Whenever a major fixture on the National Hunt racing calendar comes around, you can expect trainer Willie Mullins to have a laundry list of competitive entries who will challenge.
The 2023 Grand National is no exception, and while the 66-year-old Closutton trainer has a couple of short-priced threats in Gaillard Du Mesnil and Mr Incredible who are tipped to be there or thereabouts down the stretch of the four-mile and two-and-a-half-furlong affair, he also boasts a few long shots who have the potential to upset the applecart in the ‘race the world stops to watch’.
With that being considered, read on as we dissect the Mullins-trained outsiders to consider for this weekend’s Grand National at Aintree.
A relatively inexperienced campaigner when compared to some of his opposition, seven-year-old Capodanno has been solid without being spectacular since debuting in November of 2019. The French-bred horse has secured four wins in 12 starts, finishing first past the post in the Monroe Maiden Hurdle at Clonmel, a handicap hurdle at Punchestown, the Beginners Chase at Naas, and in the Grade 1 Champion Novices’ Chase at Punchestown most recently.
Capodanno will be entering Aintree’s feature race slightly underdone however, having only run once this season at Gowran Park after 298 days off – in which he finished third. While that’s not the ideal preparation for a marathon contest as gruelling as the Grand National – given his age and lack of miles on the clock – the JP McManus-owned horse should still be fresh enough to compete on April 15.
For those who are interested in Capodanno when placing a bet on grand national, he is paying 22/1 at the time of writing.
Entering this year’s feature race at 33/1 in the betting lines, 11-year-old Carefully Selected brings with him to Merseyside mixed form that includes a win in a handicap chase at Navan, along with eleventh-place and fourth-place finishes at Leopardstown and Fairyhouse respectively.
While his jumping isn’t flawless, it has drastically improved when compared to his novice days – and if he can be mistake-free for the entirety of the contest – his trademark will and determined attitude will ensure he remains a credible threat up the straight. Carefully Selected currently sits at 33/1 in the latest betting odds.
Recite a Prayer
A considerable outsider at 100/1, eight-year-old Recite a Prayer isn’t expected to do much come 5:15pm on Saturday. You can understand why, with the Irish-bred horse’s form disappointing this season. After a promising pair of results to kick off his season at Listowel and Cork – in which he finished second and third respectively – his last two performances have been anything but impressive.
With twelfth and twentieth-place finishes his last two times out, Mullins will need to make some considerable adjustments if his thoroughbred is to challenge what is a talented field. However, with more than three months having past since his most recent run – we could see a fresher version of Recite a Prayer at Aintree.