Grand National Jockeys – Who to watch
Picking the Grand National winner isn’t just about finding the best horse. The jockey is absolutely essential too, so take a look at the leading 2024 Grand National jockeys set to ride some of the well-fancied runners.
Grand National – Who to bet on?
The next Grand National will be held on 13th April 2024, so before the big day arrives, let’s look through some of the most successful jockeys around and discover the best horse to bet on for the Aintree Grand National 2024.
Having proven experience over the Grand National fences is not only a big plus for horses that have run in the race before, but also the jockeys that have performed well in the Grand National. Therefore, having a jockey on your Grand National fancy that has won the race, or often rides the track well, can prove crucial.
Who to bet on for Grand National – The Jockeys
The first one on our “Who to bet on in Grand National 2024” list is Jack Kennedy, who missed out on a ride in the 2023 race, following an untimely leg break in January. He already boasts three top five finishes in the famous race, and may well benefit following the retirement of Davy Russell as Gordon Elliott’s leading jockey.
Other names that might make your decision on who to bet on in the Grand National easier include:
- Derek Fox – now a double winner of the Grand National, after coming home first on Corach Rambler in 2023.
- Daryl Jacob – won the Grand National once, he is one of the front-runners and has found his place in our selection of jockeys who to bet for Grand National.
- Rachael Blackmore – famously became the first female jockey to win the Grand National in 2021.
- Paul Townend – possesses a wealth of experience with two Cheltenham Gold Cup wins under his belt and now the number one jockey in the Mullins yard.
In our opinion, these are the favourites and we think some of them should be on your “who to bet on for the Grand National” list.
- Grand National rides: 5
- Best Grand National result: 3rd in 2018 and 2022
It may feel like Jack Kennedy has been around for a while already, but in fact he’ll still be only 24 years old by the time Grand National 2024 comes around. Heading into the 2023 Cheltenham Festival, Kennedy already had 10 Cheltenham Festival under his belt, most notably winning the 2021 Gold Cup on Minella Indo.
Jack Kennedy is one of Gordon Elliott’s stable jockeys, so much of his Grand National experience to date has been in the Gigginstown colours. Kennedy’s National debut came in 2017, when he made it round on Roi Des Francs, but his joint-best result over the Aintree fences came a year later, as he rode Bless the Wings to 3rd place at odds of 40/1. Kennedy secured a second top five finish on Farclas in 2021 and then another 3rd on Delta Work in 2022, so he’s sure to be right in the mix next time round, with an elusive Grand National win feeling like a matter of when rather than if.
- Grand National rides: 4
- Best Grand National result: 1st in 2017 and 2023
Derek Fox may have only ridden in four Grand Nationals to date, but his record is already one to make his fellow jockeys envious, with two wins to his name. Fox’s first Grand National experience was a successful one, as he partnered with trainer Lucinda Russell to ride One For Arthur to victory in 2017. He returned on the same horse in 2019, and rode him to a more than respectable sixth place finish, a position that would have earned those that backed him a place pay out.
Mighty Thunder provided the one blip on Fox’s impressive Grand National record in 2022, when the 40/1 shot had to be pulled up, but the Fox-Russell partnership more than made up for the disappointment in 2023 with Corach Rambler securing victory as the 8/1 favourite.
The pair will surely go for a hat-trick of wins in the 2024 Grand National, most likely on Corach Rambler again, but Derek Fox’s mount will have to be respected whoever it is.
- Grand National rides: 13
- Best Grand National result: 1st in 2012
Rides mainly freelance these days but is retained to ride for top owners Simon Munir and Isaac Souede.
Jacob has had his moment in the sun when it comes to the Grand National, after winning the race in 2012 with the popular grey horse Neptune Collonges. Trained-by Paul Nicholls, this 11-year-old, that had previously been placed in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, provides the Nicholls yard with their first (and only to date) win in the Grand National.
The jockey became only the fourth to ride a grey horse to victory – with The Lamb (1868 & 1871) and Nicolaus Silver (1961) the other winning grey horses.
Jacob rode a horse called Ucello Conti in the 2017 Grand National, but unseated him with four fences to go, when still in with a shout. Jacob then finished 18th in the 2018 Grand National on Valtor. He found himself on top weight Bristol De Mai in 2021, but it was pulled up half-way round, and a similar scenario played out aboard Good Boy Bobby in 2022. He’ll therefore be hoping for better luck at the 2024 Grand National.
- Grand National rides: 5
- Best Grand National result: 1st in 2021
Rachael Blackmore is best known for riding Minella Times to victory in the 2021 Aintree Grand National, so becoming the first female jockey to win the race in it’s storied history. The Irish-born Blackmore is far from a one-hit wonder though, impressing at the 2021 Cheltenham Festival with six winners, and following that up with victory in the 2022 Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Rachael Blackmore has ridden in the Aintree Grand National five times heading into the 2024 race. Her debut over the famous fences ended when Alpha des Obeaux fell at the Chair, but she did make it round successfully on Valseur Lido in 2019 before her famous win in 2021. Blackmore failed to secure back-to-back Grand National victories in 2022, but was a very popular pick on Ain’t That A Shame in 2023, so she’s expected to be right in the reckoning next time round.
- Grand National rides: 12
- Best Grand National result: 3rd in 2023
Paul Townend is the five-time Irish jumps racing Champion Jockey, with his first win back in 2009-10 demonstrating his longevity and his four more recent wins between 2018 and 2022 showing how he has become Willie Mullins’ number one jockey.
Townend’s Grand National record is surprisingly poor, making it round just three times in 12 attempts. However Gaillard Du Mesnil gave him comfortably his best Grand National ride in 2023, when he finished third, and he’s virtually certain to be on one of the leading contenders in the 2024 race.