Three Horses To Take Out Of The 2023 Aintree Grand National Meeting

James Mackie | @JMackieRacing

Strong Leader

The first from Aintree that caught the eye was the Olly Murphy trained Strong Leader who finished like a steam train in the Grade One Top Novices' Hurdle to grab second.

Strong Leader has been a horse that has always shown big potential running well in both his bumpers winning and finishing second to Encanto Bruno.

Sent over hurdles this term at Uttoxeter he took to them well and made it back to back victories at Aintree under a penalty.

Landing a hat-trick at Southwell he was then sent into the Grade One Supreme Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenham festival and overall he did not run his race.

Putting that behind him at Aintree, he ran a career best to fly home behind Inthepocket to grab second and on better ground and stepping him up in trip, he has a big chance of being a Grade One horse.


On the second day of the meeting Kateira for the Skelton's caught the eye stepping up into Grade One company and travelling like the best horse in the race for a long way before settling for second.

Fifth of 20 in the Grade Two Mares Bumper at this meeting last year behind the smart Ashroe Diamond, this season she has been sent over hurdles and is unbeaten on all three occasions.

Starting her career over timber over 2m at Uttoxeter when taking to hurdles extremely well bolting up on soft ground, she then went up in trip to 2m 4 1/2f and was an even more impressive winner at Huntingdon, going in by 13 lengths to a next time out winner.

Back down to 2m 1/2f at Market Rasen last time out, under a double penalty she made light work of the field to beat a next time out winner by 19 lengths.

She was sent into her first Grade One against the geldings and having travelled brilliantly from the rear to challenge she was just beaten by smart performer Irish Point, who had the experience edge in better races throughout the season.

Kateira has a huge future and is worth keeping an eye on.


The final eye-catcher from the 2023 Grand National meeting came from the big race with Vanillier for Gavin Cromwell who flew home for second.

A horse that showed he always had star potential when landing the Grade One Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle at the 2021 Cheltenham festival.

Sent chasing last season it never really worked out with him only winning one event in his last 10 runs which saw his handicap mark plummet ahead of the Grand National.

Aimed at the big race at Aintree all season, his prep run set him up perfectly for the feature event when second in the Grade Three Bobbyjo Chase giving 8lb to the winner Kemboy.

Racing off a mark of 147 he was very well handicapped for the National and showed that when flying home after the last to finish second and if the race was slightly further he would have landed the race.

If not penalised to much he is sure to have a big handicap in him at some stage in his career.