Penworthy

My picks for the Grand National

  • From Spectator Life
Derek Fox on Corach Rambler at the Cheltenham Festival in March 2022 [Getty Images]

The Randox Grand National at Aintree is more than three months away but I can’t resist a couple of bets on the race now. At this stage, it is important to bet on a horse that is being targeted at the race but that will not go up in the ratings/weights significantly between now and the spring, thereby hampering its chances of winning.

You also need a strong stayer and a sound jumper, ideally one that has run well over the Aintree fences before. Like all antepost bets, it’s best to have a horse too that is not ground dependent so it can handle whatever the going is on the day.

Lucinda Russell knows what it takes to train a Grand National winner having done just that with One For Arthur in 2017. Six years on, she has an excellent chance of winning the Aintree marathon a second time with CORACH RAMBLER, who was a winner for the yard at the Cheltenham Festival in March.

Last month, he ran a hugely promising race to be fourth to Le Milos in the Coral Gold Cup at Newbury, beaten by just nine lengths on ground plenty fast enough for him.

With watering at Aintree guaranteed in order to ensure greater safety for the horses, we know already that the ground in April will be ‘good to soft’ or softer on the day.

Back Corach Rambler each way with a bookie offering 20-1, including bet365, Coral and Ladbrokes.

As usual, Irish trainers will have a big say in the outcome of the race on Saturday 15 April. For my second bet, I was torn between Any Second Now and LIFETIME AMBITION before eventually coming down in favour of the latter.

Any Second Now was my main fancy for the race last year, eventually finishing a gallant second to Noble Yeats with the third horse 20 lengths back.

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