#UK RACING: Corach Rambler Bids For More National Glory

Corach Rambler
Corach Rambler

A reduced field, due to a safety review, of 34 will contest the world's greatest steeplechase The Grand National on Saturday (April 13) at Aintree racecourse.

An astonishing 26 of the runners hail from Ireland, with eight apiece from the stables of Willie Mullins and Gordon Elliott.

Aside from the reduction in the maximum number of participants -- down from 40 -- other measures introduced include a shorter run to the first of the 30 fences.

Escape routes for riderless horses, who can cause mayhem, have also been installed and the size of the 11th fence, an open ditch, has been reduced.

The race still retains its unique appeal for racing fans and neutral observers, many of whom have their one bet of the year.

The top five horses to watch.

Corach Rambler

The defending champion returns to try to emulate Tiger Roll (2018/19) and win back-to-back Nationals.

He was the first British-trained winner of the National since 2017 victor One for Arthur, who was also trained by Scotland-based Lucinda Russell.

Ran a superb prep with third in last month's Cheltenham Gold Cup, and unlike many of his main rivals Corach Rambler will not be inconvenienced by the testing rain-affected going.

"The way that he runs, he races in a very relaxed manner all the time anyway," said Russell.

"Whether it is heavy or quick ground it doesn't matter to him."

Noble Yeats

Barely a dry eye in the house when amateur Sam Waley-Cohen produced a fairytale final ride to win the National in 2022.

Still runs in his father Robert's colours but now has Harry Cobden on board in his bid to become the first horse to reclaim his Grand National crown since Red Rum won his third in 1977.

His Irish trainer Emmett Mullins -- nephew of Willie -- has given him an unorthodox preparation running him over hurdles and his last run was an insipid one in The Stayers Hurdle at Cheltenham.

That and top weight would argue a case against him but the saying horses for courses seldom rings truer than over the imposing fences at Aintree.

"He is in great form and he has been a great servant," said Mullins on Thursday.

Minella Indo

On paper the class horse of the race having won the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2021. That was an annus mirabilis for trainer Henry de Bromhead as he also won the Grand National with Minella Times -- Rachael Blackmore memorably becoming the first woman to ride the winner.

However, Minella Indo is no longer the force he was and has not run since fourth at Cheltenham last December.

However, de Bromhead is not one for tilting at windmills and is upbeat about his chances.

"He is in good form. He stays and he jumps and has plenty of class," the 51-year-old Irishman told AFP.

De Bromhead adds, though, his mantra before any race is "more hopeful than confident" but when it comes to the National he is "even more hopeful than confident."


The horse may not have the prestigious wins to his name of the trio above him in the list.

However, he has the potential to deliver what a National winner has a habit of doing, serving up a great story.

Tom Ellis recently became a trainer as the opportunity of training a National runner owned and bred by his mother Pippa and ridden by his wife Gina Andrews proved too tempting.

Latenightpass is far from a no hoper having won the Foxhunters over the iconic fences two years ago and beat Minella Indo last December.

"However long I trained for, I doubt we will ever have another Grand National runner bred by my mother and ridden by my wife," said Ellis.

"So it made sense to try."

Kitty's Light

He just sneaked into the final field of 34 and comes alive in the Spring, a hat-trick of excellent wins last year, including the Scottish Grand National, attesting to that.

If successful he would not only be Wales's first winner of the race since Kirkland in 1905 but provide a real fairytale.

Trainer Christian Williams has been dealing with his professional career and the stress of his six-year-old daughter Betsy being diagnosed with leukaemia last year.

"To cure her they had to take her as close to death without killing her," 41-year-old Williams told The Daily Telegraph.

Betsy will be there on Saturday to watch Kitty's Light run but what he has already done for the Williams's is invaluable.

"What he did for us last season, what he brought to the family, was incredible," Williams told The Racing Post.


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