Grand National Festival predictions: Timeform’s 3 things to watch out for at Aintree 2023

Timeform reckon Corach Rambler is the one to be with in the Grand National.

Corach Rambler looks a worthy National favourite

Only one favourite has won the Randox Grand National (17:15 Saturday) in the last 10 years – namely Tiger Roll when defending his crown in 2019 – but the poor record of the market leaders shouldn’t be held against Corach Rambler, who is as short as 6/1 to win the 2023 renewal and understandably so having produced a career best when last seen winning the Ultima Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival for the second year in a row.

Lining up from a 6 lb higher mark than when successful in 2022, Corach Rambler improved again after four months off to follow up at the latest Festival. The official winning margin was just a neck, but he was value for plenty extra given how badly he idled on the run-in, briefly threatening to throw it away having impressed with the manner in which he quickened to the front after the last.

Corach Rambler escapes a penalty for that success, so he is essentially 10 lb well-in and tops the field on Timeform’s weight-adjusted ratings. He also has a small ‘p’ attached to his rating – highlighting that he may yet have more to offer – and must be considered the one to beat for the Lucinda Russell yard which won the National with One For Arthur in 2017.

Zenta looks banker material on cracking day one card

Constitution Hill and a top-class edition of the Aintree Bowl promise to steal the headlines on day one of the meeting, but perhaps the best bet in the Grade 1 races is the Willie Mullins-trained Zenta when she lines up in the Jewson Anniversary 4-Y-O Juvenile Hurdle (14:20 Thursday).

Zenta was last seen finishing third when Mullins saddled the first four past the post in the Triumph Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, a huge performance from a filly having just her third start in this sphere and second for this yard. She was ultimately beaten two and a half lengths behind Lossiemouth, only losing second near the finish and pulling well clear of the rest.

The British juveniles have been much of a muchness all season and Zenta’s third in the Triumph is by far the strongest piece of form on offer in this Grade 1. With her sex allowance factored in, Zenta is 11 lb clear of her rivals on Timeform’s weight-adjusted ratings, so it’s hard to see her being beaten if she simply runs like she did at Cheltenham.

Fakir d’Oudairies bids for a historic hat-trick

No horse has ever won the Marsh Chase (15:30 Friday) three times, but that could all change this week as the 2021 and 2022 winner Fakir d’Oudairies tries to go one better than fellow dual winners Viking Flagship (1995 and 1996), Direct Route (1999 and 2000), Native Upmanship (2002 and 2003), Moscow Flyer (2004 and 2005) and Voy Por Ustedes (2008 and 2009).

Admittedly, there doesn’t seem to be as much confidence behind Fakir d’Oudairies as there was last year when he justified odds-on favouritism, mainly because of his below-par effort in the Ascot Chase last time. Sent off the 7/4 favourite to repeat his 2022 victory in that race, he appeared to be struggling from some way out and ultimately passed the post 23 lengths behind the winner, Shishkin.

One place ahead of him at Ascot was Pic d’Orhy, who is in opposition again here, but Fakir d’Oudairies is sure to prove more of a match for that rival if he arrives here on a going day. It seems like he’s been around a long time, but he’s still only eight and the application of first-time cheekpieces could be just what he needs to help him rediscover his best form in his historic hat-trick bid.

    Read These Next on the Grand National 2023

    The latest racing odds are on now

    The Paddy Power Guide To Safer Gambling – Everything You Need To Know