Can Corach Rambler Defend His Grand National Title?

Corach Rambler is bidding to do what few horses have achieved in history by defending his crown in the Grand National this year. Lucinda Russell’s runner prevailed by two lengths in 2023, and he heads the field again for the world’s most famous steeplechase.

Here is a look at the reigning champion’s chances, and who are the biggest challengers to him in the 176th renewal of the race.

Ratings Suggest He Is Better Than 12 Months Ago

Corach Rambler goes into this year’s contest with an official rating of 162. That suggests he is a much better horse than 12 months ago, as he was rated at 146 just before his impressive Aintree triumph.

The Scottish-trained horse is the 5/1 favourite with the bookmakers for those considering placing a Grand National bet on the 2023 winner. He will be bidding to match what both Red Rum (1973, 1974 and 1977) and Tiger Roll (2018 and 2019) have achieved over the last half-century.

Russell’s chaser is one of the popular Grand National tips this year, despite having one of the highest weight allocations of 11st 5lb in the race. He was third in the Cheltenham Gold Cup last month, a Grade One contest against the best 3m horses in the UK and Ireland.

The eight-year-old has shown strong stamina and excellent jump on several occasions, so he goes into the marathon contest with an excellent chance of repeat success.

Willie Mullins’ Trio: The Chief Threats

Irish Champion Trainer Willie Mullins is dominating the racing in Ireland this season. He also had a huge amount of success at the Cheltenham Festival back in March where he recorded his 100th victory at the meeting.

Mullins has three strong chances in this year’s Grand National, as he bids for his second triumph in the race. The 2005 winner will saddle I Am Maximus, Meetingofthewaters and Mr Incredible.

I Am Maximus was the winner of the Irish Grand National in 2023. He is also a Grade One winner, after landing the Drinmore Novices Chase earlier in the campaign. Paul Townend will partner the Fairyhouse winner.

Meetingofthewaters was third in the Ultima Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival last time out. At the age of just seven, he is one of the youngest horses in this year’s field at the Merseyside venue.

Limerick Lace is one of only a handful of mares in the Aintree showpiece field. She heads to Aintree on the back of a victory in the Mares’ Chase at the Cheltenham Festival. Mullins’ mare was able to beat her stablemate Dinoblue in that race.

Noble Yeats the Other Former Winner

Corach Rambler is not the only former winner in the Grand National this year. Noble Yeats, who came out on top in 2022, bids for more glory in the Aintree contest. Emmet Mullins’ runner remains just nine years old.

Noble Yeats has wins over hurdles and fences since his Grand National win two years ago. Only Red Rum in 1977 has been able to regain their crown in this race, so the Irish-trained horse will need to overcome that trend.

This year’s Grand National will have a maximum field of 34 runners, and it will take place at 16:00 on Saturday, 13th of April.