Grand National: How Aintree favourites performed at the 2023 Cheltenham Festival

Some strong form on the board!

Corach Rambler wins the Ultima Handicap Chase at Cheltenham


A number of principal players in Paddy Power’s betting for the Aintree Grand National took to the track at the 2023 Cheltenham Festival.

Incredibly, three of the top eight in our antepost market had the perfect preparation for the world’s greatest steeplechase as they were on the scoresheet at Prestbury Park, while four more were placed.

It promises to be the classiest renewal of the Grand National in recent memory as the 40-strong field looks set to be littered with Grade 1 performers. The line-up should also benefit from a longer-than-normal gap between the Cheltenham Festival and Grand National Festival.

The latest antepost Grand National odds can be found on the Paddy Power website and Paddy Power app, otherwise our assessment of the leading fancies’ performances at the 2023 Cheltenham Festival is below.


Cheltenham Festival: Gold Cup (3rd)
Grand National Weight: 11st 12lb

A late jockey change – Sam Ewing taking the ride from a ‘sore’ Davy Russell – caused no problems as Conflated ran a corker to finish best of the rest behind Galopin Des Champs and Bravemansgame in the Blue Riband event of Jumps racing.

Officially rated as the joint-best horse in the Grand National by the British handicapper, the Gordon Elliott trained gelding was weakening on the run in at Cheltenham, which is hardly surprising as it was the furthest trip he has tackled to date.

Conflated also holds an entry for the Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse, which is 5½f shorter than the Aintree equivalent.

Corach Rambler

Cheltenham Festival: Ultima Handicap Chase (1st)
Grand National Weight: 10st 5lb

Jockey Derek Fox pulled off a near repeat victory as Corach Rambler worked his way through the pack to win the Ultima Handicap Chase for the second year in a row, this time off a 6lb higher mark.

The nine-year-old requires one horse higher in the handicap to swerve Aintree but that looks set to happen as Hewick is being aimed at the Punchestown Gold Cup.

Corach Rambler is the favourite with Paddy Power for the Grand National and could prove popular with punters thanks to the light weight he will have to carry.

Delta Work

Cheltenham Festival: Cross Country Chase (1st)
Grand National Weight: 11st 4lb

Delta Work also scored at back-to-back Cheltenham Festivals after scooting clear of stablemate Galvin from the final fence in the Cross Country Chase.

Trainer Gordon Elliott has used the unique race as a tried-and-tested route to the Grand National with former winners Silver Birch and Tiger Roll.

Delta Work finished third in last year’s Grand National after landing the Cross Country Chase and is significantly better off in the weights with the two in front of him from 12 months ago.

Delta Work wins the Cross Country Chase

Gaillard Du Mesnil

Cheltenham Festival: National Hunt Chase (1st)
Grand National Weight: 11st

The luckiest winner at this year’s mega meeting as Mahler Mission’s tired fall at the second last left Gaillard Du Mesnil to head Chemical Energy inside the final 110 yards of the National Hunt Chase.

Willie Mullins’ leading prospect for the Grand National is a reliable sort, however, having finished in the top three on all nine of his starts over the larger obstacles including a third place in last year’s Irish equivalent.


Cheltenham Festival: Cross Country Chase (2nd)
Grand National Weight: 11st 11lb

Galvin earned plaudits for placing second behind Delta Work in the Cross Country Chase on his first try over the banks.

The nine-year-old’s season has been geared towards the Grand National after failing to fire on his two previous starts in Grade 1 company and, as previously, mentioned Gordon Elliott likes to take this route to the big one.

A key concern to take from the Cross Country Chase is that Galvin ran off levels with Delta Work and has to concede 7lb to his stablemate at Aintree.

Mr Incredible

Cheltenham Festival: Kim Muir Handicap Chase (2nd)
Grand National Weight: 10st 4lb

Closutton’s other main fancy for the Grand National followed up second place in the Classic Chase with a respectable third in the Kim Muir when staying on well.

Mr Incredible, who has never finished outside the top three when completing over fences, needs one more horse to forfeit their entry to get into the race off a handicap rating of 145 – the same mark he ran off in the Kim Muir.

Noble Yeats

Cheltenham Festival: Gold Cup (4th)
Grand National Weight: 11st 11lb

It really was an eye-catching performance from last year’s Grand National hero in the biggest race on the National Hunt calendar.

Sure, Noble Yeats was taken off his feet by the relentless pace from the off but the way in which he stayed on to finish fourth – only Galopin Des Champs was faster in the final 1/2 mile of the race – suggested it was the perfect preparation for the defence of his Aintree crown.

Noble Yeats faces the prospect of carrying 15lb more than last year, but the second-season chaser has developed into a top-class animal.

*Odds quoted on the widget are Future Racing / Antepost prices which means that if your selection does not run in the race for whatever reason – you will lose your stake under traditional Antepost rules

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