Grand National Preview 2023: Gaillard Du Mesnil a leading chance

April 15th, 2023

It’s time for the most popular betting race in Britain, and arguably the world, the Grand National Steeplechase. The rich event is of course one of the most notoriously difficult to predict. The huge field, the handicap conditions, the extreme distance of 4 1/4 miles, and the challenging fences mean the uncertainties are high.

All of this makes it feel like a bit of a lottery – and it’s appropriate that one of the winners of the race indeed was called Lottery, back in 1839. The odds of the winners in recent years reflects this; other than the outstanding dual winner Tiger Roll, successful at 4-1 in 2019, no winner has been at less than 10-1 since 2008. In that time there have been winners at 100-1, 66-1, 50-1, and two at 33-1.

The upside is that if you can pick the winner, you’re likely to get good odds. And this year, U.S. players are helped by the fact that you can now bet on all 40 horses individually, rather than be stuck with the “mutuel field” for horses 24-40.

So let’s see what we can do.

Grand National Selections

  • #13 Gaillard Du Mesnil
  • #1 Any Second Now
  • #26 Corach Rambler
  • #2 Noble Yeats
  • #25 Ain’t That A Shame

Grand National Wagers

  • $10 win/$20 show: #13 Gaillard Du Mesnil ($30)
  • $1 exacta: 1, 13, 26 with 1, 2, 13, 25, 26 ($12)
  • 50-cent trifecta: 1, 13, 26 with 1, 2, 13, 25, 26 with 1, 2, 13, 25, 26 ($18)

The first and most important thing to notice are the track conditions. If it gets worse than soft, it will be a monumental test of stamina as well as jumping ability. At present, conditions are soft, but you need to keep an eye on the weather.

Last year’s first three, #2 Noble Yeats, #1 Any Second Now, and #7 Delta Work, are all back. Noble Yeats was a shock 50-1 winner last year but he’s proven to be very good since then, finishing fourth in the Cheltenham Gold Cup (G1). However, he’s carrying 15 pounds more this year and will need to be extra good to handle this. Of this trio I’d prefer Any Second Now, who was 2 1/4 lengths behind Noble Yeats last year and meets him 11 pounds better off this year.

I thought Delta Work had his chance last year; one horse I do like, however, is the horse just beaten by him at Cheltenham last month in the Cross Country Chase, #3 Galvin. He handles soft ground and should stay the trip.

A lot of money has come for #25 Ain’t That A Shame, a recent winner in Ireland. Some of that might be sentimental – he’s ridden by Rachael Blackmore, who became the first woman to ride the National winner two years ago. I’m not convinced yet, but I’d keep them safe.

Dual Cheltenham winner #26 Corach Rambler is the best horse off at the weights, which were declared before his second Cheltenham victory. My only question about him is how he handles the National fences, and whether he’s already had his grand final for the season at Cheltenham. But I won’t leave him out.

My tip for the race, however, is #13 Gaillard Du Mesnil. One of five runners from the Willie Mullins juggernaut, he stayed very well to take the National Hunt Chase at Cheltenham and has the services of Mullins’ number one rider, the very much in-form Paul Townend. There are never any guarantees at Aintree, but I’m prepared to give him a go.

Whatever you choose, good luck!