The Grand National is one of the biggest races of the year in horse racing. The latest renewal of the 4m2½f steeplechase has attracted another strong field. With the weights now officially out for this year’s contest, here is a look at the leading runners that will line up at Aintree on April 15.
Noble Yeats Back to Defend His Title
The fact that only two horses in the last 50 years have been able to defend their crown in the Grand National shows the task facing Noble Yeats this year. He was an excellent winner of the marathon contest in 2022, however, the challenge will be tougher this time.
Emmet Mullins’ runner has been assigned 11st 11lb in the 2023 contest. Only three horses will have more weight on their backs. Despite that allocation, the Irish horse is the +800 favorite in the betting horse racing market for the Aintree feature.
Since winning in Liverpool last April, Noble Yeats has had a mixed campaign. He was beaten on his seasonal reappearance at Auteuil. The eight-year-old then recorded back-to-back victories at Wexford and Aintree respectively, with the latter coming in the Grade Two Many Clouds Chase. On his latest outing, he had to settle for third place of six runners in the Cotswold Chase at Cheltenham.
Delta Work Expected to Be in Mix Again
Irish trainer Gordon Elliott has had a lot of success in the Grand National. He has lifted the winning trophy on three occasions. Silver Birch gave him his maiden triumph in 2007, while more recently, his star horse, Tiger Roll, came out on top in 2018 and 2019, ensuring he made sports headlines around the world.
Elliott is having an excellent season in Ireland. He has had success at a lot of the major meetings, including the festive program at Leopardstown and the Dublin Racing Festival. The 2022 Cross Country Chase winner also gave his trainer a winner on his first appearance of the campaign at Punchestown.
Delta Work finished third in the Grand National in 2022 behind Noble Yeats and Any Second Now respectively. He had a weight allocation of 11st 9lb last year. The handicapper has eased 5lb off his back, which will help his chances of going two places better.
Le Milos One of Strongest Home Contenders
A British-trained horse has not won the Grand National since One For Arthur prevailed at Aintree for Lucinda Russell in 2017. Dan Skelton, one of the leading trainers in the UK, will be hoping he can end that wait with Le Milos this year.
The eight-year-old moved to Skelton’s yard earlier this season and he got off to a great start, with victories coming at Bangor-On-Dee and Newbury. The latter was one of the most valuable handicap prizes of the season.
Le Milos was beaten on his latest outing in the Premier Chase at Kelso, but that Listed race was over a distance much shorter than he will face at Aintree. His connections will be hoping the stamina test of the Grand National will suit their horse.
This year’s Grand National is the 175th running of the race. 40 runners are set to be declared 48 hours before they face the toughest challenge in jump racing.