Whether you study the form, stick a pin in or have a go on the workplace sweep, the Grand National at Aintree is the race to have a little flutter.
So to make your task a little easier, we’ve created this guide and narrowed down the huge field of 40 runners to the 16 most likely to taste glory on Saturday.
The £1 million Randox-sponsored marathon over four miles and two furlongs takes place at 5.15 pm. Televised live by ITV for a global audience of up to 600 million viewers, the action will unfold over 30 fences, many of which have household names, such as Becher's Brook, The Chair, Valentine's Brook and the Canal Turn.
Those fences are not as fearsome as they once were. Quite rightly, animal welfare takes first priority now. But the historic race, which dates back to 1839, is still a thrilling spectacle.
Finding the winner is never easy. In the last 15 years, the National has yielded a 100/1 stunner (Mon Mome), a 66/1 shot (Aurora’s Encore), a 50/1 poke (Noble Yeats), three 33/1 outsiders (Silver Birch, Neptune Collonges and Rule The World) and two 25/1 shots (Pineau De Re and Many Clouds). And last year’s winner, Noble Yeats, defied all logic as he became the first 7yo since 1940 and only the second novice since 1958 to land the spoils.
Noble Yeats is back for more this year, as is Any Second Now, who has been placed in the last two renewals, and Rachael Blackmore who, in 2021 on Minella Times, became the first female jockey to win the race.
Amazingly, that year, ten of the first 11 places were filled by horses trained in Ireland. It was a similar story 12 months ago with seven of the first ten and, once again, Irish handlers such as Willie Mullins and Gordon Elliott are well represented. In fact, 27 of the 40-strong field is made up of horses from across the Irish Sea.
Last year, our guide featured five of the first six home, so let’s hope for more of the same! Please note: the 16 horses are listed in alphabetical order. The numbers do NOT relate to the horses’ order on the racecard. And the prices quoted were correct at the time of going to press. Good luck!
MY VERDICT - 1 Le Milos, 2 Gaillard Du Mesnil, 3 Galvin, 4 Our Power, 5 Ain’t That A Shame, 6 Delta Work
1. Rachael Blackmore bidding to make more history
Jockey Rachael Blackmore and trainer Henry De Bromhead teamed up memorably two years ago to make Grand National history with Minella Times. This time they rely on AIN'T THAT A SHAME (pictured right, 14/1), a 9yo who lacks experience but is a consistent, progressive chaser blessed with a touch of class. He has been aimed at the race for some time, and victory would be a fitting end to the season for De Bromhead, whose 13-year-old son Jack died in a tragic riding fall last September. Photo: Submitted
2. Father Ted hopes to make it third time lucky
There are few more admirable horses in training than 11yo ANY SECOND NOW (16/1), owned by JP McManus and trained by Ted Walsh, father of brilliant former jockey Ruby. He has been effective at all trips from 2m to 4m+ but has proved a National natural in the last two years, finishing a desperately unlucky third in 2021 and then an excellent second 12 months ago (pictured jumping the last in front). To make it third time lucky, he must defy top weight but canny Ted has won the race before -- with Papillon back in 2000. Photo: Paul Ellis/Getty Images
3. Is this the Carefully Selected chosen one for Mullins?
Willie Mullins has been champion jumps trainer in Ireland for the last 16 seasons and has saddled more Cheltenham Festival winners (94) than anyone else. But it is a curious anomaly that he is responsible for only one Aintree National hero -- Hedgehunter back in 2005. One of his hopes this year is CAREFULLY SELECTED (50/1), who might be 11 but is lightly-raced after an injury-plagued career. Only now is he beginning to fulfil the exciting potential that was first identified at the Cheltenham Festival of 2018. Mullins has entrusted the ride with Michael O'Sullivan, one of the brightest jockeys on the circuit. Photo: Submitted
4. Favourite is well-handicapped Cheltenham Festival winner
One For Arthur, 2017 winner of the National, sadly died a few weeks ago. But Scottish trainer Lucinda Russell and her partner, former champion jockey Peter Scudamore, appear to have an heir apparent to the Aintree throne in CORACH RAMBLER (9/1), who has been favourite since completing back-to-back wins in a big handicap chase at the Cheltenham Festival. He's a tricky ride and has to come from the back, but he's extremely well handicapped because the weights for the National were framed before Cheltenham so, theoretically, he should be carrying 10lb more. Photo: Michael Steele/Getty Images