This is the time of year when everybody is a little more relaxed now that the BHA Handicapper has revealed the official Grand National entries.

For 2024, the pecking order for the potential runners was announced on Tuesday, February 6th, with Hewick top of the list.

Now that we know what’s what in terms of which horses are most likely to get to the starting tape, bookmakers have plenty of options available for punters to have a flutter on.

Just remember that quite a few on the list won’t make the cut or be withdrawn by connections at the various declaration stages.

So to make it a little easier, we’ll take a look at the current ante-post favourites and evaluate whether or not they represent value for money.

Where To Place Your Bet

One major way to combat the uncertainty around whether or not to have an ante-post flutter is to first find a great place to have a bet.

The best UK horse racing betting sites will have plenty of offers and promotions for the Grand National but ultimately, we’re all about the odds.

So have a look around and if you fancy a certain Grand National runner then compare the odds across a few different sites.

Ultimately, if you’ve backed the winner, the better the odds, the more you win!

I also recommend signing up, wherever you decide, well in advance. In the days leading up to the Grand National, betting sites risk becoming overloaded by the sheer volume of bets being placed.

I have seen one or two stumble along at a painfully slow pace on the day of the race, which is incredibly frustrating for a customer.

But the absolute biggest reason to sign up sooner rather than later is because free bet offers on the Grand National tend to get pulled the day before the race.

All that marketing to get you in the door suddenly goes out the window, and you are left with nada. Not a sniff of a free bet to be found anywhere!

So prepare well, sign up, get your welcome offer, and then sit back, smug in the knowledge that you only have to decide who to back on race day.

Ante-Post Favourites In 2024

In 2023 Corach Rambler was one of only 27 winners to go off as favourite in the history of the race. And the race has been running since 1839!

That means in 175 renewals of the race, the fav has only won 15.4% of the time.

The odds do increase if we only go back 20 years as in that time, five favourites have won. A 25% win rate in their favour.

So, with a one-in-four shot of taking the prize, who tops the market today?

Corach Rambler

It should come as absolutely no surprise to anybody that Corach Rambler is one of the current ante-post favourites with most bookmakers.

After all, it would be remiss to discount the current champion, irrespective of who could potentially challenge on the day.

Trained by Lucinda Russell, he went off in 2023 at odds of 8/1 largely on the back of his decisive win in the Ultima Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival the previous month.

Prior to that, he had been having a rather mediocre season, and it looks like that pattern is repeating itself.

Two runs so far this season, and neither has been particularly impressive. But two main factors could hamper his chances for a repeat performance at Aintree.

Firstly, he will be carrying significantly more weight. Having run off 10-05 in 2023, he will go to at least 11-02 for 2024.

Secondly, he has an entry for the Cheltenham Gold Cup. If he exerts himself in that race, Russell will not send him to Aintree four weeks later.

At odds of around 12/1 ante-post, you can’t rule him out, but it makes more sense to wait until after Cheltenham to place a bet.

I Am Maximus

Willie Mullins hasn’t trained a Grand National winner since Hedgehunter in 2005. Could I Am Maximus change that in 2024?

There’s a lot to like about the JP McManus-owned eight-year-old not least of which is the fact that he won the Irish Grand National last season.

Also likely to run off 11-02 on the day, he has had a much better season than Corach Rambler notching up two wins at Fairyhouse, including the BobbyJo Chase last time out.

Not only was that another solid win but it was also after the weights. That means the bump in his Official Rating doesn’t count so he is now at least 5lbs ‘well-in’ when it comes to the Grand National.

As form goes, he has never fallen, pulled-up, or unseated his rider, and that all contributes to his low odds of 10/1 and his status as one of the ante-post favourites for the race.

Vanillier

If you can’t discount a previous winner then it goes without saying that you also can’t discount a previous runner-up.

Vanillier was second in 2023 and despite losing to I Am Maximus in the BobbyJo Chase (by a hefty 14 lengths), he does have one ace up his sleeve. His weight.

The BHA Handicapper was very fair and Vanillier will carry 10-08 on the day. That is only 2lbs more than last year.

He has almost followed the same path to Aintree in 2024, with very similar results and with no Cheltenham entries, has his eyes firmly fixed on Liverpool.

Can he step and go that one place further and win it for trainer Gavin Cromwell? Odds of 10/1 ante-post suggest that he can.

Mahler Mission

It may be surprising to some that Mahler Mission and Corach Rambler are so close in the betting markets.

So what makes Mahler Mission a contender worthy of being on a par with last year’s winner?

Firstly, he’s the only one of the two being specifically aimed at the Grand National with Corach Rambler likely to go to the Gold Cup.

Trainer John McConnell made that clear when he opted to skip the Christmas Festival at Leopardstown.

Speaking to the Racing Post, McConnell said, “We’re thinking of the National, and we have enough of a mark now. I’d like to get a run in beforehand, but I’m not sure where yet.”

Add a second-place finish in the Gold Cup at Newbury in December, despite losing two shoes, and suddenly Mahler Mission is looking like a contender.

The rest of his season will tell a lot, so we will keep our eyes peeled, and if he starts to really shape, we will let you know!

Conclusion

So there you have the top four ante-post favourites for the 2024 Grand National. All of them tick plenty of boxes and any could run a spectacular race on the day.

As always, if you place an ante-post bet, and for whatever reason your horse doesn’t run, you will lose your money.

If you choose to wait until all are Non Runner No Bet, the odds may shorten but you won’t risk your stake.