2023 Grand National Preview: Four Picks For The World’s Greatest Race

Betfred's Matt Hulmes talks us through his four picks for this year's Grand National at Aintree
19:01, 14 Apr 2023

The Grand National is always a great spectacle where regular and once a year punters enter shops up and down the land in their droves to have a flutter on the World's Greatest Race. 

A race littered with history, incredible stories and drama at every turn have made the Grand National a must watch and the numerous modifications over the years to make the course safer for horse and jockey have not detracted from the occasion. 

At 5.15 on Saturday, millions of eyes will be glued to their TV screens to see how their pick fares and with that in mind here are my four against the field.


Vanillier meets most of the key trends of a National winner as an 8yo with a nice weight, trained in Ireland, hasn’t run in a previous version of the race, and wears headgear (cheekpieces). There is much more to his chances than this though. 

He won an Albert Bartlett Novice Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival two years ago and winners of that contest are laden with stamina. He doesn’t have a prolific strike rate but he has been contested at hot graded chases and tried to give 8lb to the multiple Grade 1 winner and now retired Kemboy at Fairyhouse in February in a recognised trial. That was some effort and here he finds himself off a lovely racing weight of 10-6 for a shrewd Gavin Cromwell team. 

Vanillier has plenty of ability and stamina for this task, oh and is a grey by the way!


Galvin was sent off at 100/30 for last year’s Cheltenham Gold Cup when finishing fourth to A Plus Tard. He had been thought of as a National type of horse for some time and that was the plan last season until he landed the Grade 1 Savills Chase over Christmas and then the Gold Cup had to be the target. He just came up short at that level, so connections decided to head for Aintree this season instead. 

He loved the Cross Country at Cheltenham when second to Delta Work and is a winner over three-and-three-quarter miles. He has a lot of weight to carry which is a negative but has so much ability that if taking to this as well as he did the quirky course at the Festival he has to be involved with any further drying of the ground also in his favour.



As long as Corach Rambler doesn’t get too detached early doors, I can’t see him not playing a part in the finish. He only seems to get going after three miles and surged up the hill to land a second Ultima at Cheltenham last month. That victory means he is 10lb ‘well in’ here (if the handicapper could reassess him, he would carry a further 10lb) and he looks tailor made for this test. 

Lucinda Russell and Derek Fox landed the National in 2017 with One For Arthur who sadly passed away earlier this year, so they know when they have the right type and he won't mind the ground whatever happens with the weather. Off just 10-5, he is a major player.


Another that makes the staking plan is last year’s eighth horse home Coko Beach. Again, he is an eight-year-old that has a nice weight (11-0) and was seemingly enjoying himself last year when out in front for most of the way, only tiring in the closing stages. 

He comes into this year’s renewal in much better form having won the Grand National Trial at Punchestown in February comfortably, following an excellent fourth in the Thyestes Chase in January. That is solid handicap form and if Harry Cobden, who comes in for the spare ride, can get him into a similar rhythm that Jonjo O’Neill Jr. did last year, he could have a big say in the finish now he is a year older, wiser and stronger.

Betfred's 2023 Grand National Betting

18+ | BeGambleAware

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