Favourites to win, latest odds and our experts’ top picks

With the final square for the Randox Grand National set, the true shape of the market has come into view.

If all goes well a maximum field of 40 will break out across the famous course at 5.15pm this afternoon and it’s Ain’t That A Shame that has come for strong support from bettors on the eve of the race.

Available at 14/1 last night, the Henry de Bromhead-trained nine-year-old is now a general 8/1 shot, displacing both Crach Rambler and Delta Work in the market.

Long-time favorite Corach Rambler has drifted as low as 10/1 at some companies, while Delta Work remains a solid second favorite at around

At higher prices there was interest in Vanillier for Gavin Cromwell. A Class 1 hurdles winner so far this season he’s run mostly over insufficient rides, presumably to protect his brand, and is now in an overall 16/1 shot from 20s.

The Big Breakaway is another to come in for support and is down to 25/1 with some firms available at almost double that time last week.

Below, Telegraph Sport brings you a top pick for the big race and horses to keep on your radar in preparation for the 2023 Grand National at Aintree. You can download and print our Grand National Sweepstakes Kit here.

Marcus Armytage tip

Vanillaan eight-year-old scheduled for the race can make it a gray day on Merseyside and become the fifth consecutive Irish winner by winning the 175th Randox Grand National at Aintree today.

The Grays, winners of the world’s greatest steeplechase race, are a select group, only three of them to date, one in a century; The Lamb in 1868 and 1871, Nicolaus Silver in 1961 and Neptune Collonges in 2012 but Vanillier has plenty to offer today and with a touch of luck always with the winning jockey in the passenger seat he can join the club as trainer Gavin Cromwell, a man , who in his former life as a farrier before becoming a hurdler trainer, can claim to have shoed national champions Silver Birch and Tiger Roll for Gordon Elliott.

Vanillier first came into contact with racegoers this side of the Irish Sea when he stormed to victory in the 2021 Albert Bartlett Hurdle at Cheltenham. Admittedly he hasn’t quite reached those heights over fences and while I’m not sure I’d tip him over the old style fences, he’s not the kind of horse that would take your chest.

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But Cromwell has used him almost exclusively this season for trips shorter than his optimum until the national weights were released. Then, in his final run, at the Bobbyjo Chase at Fairyhouse, he was beaten by half a length by Kemboy, a former Irish Gold Cup winner, when 20 pounds was wrong with the winner if it had been a handicap. Two more steps and he would have won that day.

He crashed on his last start but slipped trying to save himself that day and his trainer rightly apologized. “He’s been training for the race all year,” Cromwell said yesterday. “He’s got a nice weight, he stays, he jumps a lot better and if he gets into rhythm and position I would hope for a big run.”

Sean Flanagan, now one of Ireland’s oldest jump jockeys with a very good rides to falls ratio, is a pilot in every sense of the word; In March he flew to Cheltenham in his light aircraft. When push comes to shove, Vanillier won’t be short of help from the saddle.

Telegraph sports tip

The case for Corach Rambler is as clear as day. He’s good in the weights at 10lbs having set a career best last time out and his jumping is that of a horse that should do well for the Aintree fences.

And yet this remains a wildly volatile race, and while Corach Rambler makes the handicapper look silly, his prize is just too low.

We’ll happily sit there and clap with the rest of the nation when he chops up 25 lengths, but he won’t carry our money; Capodanno Will.

With each year that goes by, the Grand National lends itself more and more to horses that offer just that little bit more class, something this Willie Mullins-trained seven-year-old has in abundance.

A few quibbles this season mean he’s only been spotted once and that was via an underfed trip from 2m4f to bottomless at Gowran Park in February.

He’s still done well under the circumstances and it feels like his entire campaign has been built around an incline at Aintree.

Winner of the last two Punchestown Festivals, this is a horse that really comes alive in Spring and with the freshness on his side it’s easy to see him performing great too.

His loss of Lifetime Ambition in the Grade 1 at Punchestown last season is close to the best individual form this race and can reiterate that he should be close at this extreme distance.

A 160 rating is high, but he has the ability to handle that mark and even exceed it.

Between 1984 and 2009 no Grand National winner carried more than 11st 1lb, but since then four horses have carried 11st 5lb or more to victory at Aintree. Capodanno can fall into this category.

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Grand National top 4 picks

Marcus Army Days

  1. Vanilla
  2. Our power
  3. Le Milos
  4. The big dog

Charlie Brooks

  1. Le Milos
  2. Noble Yeats
  3. Galvin
  4. Any second now

Ed Chamberlain

  1. Longhouse Poet
  2. hill sixteen
  3. Isn’t that a shame
  4. Lifelong Ambition


  1. Corach Wanderer
  2. Mr Incredible
  3. delta work
  4. Vanilla

Telegraph Sport’s other horses to watch

Noble Yeats – 9/1

Last year’s winner has had an excellent season this season and didn’t dent his chances last time out with a solid run in the Cheltenham Gold Cup. He wasn’t good enough that day to be close to the winner, but stayed strong late into the night to underscore his qualification as the leading national contender this year – albeit without a whopping 11.11lb.

Mr Incredible – 1.12

Has done well in testing this season and ran very well third under heavyweight last time at the Cheltenham Festival. Has a lot less weight here and will almost certainly enjoy the extra distance. One of Willie Mullin’s sojockey bookings will be revealing.

Our power – 22/1

Well received by many, Our Power snuck into the race at the end of the weights after Quick Wave’s withdrawal. He’s only run twice this season, winning both times, but his entire campaign seems built around the National.

The Great Breakout – 40/1

Once heralded as a star-to-be, The Big Breakaway’s career didn’t quite go as planned, but he submitted an exhibition at the Welsh National at Christmas that suggested he might be up to that kind of test. He was still in the end when he finished second to The Two Amigos in Chepstow in 3m6½f. At Aintree he has three more stadiums to play with.

Marcus Armytage’s five horses to watch

Our power – 22/1

Like Red Rum, he’s a flatbringer, by a sprinter, and ran as a two-year-old when most of his rivals would have been unbroken in a field. Unbeaten in two starts this season even after the weights came out in February so 6lb is well-in. Swerved Cheltenham so come fresh here and has a good chance of becoming the first Welsh-trained winner since 1905.

Isn’t that a shame – 8/1

As a nine-year-old who has only run ten times, he recorded his first hurdle success just last month. But he finished fourth in the handicap chase at Leopardstown, where former stablemate Minella Times finished second before his national win, and will likely be Rachael Blackmore’s pick. Has a good weight.

Le Milos – 16/1

Has won two of his three races for Dan Skelton and needed the run for Kelso in his last race. Jumps and stays and isn’t particularly picky about terrain. Has a lot to offer for him.

Noble Yeats – 9/1

Last year’s winner will look to defend his crown on the back of a strong fourth place finish in the Gold Cup. Carried 10.10lbs to win last season and is now burdened at 11.11lbs. Enjoyed a relatively clear passage 12 months ago, but will he get the green two years in a row? As an eight-year-old, he should be at the peak of his powers.

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Vanilla – 18/1

Some people will tell you he doesn’t jump well enough but I’m not sure if that’s such a factor anymore and he was a bit unlucky falling at Leopardstown two starts ago when he slipped on landing . He ran a cracker behind Kemboy last time out and would have won in three more steps. Has a great chance to complement the small band of Grays that won the race

Odds are correct at time of publication.

celebrity tips

Padraig Harrington (golfer): Galvin

I supported Banbridge who won in the same colors on Thursday and the ground is right for him.

Dominic West (actor): Mr coffee

I met Mr. Coffey last week and fell in love with him instantly. He’s tall, dark and handsome and as he gently caressed me he told me he would win by 10 lengths.

Charlie Swan (former Irish Show Jumping Champion): DARASSO

He has a touch of class over two and a half miles and these horses often get four and a half in the National.

Barry Geraghty (winner at Monty’s Pass 2003): LE MILOS

He jumps very well and looked like he needed the run at Kelso last time out.

Bob Champion (1981 Aldaniti winner’s jockey): GAILLARD DU MESNIL

An improving young horse with a very good equipment.

How to choose the Grand National winner

By Marcus Army Days

As the Randox Grand National has evolved, it takes a different breed of horse to win it – you can forget about the flamboyant jumper of yesteryear; they use too much energy. Leaping over the modern Aintree’s smaller, softer obstacles requires something she easily overcomes, like Tiger Roll or Noble Yeats, the least extravagant of Sam Waley-Cohern’s many rides around the course.

The winning horse is yet to remain, but it can be no coincidence that two inexperienced pursuers, who may not therefore be exposed to the handicapper, have recently won. Rule The World had never won a chase, while for the most part Noble Yeats had fought over distances that we now know were far too short for him.

Although not a novice, the choice of British horses at this point appears to be Lucinda Russell-trained Corach Rambler, winner of consecutive Ultima Chases at Cheltenham. He looks possibly very well handled at 10st 5lbs, a nice weight that wins races. If the race was hampered again now, he would be carrying 10 pounds more. He’ll stay, but his racing style could get him in trouble in a 40-runner national.

Our Power has a good chance of becoming the first Welsh winner since 1905. After winning the Coral Trophy at Kempton he is good at 6lbs.

William Hill is going 1-3 on a trained Irish winner and Vanillier could be the pick at the moment. The gray was used all season by the wily Gavin Cromwell for those 10 minutes on Saturday. I’m starting to think he’s the horse to beat.


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