THE Aintree Grand National is the most prestigious and popular race in the yearly calendar.
From start to finish it's a true test of stamina for horses as it's run over four miles and two furlongs coupled with jumping 30 obstacles with a £1 million prize purse with £500,000 going to the winner. To win this race you need to be able to jump well, stay the trip and most importantly have luck in running.
The current favourite is Corach Rambler. The Lucinda Russell-trained gelding has just recently retained his Cheltenham crown by retaining the Ultima Handicap Chase. Rambler has great stamina and always comes with a late run.
Noble Yeats was last year’s winner and since then he has been run over three miles as Emmet Mullins trained him for the Cheltenham Gold Cup; it just seems he's not quick enough over that distance. I don’t expect him to repeat his feat of last year.
He's at a good weight carrying 10-11lb for the race.
Ain't That a Shame is another horse that is down near the bottom of the weights and after Henry de Bromhead’s good Cheltenham festival I think this horse has to be given a shout if he can stay the full trip. It will be an unknown as he has only run over 3m2f, but he seems to be versatile with his running distance.
Carefully Selected has a chance if the ground is very soft as he is a tank that showed his stamina and class when winning this year’s Thyestes in Gowran Park for Willie Mullins.
The Jessie Harrington-trained Lifetime Ambition has also caught my eye as a very consistent horse that isn't the flashiest but won't go down without a fight.
Gaillard Du Mesnil might have been fortunate to win the National Hunt Chase in Cheltenham, but he was always staying on and this trip is probably made for him. There is a doubt he will make it round the full Aintree track of 30 fences but if he does, he has the class to go close.
My tip for the 2023 Grand National is Longhouse Poet.
I picked this horse up last year and he finished a creditable sixth in the race to grab a place. He pulled too hard for the first mile in 2022 and I was surprised he finished so close. Trainer Martin Brassil is superb at placing horses and getting them ready for races he targets.
Longhouse Poet had a good campaign running over short distances to get him up to speed and I think this will be his year.