Grand National 2023: Corach Rambler times run perfectly to claim glory (2024)

By Marcus Armytage, at Aintree

Corach Rambler, the 8-1 favourite, came home an impressive winner of the 175th Randox Grand National to give trainer Lucinda Russell and jockey Derek Fox a second win in the world’s greatest race in six years at Aintree on Saturday. The same combination won with One For Arthur in 2017.

The winner, the third Scottish trained winner in the history of the race, is owned by a syndicate of seven people including 21-year-old student Cameron Sword and William Wallace - it would not be a Scottish syndicate without a William Wallace would it? - a Scotsman who emigrated to Australia to run a telecoms company four years ago.

Wallace flew in on Thursday, went to visit the eight-year-old at his yard in Kinross and was due to fly out of Manchester at 9.30 last night but he said was 150-1 to catch it. “I might not make it,” he admitted.

Sword, who becomes the youngest-ever owner of a National winner taking the title from Bryan Burrough who was 23 when Corbiere won it 40 years ago, could not believe it. He is in his third year of four studying business at Heriot-Watt University at Edinburgh.

He caught the racing bug during Covid, was fascinated by the National, got in touch with Russell and her partner Peter Scudamore to learn more about it, was sold his £4,000 share in the bay gelding who looks like he has dipped his nose in a pot of white paint, on the basis that he would be a ‘good starter horse’ for a young, enthusiastic first-time owner.

Starter? That has probably finished him as an owner because he will never have a better day as an owner than Saturday’s. It will be downhill all the way from here.

“I’m over the moon,” he said. “Derek Fox is is an absolute hero. He rode a blinder. He was near the front for the most of the way and we thought he would be further back. Corach Rambler - what a horse.

“How can people be protesting against horseracing when your protests are making these horses wait out in the sun for even longer? It makes no sense. They can go and do one - this is our sport and I love it.”

He did not know how he would spend his winnings but he was going to make a start on it out on the town in Liverpool on Saturday night. “I’ll probably spend it on something in horseracing - another horse maybe,” he explained. “I’m living the moment, I’ll look at my phone in the morning (perhaps the first time that has ever been said by a student) but I expect there’ll be a lot of congratulations.”

If ever racing wanted an advert for syndicate ownership Corach Rambler is it. Another member Tom Kendall, a colourful accountant in a mustard and purple ensemble to match the horse’s silks, was hoarse from shouting. He said he was so superstitious he was still wearing the same unwashed pants that he had to Cheltenham.

“None of us knew each other before but Corach brought us together,” he said. “I’ve had horses for a few years but nothing like this. We put our heart and sole into these races just like Corach.”

To be honest it must have been an easy watch for the Ramblers. Their horse had been travelling menacingly well throughout the race and avoided the four fallers at the first.

The second circuit was less dramatic in terms of unscheduled departures than the first and going to the second last Mister Coffey, who had led and jumped like a stag, had a five-length lead and Nicky Henderson, who has won everything except a National, must have been thinking ‘finally.’ But he emptied going to the last where Corach Rambler landed in front.

Fox, who had had to pass the doctor in the morning of the race after a fall at Wetherby last week and had even skipped the ride on Ahoy Senor earlier in the week knowing he had such a good chance of a second National on Corach Rambler, did not have to get too serious with the winner or, even, give his shoulder a serious workout.

Though Corach Rambler did his ‘Marty the giraffe’ (from Madagascar) impression by putting his head up in the air half way up the run-in and although it looks like he is having a good look around rather than concentrating on racing, it does not stop him.

The grey Vanillier stayed on from quite far back to take second, beaten two and a half lengths, with Galliard Du Mesnil, another grey, third and last year’s winner Noble Yeats a gallant fourth carrying a lot more weight this time.

There were 17 finishers from the 39 which set off. There were four fallers, 11 jockeys were unseated and the rest were pulled up. Hill Sixteen, the other Scottish runner, was put down after his first fence fall while jockey Johnny Burke was taken to hospital with a suspected broken arm.

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Corach Rambler claims Grand National glory - as it happened

Grand National 2023: Corach Rambler times run perfectly to claim glory (2024)
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