NATIONAL PINSTICKERS

AUTHOR: Lewis Williams

2024 Grand National Pinsticker Guide

It’s Grand National week and all eyes will be on Aintree at 4pm on Saturday for the race that stops a nation!

Star Sports racing experts WILLIAM KEDJANYI and LEWIS WILLIAMS provide their thoughts on each runner with a Star Rating (scale of 1 to 6 ⭐ depending on confidence) for the 2024 Aintree showpiece – simply scroll down to read!👇

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1 - NOBLE YEATS
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AGE:
9
WEIGHT:
11-12
TRAINER:
Emmet Mullins
JOCKEY:
Harry Cobden
📌 Won the race in 2022 at 50/1 and was 4th beaten 8 lengths last year. He’s been sent on a hurdling campaign this season which included an impressive effort when staying on to win the Cleeve Hurdle. 1lb lower than last year’s fair effort and has every chance over his beloved National fences.
2 - NASSALAM
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AGE:
7
WEIGHT:
11-8
TRAINER:
Gary Moore
JOCKEY:
Caoilin Quinn
📌 Had struggled a bit last season at the major festivals but returned with an excellent 4th in the Grand Sefton and produced stunning displays to take the Welsh National Trial and Welsh National. Things didn’t work out in the Gold Cup and he’s now 16lbs higher but will handle testing going as well as any.
3 - COKO BEACH
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AGE:
9
WEIGHT:
11-8
TRAINER:
Gordon Elliott
JOCKEY:
Jordan Gainford
📌 Possibly did too much too early last year when hitting a brick wall and fading out of contention 4 out. Fair form this year and won the Troytown beating subsequent Mares Chase winner Limerick Lace in 2nd which led to a handicap hike of 9lbs. A quieter ride might see him to better effect but he’s exposed enough off 161.
4 - CAPODANNO
⭐⭐
?
AGE:
7
WEIGHT:
11-8
TRAINER:
Willie Mullins
JOCKEY:
Keith Donoghue
📌 Was pulled up in last year’s race - having travelled well into the contest - and disappointed on seasonal return. Much better since when third in the Savills Chase, won the Cotswold Chase and then finished a fine 4th in the Ryanair Chase at the Festival. Arrives in fine form but didn’t appear to stay last year.
5 - I AM MAXIMUS
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AGE:
8
WEIGHT:
11-6
TRAINER:
Willie Mullins
JOCKEY:
Paul Townend
📌 Has come into his own over a fence with Willie Mullins and won the 2023 Irish Grand National. After running against Galopin Des Champs in the Savills Chase and the Irish Gold Cup, he won the Grade 3 Bobbyjo by beating last year’s 2nd, Vanillier, by 14 lengths. That was after the National weights were revealed so he effectively escapes a 6lb penalty. Top contender.
6 - MINELLA INDO
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AGE:
11
WEIGHT:
11-6
TRAINER:
Henry De Bromhead
JOCKEY:
Rachael Blackmore
📌 Former Gold Cup winner who retains plenty of ability and didn’t shape as if badly handicapped off 159 when fourth to Latenightpass in December’s Cross Country at Cheltenham. Testing ground no issue, has gears to hold a position, jumps well and plenty of class. Interesting contender.
7 - CORACH RAMBLER
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AGE:
10
WEIGHT:
11-6
TRAINER:
Lucinda Russell
JOCKEY:
Derek Fox
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📌 Dual Ultima winner who won the 2023 Grand National beating Vanillier by 2 lengths. He faces a much stiffer task this year though off 13lbs higher. However, he surpassed expectations when 3rd in the Gold Cup this year and he’ll thrive for a return to this trip and his beloved Aintree fences. Low single figures is certainly on the short side though.
8 - JANIDIL
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AGE:
10
WEIGHT:
11-6
TRAINER:
Willie Mullins
JOCKEY:
Jody McGarvey
📌 High class chaser over middle distances but looked lacklustre at Cork behind Allaho and was well beaten at Kempton in Grade 2 before running no race in Stayers’ Hurdle. Best days behind him.
9 - STATTLER
⭐⭐⭐
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AGE:
9
WEIGHT:
11-5
TRAINER:
Willie Mullins
JOCKEY:
Patrick Mullins
📌 Beaten 8 lengths in the Irish Gold Cup last year to Galopin Des Champs but finished 43 lengths behind fellow contender Coko Beach most recently and Patrick Mullins’ comments that the horse jumped “novicey” wouldn’t fill you with great confidence for the National fences. Stays all day though
10 - MAHLER MISSION
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AGE:
8
WEIGHT:
11-5
TRAINER:
John McConnell
JOCKEY:
Ben Harvey
📌 Talented novice chaser who was tanking along when falling two out in last year’s in National Hunt Chase at the Cheltenham Festival. Has continued the good work in two runs this season, tanking through the Coral Gold Cup (formerly known as the Hennessy) before finishing a clear second. Looks ready made for this test – will be an even bigger threat if able to conserve energy for the Elbow.
11 - DELTA WORK
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AGE:
11
WEIGHT:
11-4
TRAINER:
Gordon Elliott
JOCKEY:
Jack Kennedy
📌 Multiple Grade 1 winner over fences and was well tipped last year when didn’t jump fluently out wide and unseated 21st. He follows a similar prep to Tiger Roll with a run in the Boyne Hurdle but it hasn’t been straight forward as he was favourite for the Cross Country at the Festival which was abandoned. Seems to have lost his way slightly and isn’t getting any younger.
12 - FOXY JACKS
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AGE:
10
WEIGHT:
11-4
TRAINER:
Mouse Morris
JOCKEY:
Gavin Brouder
📌 Has been better than ever over the past year, winning the Midlands National at Kilbeggan, finishing third in the Kerry National, and then beating Latenightpass (gave 7lbs) in November’s Cross-Country Chase before a fine fourth in the Pertemps Qualifier at Leopardstown. Can make mistakes but otherwise is thriving and looks overpriced.
13 - GALVIN
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AGE:
10
WEIGHT:
11-2
TRAINER:
Gordon Elliott
JOCKEY:
Sam Ewing
📌 High class at his best, as a win in the 2021 Savills Chase shows, but hasn’t hit those heights since then. Unseated at the first last year when a full 10lbs higher and showed ability still remains when fifth in the Cross Country at Cheltenham (December) and eye-catching trial over hurdles last time to boot. One to consider.
14 - FAROUK D'ALENE
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AGE:
9
WEIGHT:
11-1
TRAINER:
Gordon Elliott
JOCKEY:
Donagh Meyler
📌 Well touted as a novice and beaten a short head in a Grade 1 but hasn’t been the same horse since a 613 day absence. His pertemps qualification in 2nd was a fair effort but he was pulled up in the Festival finale and it’s hard to see him winning a Grand National after recent efforts.
15 - ELDORADO ALLEN
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AGE:
10
WEIGHT:
11-0
TRAINER:
Joe Tizzard
JOCKEY:
Brendan Powell
📌 Good fourth at Newbury in the Coral Gold Cup but hasn’t quite followed up that form since, with a return to hurdles not working out at Plumpton whilst he was pulled up in the Ultima. Others look better equipped and perhaps better handicapped.
16 - AIN'T THAT A SHAME
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AGE:
10
WEIGHT:
10-13
TRAINER:
Henry De Bromhead
JOCKEY:
David Maxwell
📌 Was a short price for this last year after big efforts in Munster National and Paddy Power Chase and travelled beautifully before failing to get the trip. Bounced back to take Thyestes glory at Gowran in January before being sold to owner/rider David Maxwell. He should get a good spin but unlikely to get home.
17 - VANILLIER
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AGE:
10
WEIGHT:
10-12
TRAINER:
Gavin Cromwell
JOCKEY:
Sean Flanagan
📌 The 2021 Albert Bartlett winner thrived over the Aintree fences last year and finished powerfully for 2nd behind Corach Rambler. He reopposes him on better terms this year and although he’s been underwhelming in four starts this season, they’ve been at massive prices and it’s clear this has been the long term plan. A more prominent ride than last year should see him go very close.
18 - MR INCREDIBLE
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AGE:
8
WEIGHT:
10-11
TRAINER:
Willie Mullins
JOCKEY:
Brian Hayes
📌 Very lightly raced gelding who was travelling more than okay when the saddle slipped on the flat last year after jumping the canal turn with no issue. Has only had one run this season when 2nd in the Midlands National and he’ll surely come on for that and it’ll be interesting to see how this unexposed runner is travelling if he’s on his feet approaching the final few fences.
19 - RUN WILD FRED
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AGE:
10
WEIGHT:
10-10
TRAINER:
Gordon Elliott
JOCKEY:
Tony Hamilton
📌 Veteran of big handicap chases and fell at the Canal Turn when 8/1 for this two years ago, but pulled up in the Paddy Power Chase and the Ultima and best days seem to be behind him.
20 - LATENIGHTPASS
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AGE:
9
WEIGHT:
10-10
TRAINER:
Tom Ellis
JOCKEY:
Gina Andrews
📌 A cross country and hunter specialist who used to run often in the P2P scene. He was given a canny ride when landing the Cross-Country handicap at the Cheltenham October meeting, and although human story is there with Gina Andrews, he probably doesn’t have the class required to win a modern day Grand National.
21 - MINELLA CROONER
⭐⭐
?
AGE:
9
WEIGHT:
10-10
TRAINER:
Gordon Elliott
JOCKEY:
Kevin Sexton
📌 Was a game winner of the M.W. Hickey Memorial Chase in November but was pulled up in the Porterstown, well behind in the Bobbyjo and pulled up at Cheltenham. Has ability but not most consistent and others appeal more.
22 - ADAMANTLY CHOSEN
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AGE:
7
WEIGHT:
10-9
TRAINER:
Willie Mullins
JOCKEY:
Sean O'Keeffe
📌 Beat Springwell Bay in his bumper on debut and has some interesting novice chase form behind the likes of Mighty Potter and beaten 4 lengths to Gerri Colombe. He’s struggled in open company though, but had the glimmer of hope most recently when beating Roi Mage and the classy Classic Getaway which makes him a fascinating runner at a big price.
23 - MAC TOTTIE
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AGE:
11
WEIGHT:
10-9
TRAINER:
Peter Bowen
JOCKEY:
James Bowen
📌 Won the Topham in 2022 and a Veterans Chase on the Mildmay Course in December but well beaten at Ascot last time and hasn’t shaped as if crying out for this trip. Ground ought to be OK and knows way round the course but others are better.
24 - CHEMICAL ENERGY
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AGE:
8
WEIGHT:
10-9
TRAINER:
Gordon Elliott
JOCKEY:
Danny Gilligan
📌 A former Caldwell horse and his best form comes when being beaten 3 lengths 2nd to Gaillard Du Mesnil in the 2023 National Hunt Chase. Showed no impression in the 2023 Irish National when pulled up and it was a similar story when beaten 10 lengths in Listowel’s Kerry National. He’s got a very stiff task on his hands.
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25 - LIMERICK LACE
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AGE:
7
WEIGHT:
10-8
TRAINER:
Gavin Cromwell
JOCKEY:
Mark Walsh
📌 Has been in brilliant form of the last year, finishing second in the Troytown and then taking the Mares’ Chase at the Cheltenham Festival. If taking her chance has to be respected, although this trip might be too far on testing ground.
26 - MEETINGOFTHEWATERS
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AGE:
7
WEIGHT:
10-8
TRAINER:
Willie Mullins
JOCKEY:
Danny Mullins
📌 Won the big handicap chase at Leopardstown over Christmas and was shrewdly snapped up by J P McManus. He was the talk of the town before the Ultima when he finished 3rd behind Chianti Classico. The 7-year-old was outpaced that day and stayed on well up the hill and if he is a graded horse for the future, he’ll be going close in this race if the stars align.
27 - THE GOFFER
⭐⭐
?
AGE:
7
WEIGHT:
10-8
TRAINER:
Gordon Elliott
JOCKEY:
Sean Bowen
📌 High class handicapper on his day, as seen when taking out the Grade A Leopardstown Handicap Chase at the Dublin Racing Festival last year and then when finishing fourth in last year’s Ultima. Ran respectably in the Bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown on only marathon trip attempt but didn’t get home in the Ultima again on heavy and others look stronger stayers.
28 - ROI MAGE
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AGE:
12
WEIGHT:
10-8
TRAINER:
Patrick Griffin
JOCKEY:
James Reveley
📌 Spent years as a graded chaser in France for Francois Nicolle and now with Patrick Griffin he finished 7th in the race last year, staying on late to be beaten 14 lengths. He made a winning return to France on debut in November in a and the spark could still be there in a big field. Doesn’t do anything in a rush but you can’t rule him out with course form at such a big price.
29 - GLENGOULY
⭐⭐
?
AGE:
8
WEIGHT:
10-7
TRAINER:
Willie Mullins
JOCKEY:
Michael O'Sullivan
📌 Disappointment in the Plate at Cheltenham, but would be interesting on his Thyestes 2nd to Ain’t That A Shame off only a 5lbs lower mark. If recovering that form he has a chance here but improvement would be needed still.
30 - GALIA DES LITEAUX
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?
AGE:
8
WEIGHT:
10-7
TRAINER:
Dan Skelton
JOCKEY:
Harry Skelton
📌 Star Sports ambassador Harry Skelton takes the ride on this mare who won the Grade 2 Hampton Novices’ Chase last season and was 2nd in Warwick’s Classic Chase 12 lengths clear of third. This has been in mind for a while and she has a touch of class about her. I wouldn’t read into her defeat last time in a small race at Exeter and there’s no reason to think she won’t go close to give Harry his first Grand National winner
31 - PANDA BOY
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AGE:
8
WEIGHT:
10-7
TRAINER:
Martin Brassil
JOCKEY:
J J Slevin
📌 Fifth in the Irish National last year behind I Am Maximus and possibly ran an even better race when second, staying on powerfully, to Meetingofthewaters in Paddy Power Chase. Hurdles run since was extremely encouraging and strong possibility that he improves for marathon test, so has to be high on the list with a handy racing weight too.
32 - EKLAT DE RIRE
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?
AGE:
10
WEIGHT:
10-7
TRAINER:
Henry De Bromhead
JOCKEY:
Darragh O'Keeffe
📌 An extremely lightly raced 10 year-old with just 12 runs and is clearly a difficult horse to keep on the straight and narrow. Last seen when trying to do the impossible and make all in the Ultima and set a pace that was hard to keep up. Could be somewhat unexposed on better ground but there’s been few positive signs lately.
33 - CHAMBARD
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AGE:
12
WEIGHT:
10-7
TRAINER:
Venetia Williams
JOCKEY:
Lucy Turner
📌 A hardy and loveable veteran who dominated the Becher Chase here in December on heavy ground. That form – and the likely conditions – mean that he can’t be discounted but he’s since been pulled up in the Welsh National and a well beaten eighth at Haydock and Cheltenham. Big run would not shock at the price but others stronger.
34 - KITTY'S LIGHT
⭐⭐
?
AGE:
8
WEIGHT:
10-7
TRAINER:
Christian Williams
JOCKEY:
Jack Tudor
📌 A lovable gelding who has won plenty of big valuable handicaps like the 2023 Scottish National and Sandown’s Finale Day Gold Cup. Hasn’t been the same horse this season with five efforts nowhere near the winner over both hurdles and fences. Could sneak in at the bottom but will have to find a big jump in form on what he’s shown this season and is short enough.
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