Grand National entries and weights
Grand National Weights 2024
Carrying less weight than a rival in the Grand National can make all the difference – 2023 Grand National winner Corach Rambler benefited from lining up with only 10 stones 5 pounds on board at Aintree, while Noble Yeats carried a full stone less than the top weight in 2022. Find out all the weights for the 2024 Grand National as soon as they’re announced in mid-February, to help you whittle down the field in the search for a winner.
Until the 2024 Grand National weights are announced, you can view the weight differential for the last race, alongside how the horses fared. There’s a clear bias towards the lower weighted horses, with 2022 winner Noble Yeats and The Big Dog the only two of the nine heaviest weighted horses to get round the gruelling Aintree course.
|Grand National horses||Grand National weights||2023 Result|
|Any Second Now||11st 12lbs||Pulled up|
|Galvin||11st 11lbs||Unseated rider|
|Noble Yeats||11st 11lbs||4th|
|Fury Road||11st 6lbs||Fell|
|Capodanno||11st 5lbs||Pulled up|
|The Big Dog||11st 5lbs||5th|
|Delta Work||11st 4lbs||Unseated rider|
|Sam Brown||11st 4lbs||Fell|
|Lifetime Ambition||11st 3lbs||Unseated rider|
|Carefully Selected||11st 1lb||14th|
|Coko Beach||11st||Pulled up|
|Gaillard du Mesnil||11st||3rd|
|Longhouse Poet||11st||Unseated rider|
|Darasso||10st 13lbs||Unseated rider|
|Le Milos||10st 11lbs||10th|
|Escaria Ten||10st 10lbs||11st 12lbs|
|The Big Breakaway||10st 10lbs||Fell|
|Cape Gentleman||10st 8lbs||Pulled up|
|Diol Ker||10st 8lbs||Unseated rider|
|Roi Mage||10st 8lbs||7th|
|A Wave of The Sea||10st 6lbs||9th|
|Minella Trump||10st 6lbs||15th|
|Velvet Elvis||10st 6lbs||Pulled up|
|Ain’t That A Shame||10st 5lbs||17th|
|Corach Rambler||10st 5lbs||1st|
|Enjoy d’Allen||10st 5lbs||12th|
|Cloudy Glen||10st 4lbs||Unseated rider|
|Mister Coffey||10st 4lbs||8th|
|Mr Incredible||10st 4lbs||Unseated rider|
|Gabbys Cross||10st 2lbs||Unseated rider|
|Hill Sixteen||10st 2lbs||Fell|
|Eva’s Oskar||10st 2lbs||Unseated rider|
|Recite A Prayer||10st 2lbs||Unseated rider|
|Dunboyne||10st 2lbs||Pulled up|
|Francky du Berlais||10st 2lbs||16th|
|Our Power||10st 2lbs||11th|
|Back On The Lash||10st 2lbs||Pulled up|
|Born By The Sea||10st 2lbs||6th|
The Grand National betting markets are a lot more active once the weights are announced, with punters now knowing what their fancies will have to carry in order to win the Aintree Grand National.
With the horses still allowed to run after the Grand National weights are announced, this can work both ways. Some horses will run well in the build-up to the Grand National and would normally rise up the handicap (more weight), while others might underperform and would in a normal race drop in the handicap (less weight).
Even if a horse is allotted 8st 12lbs, it must carry 10 stone, the required minimum. This means some horses will be carrying possibly a stone more than they should be (known as being out of the handicap). This disadvantage should suggest they are likely to perform less well than their rivals. Many punters will automatically put a line through horses who are out of the Grand National handicap. As the quality of the horses has improved, few horses, if any, are running off anything other than their mark.
How are Grand National weights determined?
When allocating the weight of each horse, the handicapper must take a variety of factors into account. This includes form – a horse’s recent/previous performances and the course: the so-called ‘Aintree Factor’. This begs the questions, does the horse like the track? Is (s)he proven over long trips?
The final field is determined by each contender’s rating. The highest-weighted horses given preference in a maximum field of 40.
The top-rated horse(s) in the race will be allocated the top-weight 11-10 and then all the other Grand National runners in the race will be allocated their weight off this top-rated horse.
Weight of previous Grand National winners
Until Many Clouds, no horse carrying more than 11st 7lb had won since Red Rum‘s 1977 third victory, (11st 8lb). However, in the 25 runnings of the Grand National between 1984 and 2009 only one winner (Hedgehunter, 2005) carried more than 11st. The win Don’t Push It in 2010 with 11st 5lb on board heralded a slight change in this trend, with five winners since 2010 carrying 11st or more.
Here are the more recent weights of previous Grand National winners, ordered by weight.
- 11-09 Many Clouds (2015)
- 11-06 Neptunes Collonges (2012)
- 11-05 Tiger Roll (2019)
- 11-05 Don’t Push It (2010)
- 11-00 Ballabriggs (2011)
- 10-13 Tiger Roll (2018)
- 10-11 One For Arthur (2017)
- 10-10 Noble Yeats (2022)
- 10-07 Rule The World (2016)
- 10-06 Pineau De Re (2014)
- 10-05 Corach Rambler (2023)
- 10-03 Auroras Encore (2013)
- 10-03 Minella Times (2021)
Grand National handicap history
Historically, the allocation of weights for the Grand National was crucial for the prospects of trainers, jockeys and owners. The Grand National Handicap has cleared the path to big-race glory or produced a burden too heavy to overcome.
Unlike some other prestigious steeplechases of the year, the Grand National is a handicap race. This means horses carry differing weights according to their previous form. The idea behind the Grand National handicap is to make for a more even race.
The handicapper’s ultimate (though unfeasible) aim is for all horses to pass the winning post in a dead heat – but, of course, this would never happen with 40 horses running and many tricky fences to jump.
The Grand National is the only race where the British Horseracing Authority’s Head of Handicapping, Dominic Gardiner-Hill, can use his discretion to determine the weights. He can personally select what each horse will carry and can deviate from the normal handicap ratings.
The horse considered a top weight comes to about 11st 10lb and the weights allotted to the other horses are set in relation to this. This means if the top-weighted horse drops out, the weights for others may alter but will not change in relation to each other.
Changes to the Grand National handicap
Seven of the last 14 winners in the Grand National Handicap have carried at least 11st, which has led to some feeling that horses at the top are no longer at such a big disadvantage. In part, it’s due to a new formula for handicapping the National devised in 2001. Essentially the handicap has been compressed, decreasing the gap between the top and lowest weighted horses, creating a more competitive race.
Some 15 years ago, the Grand National field was still largely made up of horses out of the handicap. They were carrying the minimum 10st weight. On the final race card, these could sometimes account for 70% of the field. But, as we’ve already said, in the past few years, every horse has got into the handicap proper. In 1999, the lowest-rated horse in the race had an official rating of 110. In the 2011 renewal, the lowest-rated horse, Golden Kite, has a rating of 135. So, the quality of the field increased by 25lbs in that 11 year period. Last year’s bottom weights had a mark of 145.
The result is that the top-weighted horses will have only a few pounds more than their rivals. Officials will be giving no more than a stone and a half to any runner. It’s a far cry from a century ago, when Manifesto, the 1897 and 1899 winner, gave 48lb to some horses in the 1900 race.
Grand National Handicap compressing
We’ve seen Tiger Roll win with 11st 5lbs in 2019 and Many Clouds shouldering 11st 9lbs to victory in 2015 – the biggest winning weight since Red Rum in 1974.
In the past, carrying 11st or more has been considered impossible until Hedgehunter carried 11st 1lb for the first time in 22 years. But 2009 winner, Mon Mome, carried 11st to win the race in a year in which the top four horses all carried 11st or more, whilst the 2010 winner – Don’t Push It – carried 11st 5lb and the runner-up – Black Apalachi – carried 11st 6lb.
Looking back and considering the increase in the quality of the horses in modern times, it’s likely that Bobbyjo would not have made the starting line in any of the past 10 runnings. In 1999, the winner was carrying 10st in 1999 and racing from 14lbs out of the handicap.
Thus, whilst Red Rum remains the last horse to win the Grand National Handicap off top weight (and the first since the 1930s), it may not be long before that achievement is repeated – 2013 winner, Neptune Collonges, was the fifth top-weight, whilst only former Gold Cup winner Lord Windermere had more weight than Many Clouds.
As sporting sights go, few can match the sheer excitement of 40 horses thundering towards the first fence at Aintree in the Grand National.