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It’s a race unlike any other, a race more recognisable than any other, a race longer than any other, a race that’s arguably harder to win than any other. It’s the race that even non-racing fans know and love. It is of course the Grand National.
The 2023 renewal of this unique race is almost upon us. It’s now less than a week until the 40 runners and riders will be down at the start ahead of the most famous steeplechase on the planet.
Ahead of another running of the Randox Grand National, which takes place each and every year at the famous venue of Aintree Racecourse, it’s time to look at the runners, see what the early betting looks like, plus go over a few other things such as some race history, facts and television information.
When is the 2023 Grand National?
For those who do not already know, the Grand National is always run in April and this year will be no different. The 2023 Grand National will be run on April 15th, which is a Saturday. The race is due to begin at 17:15, and is likely to last for around 10-12 minutes.
Grand National Runners
The field for the Grand National is something to behold. It is the only horse race where 40 runners go to post, while 50 runners are entered to run until the final declarations, which are made 48 hours before the race, relieve ten of their duties. Or rather deny them a stab at one of horse racing’s most prestigious prizes.
Amongst the runners this time around there are some familiar names. Last year’s winner Noble Yeats, trained by Emmet Mullins, returns to defend his crown, while Delta Work, who finished third in the race 12 months ago, is another going again. He is likely to be one of five runners for trainer Gordon Elliott, who famously won this race twice on the bounce with the legendary Tiger Roll.
The always feared Willie Mullins hasn’t won this race since saddling Hedgehunter back in 2005, but the Irishman usually turns up with a strong hand. This time around his leading charge will be Gaillard Du Mesnil, who stayed on powerfully up the hill to win at Cheltenham recently, looking every inch a top stayer in the process. If he makes it round safely, don’t be surprised if he lands the spoils.
Other notable entrants are Gordon Elliott’s Galvin, who has won his fair share of big-prize staying chases, while Le Milos should not be discounted for Dan Skelton, who has made a name for himself as a trainer who knows how to ready one for a big handicap over the last few seasons.
Early Grand National Betting
This is how the early betting is shaping up for the 2023 Grand National:
Corach Rambler – 6/1
Noble Yeats – 8/1
Delta Work – 10/1
Gaillard Du Mesnil – 14/1
Any Second Now – 14/1
Mr Incredible – 14/1
Longhouse Poet – 16/1
Le Milos – 16/1
Galvin – 20/1
All others 22/1 or bigger.
In the early betting, there’s a relatively strong favourite, at least as far as this race goes. Corach Rambler is well fancied for Lucinda Russell having scored at back-to-back Cheltenham Festivals. The nine-year-old will arrive at Aintree having stayed on strongly to win the Ultima Handicap Chase, a run that puts him firmly in the picture for this race. That said, many good horses have found the burden of favouritism too great to shoulder when it comes to the Grand National, so favourite backers beware. After all, since the turn of the century, only four favourites have come home in front.
Grand National TV Info
For a long time, Britain’s most cherished horse race was only available via the radio. It wasn’t until well into the 20th century that the big race was broadcast live on television. With commentators such as Peter O’Sullevan and Clive Graham, the BBC brought the Grand National into people’s homes in 1960.
Since 2016, the Grand National has been the preserve of ITV, and on ITV is where viewers, of which there are typically millions, will be able to watch this year. In 2021, no less than 8.8 million ITV viewers had eyes fixed on their screens as Rachel Blackmore rode Minella Times to glory, while 7.5 million watched as Sam Waley-Cohen won on Noble Yeats in 2022.
ITV will be broadcasting the action from all three day’s of the Aintree Festival, starting on Thursday, April 13th and ending with the Grand National itself at 17:15 on Saturday, April 15th.
Grand National Stats & Facts
Here are some interesting stats and facts about the Grand National:
- Red Rum is the only horse to ever win the Grand National more than twice. This historic horse deserves his place as the most famous national runner of all time having picked up three wins. He also finished second in each of his other two attempts. No horse is more synonymous with this race.
- Nowadays, 40 runners go to post, but there have been much smaller fields. The smallest ever field for a Grand National came in 1883 when only 10 runners went to post.
- The shortest ever favourite to win the Grand National was Poethlyn, who won at odds of 11/4 in 1919.
- Finishing the Grand National is an achievement in itself, so much so that the greatest number of horses to finish the race stands at 23 in 1984.
- Mr Frisk set the fastest ever winning Grand National time in 1990, coming home in a remarkable 8 minutes and 47.8 seconds. Some say such a time will never be beaten.
Grand National Trends
Here are some noteworthy trends ahead of this year’s race:
- Four of the last five winners have been trained in Ireland.
- 12 of the last 14 winners ran in the race for the first time.
- Only one horse aged below eight-years-old has won this race since 1940.
- Each of the last 12 winners had raced at least three times in the season before running in the race.
- Each of the last 12 winners had made at least seven appearances over fences.
- Nine of the last ten winners had raced at least ten times over fences before appearing in the race.
- Only ONE of the last ten favourites has won the Grand National.
- Seven of the last ten winners had won at least ONCE in the season before running in the race.
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