GRAND NATIONAL

AUTHOR: Lewis Williams

GRAND NATIONAL 2024: Most Recent Winners & Their Profiles

Welcome to the profile of the previous Grand National winners going back to 2014. This piece will outline key aspects of their campaign heading into Aintree, how they match the longer-term trends, and identify similar horses running in this year’s renewal. With that said, some massive changes have occurred to the Grand National fences in the last 12 years, so I’ve chosen to not go back too far to a time when comparisons may be inapplicable, writes LEWIS WILLIAMS.

Some key trends that are applicable include:

➡️ 28 of the last 32 Grand National winners had won at least one chase over three miles or further.

➡️ 30 of the last 31 winners ran within the previous 55 days

➡️ The last 7-year-old to win before Noble Yeats was in 1940

Previous Grand National placed horses also generally have bad returning records. This was the case time and time again with Any Second Now who was placed in the race twice but was pulled up on the third attempt. Another recent example is Delta Work in 2023 compared to his 3rd place the year prior. Although, the 2018 Grand National winner Tiger Roll obviously bucked this trend in 2019, and there are two previous winners in the 2024 field looking to emulate their prior Merseyside success.

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2023 – CORACH RAMBLER

Corach Rambler spearheaded the 2023 market as the 8/1 favourite after winning what now looks to be an extremely strong Ultima by displaying an impressive level of stamina to get the better of Fastorslow who went on to beat Galopin Des Champs twice in the Punchestown Gold Cup and John Durkan.

He had 9 runs over fences before his National win and climbed from an opening chase mark of 128 to what is now 162 after his fantastic 3rd place finish in the Gold Cup. He will attempt to regain his Aintree crown this year but faces a much stiffer task despite being a ? favourite.

The son of Jeremy followed the trends mentioned at the top of the piece going into the 2023 renewal and the runner with a standout similar profile in the 2024 field has to be Meetingofthewaters. He is ? for Aintree this year and was the subject of plenty of talk before the Festival when he ran a credible 3rd in the Ultima behind Chianti Classico. Can the Ultima provide another Grand National winner?


2022 – NOBLE YEATS

Noble Yeats was a shock 50/1 winner of the Aintree showpiece two years ago in a race that was reported by the levy board to be one of the most profitable Grand Nationals in terms of bookmaker gross profit that the industry has seen in recent years.

The son of Yeats had 7 runs over fences before his Aintree success and bucked the age trend by being the first horse to win the Grand National at the age of 7 since 1940 and he did it after finishing downfield in the majority of his starts that season, including behind Corach Rambler in the year he won his first Ultima. With that said, the form 5 lengths behind Ahoy Senor in the Towton looks particularly strong in hindsight!

Similar to Corach Rambler, Noble Yeats returns to once again feel glory at Aintree, this time at a price of ? . However, the two have had contrasting campaigns this season with Emmet Mullins choosing to run his winner over hurdles for the majority of the season, including when coming from absolutely nowhere to pull off a miracle under Harry Cobden in the Cleeve Hurdle.


2021 – MINELLA TIMES

Minella Times famously put Rachael Blackmore on the big stage as the first female to win the race in 2021 but it was the manner in which the Oscar gelding travelled and won the race that was so eye-catching. He never looked in any danger making steady ground throughout the race and went on to score by a cosy 6 lengths.

He seemed to be at the top of the “shrewd” shortlist going into that race due to his lightly raced nature which saw him run only three times that season and included hitting the crossbar in both a Grade B and Grade A handicap chase, the latter at the Dublin Racing Festival.

Minella Times was certainly one of those horses that never really came back after winning the race. In total contrast to recent winners like Corach Rambler, Noble Yeats and Tiger Roll, the J P McManus gelding failed to finish in five of his next six starts – even in a Pertemps qualifier off 122, and was tailed off 25 lengths in the other.

This year, a horse like Panda Boy at ? fits the profile of Minella Times. Off an identical mark of 146 heading to Aintree, he was 2nd in the same race as Minella Times over the Christmas period at Leopardstown and finished 4th in the Dublin Racing Festival.


2018-2019 – TIGER ROLL

Similar to Corach Rambler, Tiger Roll won his first National after winning a race at the Cheltenham Festival – this time the Cross Country. The son of Authorized looked to be home and hosed at the elbow under Star Sports ambassador Davy Russell but was nearly ran down late on by the fast finishing Pleasant Company under David Mullins in a heads up heads down finish.

The 2014 Triumph Hurdle winner also won the National Hunt Chase over 4 miles after a 134-day layoff when he was on the go all summer which served him well and completed a second consecutive year of 8 year-olds winning the race after One For Arthur the year prior.

The 2024 renewal of the Cross Country was abandoned due to a waterlogged course so we’ll never know who would’ve won it, but the market leader for a long time and the one I fancied was the 11 year-old winner of the 2021 Gold Cup Minella Indo. He certainly has a different profile to the one Tiger Roll had coming into the race in 2018 but he seemed to take to the Cross Country fences well enough back in the December handicap and he’s currently ? with Star Sports to lift this year’s Grand National trophy.


2017 – ONE FOR ARTHUR

The same combination as Corach Rambler in 2023 of Derek Fox and Lucinda Russell also struck six years prior with One For Arthur. His Becher run in 5th where he stayed on strongly despite the race being already lost was a foreshadowing of his future over the National fences as he hit the jackpot in the Classic Chase and then overcame an 84-day absence to win the big one at 14/1.

Derek Fox held him up way back in rear division which isn’t something you usually see with winners of the race in recent years, but the son of Milan picked the pack up one by one and never looked back approaching the elbow.

He had 8 runs over fences before his Grand National tilt and the only runner who finished close in Warwick’s Classic Chase in 2024 heading to Aintree is the ride of Star Sports brand ambassador Harry Skelton on Galia Des Liteaux at ? . The daughter of Saddler Maker has a touch of class in her formbook compared to One For Arthur, but the obvious downside is that the last mare to win the Grand National was in 1951.


2016 – RULE THE WORLD

Rule The World was the last horse to win the race and break their maiden over fences. The Mouse Morris-trained 9 year-old struck at 33/1 in 2016 beating the well touted The Last Samuri. Separate from the winners that came after him, David Mullins didn’t look like a sure thing approaching the last in 3rd as the front two battled it out early on, but he stayed on powerfully once it was a straight run to the line to provide Gigginstown with a first Grand National.

The son of Sulamani’s profile was an interesting one as he was well tried over fences with 13 runs before Aintree and had some classy form as seen in many Graded placed efforts over the winter but never cementing himself as a dominant 150+ chaser, including being beaten 21 lengths to Sub Lieutenant when going off 2/1 for a Grade 3 on his start prior to the big win. Unfortunately, he was only seen once after Aintree in the Grade 1 Champion Novice Chase at Punchestown.


2015 – MANY CLOUDS

Many Clouds won the race back in 2015 and what a horse he was. Unlike some of his Grand National successors, he retained his form all the way until the end when famously suffering a hemorrhage after winning the Cotswold Chase two years after winning at Aintree.

Another 8 year-old to win the National, his victory was captured in full using a Jockey Cam on Leighton Aspell’s head and it was watching that perspective for the first time that I realised just how brave these National Hunt riders are. The screams from Leighton as he’s desperately trying to lift the Cloudings gelding over the line on an empty fuel tank, and his relief when holding on, have lived with me ever since.

Before carrying nearly 12 stone to win, Many Clouds ran 6th in the Gold Cup and won the Cotswold Chase. Those were two of the 11 runs over fences before the National.

We can draw obvious similarities between Many Clouds and some of this year’s runners. First off is Capodanno at ? , a multiple graded winner who struck in the 2024 Cotswold Chase before finishing 4th in the Ryanair to more speedier types and heads to Aintree off a similar mark to Many Clouds in the low 160s. Another obvious parallel is last year’s winner Corach Rambler at ? who ran in the Gold Cup and heads here off a similar mark as the Hemmings Superstar.


2015 – MANY CLOUDS

Pineau De Re gave Leighton Aspell the first of his consecutive Grand Nationals in 2014 at the ripe age of 11 – the oldest horse to win the National in the last decade. The interesting footnote here is that the son of Maresca Sorrento didn’t see a fence until he was 9 and managed to win a National coming off the back of running in veterans handicaps.


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