three day festival of racing