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Lucky Loader’s 2024 Grand National Shortlist: Look For National Newbies

It’s not long to go before the Grand National starts next week at Aintree. For many people outside of racing, the Grand National is more than just a race; it’s a cultural phenomenon and often regarded as the biggest race of the year. With its rich history and challenging course, finding the winner of the Grand National can be seen as the hardest puzzle to solve in racing.

Aintree National Fences Horse Racing

I’ve not got a bad record in the race, with my best year coming in 2022, when I tipped Noble Yeats to win at 50/1. I also put Delta Work, Santini, and Fidderonthroof each way that year, who all finished in the first five. I always think it’s good to have a few on your shortlist, and that’s what I’ll be giving you here.

Before I reveal my first pick, one trend that I have used over the last couple of years, is that I have looked at horses having their first experience over the national fences. Beforehand, I was under the impression that having a spin around them was a good thing, but it turns out it’s more of a negative than a positive. That’s because 13/15 Grand National winners had never jumped over them before, without the exception of Tiger Roll, who won the race twice in 2018 and 2019. This is something I will be looking at with my picks again this year.

My 2024 Grand National shortlist 

Corach Rambler (4/1)

I know my first selection is going against what I just said with them having their first go over the national fences, but I don’t think this year’s renewal is that strong, and Corach Rambler looks to have a standout chance.

His effort in the Cheltenham Gold Cup to finish third was a cracking run. Some people might think he had a hard race, but that was his first run since November, and he’s been campaigned with the National in mind again. Furthermore, when it comes to staying chasers, there aren’t many better trainers in the UK than Lucinda Russell at getting them to win these kinds of races. 

The 10-year-old gelding is off a 13lb higher mark than his win last year, but I don’t think he’s badly treated, as he’s effectively 3lb well in since his last run. He’s always a horse that looks to always save a bit up his sleeve, and the better the race, the better he seems to run. I am finding it hard to leave him out of calculations this year.

I Am Maximus (8/1)

Again, I know I am staying close to the top of the market with I Am Maximus, but he’s got a good profile for this race, and he has yet to run over the national fences. The son of Authorized has already won an Irish Grand National, and he is a Grade 1 winning novice over fences after he took the Drinmore at Fairyhouse last December. 

Willie Mullins’ main hope comes here after winning the Bobbyjo Chase in February, which has been a good trial for many horses who have placed in recent years with the likes of Any Second Now and Rathvinden. It’s hard to see him not playing a part, provided he takes to the fences.

Kitty’s Light (14/1)

Christian Williams has had this race in mind for Kitty’s Light all season. He’s been a credit to connections, winning a Scottish National, an Eider, and a Bet365 Gold Cup in his career to date, and he’s definitely worth a go in the Grand National.

The last time we saw him, he finished a respectable seventh in the Ultima Handicap Chase at Cheltenham, which is a race that has produced the last two winners of the Grand National with Corach Rambler and Noble Yeats, so going via that route doesn’t look to be a bad option.

As long as the ground isn’t too testing for him, I think he has a good chance, as he stays all day, and if he is still in the mix at the last fence, he’ll definitely be in the frame.

Limerick Lace (25/1)

Now we are going a bit more left-field, but I think Limerick Lace would be an interesting runner if Gavin Cromwell let her take her chance. She was last seen winning the Mares’ Chase at Cheltenham, but even though that was over 2m4f I believe she would be better going back up in trip. The daughter of Walk In The Park has run really over staying distances this season, which also included a good second in the Troytown Handicap Chase at Navan in November.

Moreover, if you look at her pedigree, she’s from the family of Kim Muir winner Inothewayurthinkin, so she could be open to further improvement, and she won’t mind the ground if it did end up getting on the testing side.

Some people will point out that mares’ don’t have a good record in the race, but you only have to go back to 2019, when Magic Of Light finished second in the Grand National behind Tiger Roll, so they can run well.

She’d be a mare I’d want to keep on side if connections decide to let her run.

Tommie Beau (150/1)

It’s hard to see Tommie Beau getting in, but stranger things have happened. If he did get declared, I don’t think he would be a complete outsider. He’s been the king of the regional nationals for Seamus Mullins, this season winning the Durham and Southern Nationals. 

The last time he ran, he carried topweight in the Eider and finished a respectable third, giving weight to Anglers Crag, who has a live chance in the Scottish National later this month. The nine-year-old gelding just loves a test of stamina, and I could see him taking well to a race of this nature, provided he made the final field.

When it comes to trying to find the National winner, many pundits and punters will have their own methods, which would have served them well over the years. As mentioned earlier, I am keen to look at horses having their first experience of the National and all my shortlist picks, baring Corach Rambler, have never run over the National fences before, and I think if they all lined up, they would have a lot of positives in their camp.

Whatever your backing I hope you enjoy the race and please remember to gamble responsibly!

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