We had a winning favourite in the 2023 Grand National, a success for Scotland. Lucinda Russell was the winning trainer, with Derek Fox taking the ride, meaning this was a success for the winning duo from 2017 when they took the race with One For Arthur.
The winning horse this time around was Corach Rambler, a horse that had two previous Cheltenham Festival wins to his name, so he was certainly not shy of winning on the big stage. He took the race by two and a quarter lengths, staying on very strongly after cruising into contention up the straight at Aintree.
Corach Rambler was made favourite for the race after winning at the 2023 Cheltenham Festival, but with others being backed, he went into Grand National day at double-figure odds. However, money on race day, including near the off, saw him reclaim favouritism and return with an SP of 8/1.
What Happened In The 2023 Grand National?
The 2023 Grand National saw 39 runners go to post after Escaria Ten was withdrawn from the race on the morning due to a slight injury. The betting market was very volatile in the build-up to the race, Corach Rambler was the favourite for weeks before, but as declarations were made, we saw Ain’t That A Shame backed into favouritism.
The market did change again just before the off, though, with Corach Rambler returning the 8/1 favourite, the only horse in single figures with many other runners behind at 10/1, including the 2022 winner Noble Yeats.
Corach Rambler Wins For Scotland
The winner came from Scotland, familiar Grand National faces Lucinda Russell, and Derek Fox did the job with a horse who, for the past couple of years, had been seen and talked about as the ‘next One For Arthur’.
That is in recognition of the 2017 Grand National winner, trained by Russell and ridden by Fox, a star that really helped to put the stable on the map. Corach Rambler had shown his ability to win big handicaps, stay strong and jump well, he won the Ultima Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival in both 2022 and 2023 on his way to the National.
The second of those wins came after the 2023 Grand National weights were released, so the 10lb rise he would receive for winning at Cheltenham would not affect his weight for the race, meaning he was 10lb well in, and that certainly showed.
Throughout the race, the horse was always in a good position, up just behind the pace early before dropping into midfield but still well in contention. During the latter half of the race, Derek Fox brought the horse through the field, slowly making progress and passing beaten horses.
At two out, he made a race-winning move, he jumped two out in third place but went into the lead at the last, quickly going clear of those behind. He idled up the run in, which narrowed the distance back to second, but was always doing enough to get over the line as the winner.
The distance was two and a quarter lengths, which doesn’t sound convincing, but given the fact that Corach Rambler slowed towards the end of the race, he could have won by much further had he kept going to the line.
In second place was Vanillier, trained in Ireland by Gavin Cromwell and returning at odds of 20/1 under Sean Flanagan.
In third was Gaillard Du Mesnil, another Irish runner for Willie Mullins and Paul Townend. This horse was competing as a novice, though he had won at the Cheltenham Festival on his way to this race, picking up the National Hunt Chase. He was one of the runners priced up at 10/1 behind the favourite Corach Rambler, well fancied by punters betting on the race.
Another one of those was the fourth-placed runner, Noble Yeats. He won the 2022 Grand National and was back for more here. With plenty more weight on his back, though, this time around, the horse had to settle for a place.
Protestors Delay The Start Of The Race
There was a delay to the start of the 2023 Grand National, with protestors against the race holding up proceedings. Talk of this happening was all over the news in the build-up to the race, and on the day, around 1-200 people were at Aintree, trying to stop the race from taking place.
Some managed to get inside the track and slow down the start by attaching themselves to the fences of the race, but they were not able to stop the start. However, supporters of horse racing quickly criticised the protest, as it forced horses to spend a lot of time in the parade ring before the race, with a number of runners getting warm and worked up.
One runner during the race passed away, and that was Hill Sixteen. He fell at the first fence, and sadly it was a fatal fall. Trainer Sandy Thomson criticised the protestors and their actions, which he said played a part in the horse falling in the race.
After running at Aintree before without issues, there was not a question mark over the horses’ jumping ability. He was one of the runners to get very worked up in the paddock before the race, with his trainer saying this is not normal and likely due to the delay and lengthy period he spends in front of the crowd. It is this that was blamed on his first fence fall and, ultimately, the death of the horse.
Moments Of Note
- 2017 winners Lucinda Russell and Derek Fox teamed up to win their second Grand National with Corach Rambler
- A large protest took place before the race, causing a delay in the action but failing to stop the event from taking place
- The race was a bad one for the bookmakers, with a winning favourite, and two very popular picks making the frame
- 39 runners went to post for the race, with 17 completing the course