2024 Grand National Preview: Corach Rambler bids for repeat at Aintree

April 12th, 2024

Other than the normal questions punters ask themselves each year, the Grand National has an extra one to think about in 2024: will the notable changes to the race make any difference in how to bet on it?

The Grand National is the race for once-a-year punters in Britain for many reasons. It is a good-class event which tests jumping ability and stamina like few others in England, but a controversial one because of the risk to the horses.

This year there’s a couple of notable changes, and it will be interesting to see what impact they have on the race. 

Firstly, the maximum number of runners has been cut from 40 to 34, which should cut some of the traffic problems. Secondly, the distance from the start to the first fence – which because more horses get there around the same time tends to have the highest fall rate of any fence – has been shortened by 60 yards, so horses will be running at a slower speed when they get there.

The most notable change – hopefully – is that there should be fewer falls. It may also mean less luck will be involved in winning it. But despite this, it’s still a 4 5/16-mile chase under handicap conditions over tough fences, so unpredictability still forms a major part of the contest.

As seems the case in most major jumps races in Britain these days, the race is numerically dominated by the Irish. Leading trainers Willie Mullins and Gordon Elliott both have an astonishing eight runners each, while other Irish trainers account for 10 of the other 18 runners.

However, it may well be the British defending champ, #7 Corach Rambler, who comes out on top.

As he showed last year, he can handle the National fences and the distance. The biggest issue is that he’s carrying 13 pounds more than last year, but he still looks well-weighted given he finished third in the Cheltenham Gold Cup (G1), Britain’s most prestigious steeplechase, in mid-March.

That day he was 12 lengths behind winner Galopin Des Champs; it may be worth noting that likely second-favorite #5 I Am Maximus was 17 1/2 lengths behind Galopin Des Champs in the Irish Gold Cup Feb. 3.

Last year’s runner-up #17 Vanillier is back for another go, but one that may be worth considering equally is #18 Mr Incredible. He was well up with the leaders when falling at the 24th fence last year, and is getting nine pounds from Corach Rambler.

Others that look like decent chances are the former Cheltenham Cross Country winner #11 Delta Work, the in-form #10 Mahler Mission, and former Gold Cup winner #6 Minella Indo.

Invariably there’s a lightweight at good odds that runs well in this race as well; the ones that appeal most to me are #20 Latenightpass, who has been in good form in cross-country races this term, and #30 Galia Des Liteaux, from the hot stable of Dan Skelton.

Spreading your bets around is often a good tactic for the Grand National, so I’m taking Corach Rambler on top but with a few extras along the way.

Aintree Race 5 Selections

  • #7 Corach Rambler
  • #18 Mr Incredible
  • #5 I Am Maximus
  • #30 Galia Des Liteaux

Aintree Race 5 Wagers

  • $10 win/$30 show: #7 Corach Rambler
  • $10 show: #30 Galia Des Liteaux
  • $1 exacta: 5, 7, 18 with 5, 6, 7, 10, 11, 17, 18, 20, 30