Grand National festival

I Am Maximus joint-favourite with some bookmakers for the Grand National after drift on Corach Rambler

I Am Maximus: Irish National winner is still a novice and runs in the Drinmore on Sunday
I Am Maximus: winner of last year's Irish Grand NationalCredit: CAROLINE NORRIS

I Am Maximus is vying for joint-favouritism with Corach Rambler at the head of the betting for the Randox Grand National (4.00 Saturday) following a drift on last year's winner.

Corach Rambler had been a strong outright favourite to defend his crown in Saturday's £1 million contest ever since his gallant staying-on third in last month's Cheltenham Gold Cup behind Galopin Des Champs.

Trained by Lucinda Russell, the ten-year-old had been a general 5-1 for the Grand National, but he has drifted out to as big as 15-2 with Ladbrokes and 7-1 with William Hill since the final field was confirmed on Thursday.

I Am Maximus is outright favourite with BetVictor at 7-1 with Corach Rambler at 15-2, while Betfred and BoyleSports cannot separate the pair at 7-1.

Lee Phelps, spokesperson for William Hill, said: "I Am Maximus has been popular in the last 24 hours and is now vying for favouritism for the Grand National. It's a really open market and at this stage it's very hard to know who is going to go off favourite.

"Corach Rambler has been a touch weak since declarations but I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if the money came back in for him given his profile.

"Limerick Lace has been notably popular at a slightly bigger price at 12-1, while our worst result at this stage is Ain't That A Shame for David Maxwell."

Corach Rambler: "The horse winning helped us a lot as a family, not to distract from it but to give us a lift when we are really down."
Corach Rambler: last year's Grand National winner is on the driftCredit: Michael Steele

I Am Maximus's trainer Willie Mullins on Thursday declared his National team, which totals eight runners, including three of the first five in the betting, as "awesome".

The perennial Irish champion trainer, who is bang in contention to win the British championship for the first time, has won the National only once in his esteemed career, with Hedgehunter in 2005.

The new joint-favourite has not run over the famous Grand National course at Aintree, but claimed the Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse last season, is a Grade 1 winner and arrives on Merseyside on the back of a 14-length success over last season's National runner-up Vanillier. That win in the Bobbyjo Chase earned him a career-best Racing Post Rating of 169, though he runs at Aintree off a mark of 159.

Who else is being backed?

Panda Boy

The Martin Brassil-trained eight-year-old is now 10-1 (from 12), having been cut since declarations were made on Thursday. He's had a light campaign and was last seen finishing fourth in a competitive handicap hurdle at Leopardstown. Brassil famously won the National with Numbersixvalverde in 2006.

Limerick Lace

The JP McManus-owned mare has also attracted support and her price ranges between 10-1 and 14-1, having been available at 16-1 when declarations were made on Thursday. She was last seen winning the Mares' Chase at Cheltenham and is the pick of jockey Mark Walsh.

Mahler Mission

Another Irish-trained contender to come in for support is Mahler Mission, a second-season chaser who last seen finishing second in the Coral Gold Cup at Newbury. He is now available at a general 12-1, having been priced up at bigger odds on Thursday. He can still be backed at 16-1 with bet365.

Delta Work

Gordon Elliott is well represented in the National and the pick of his runners, on jockey bookings at least, is Delta Work, who was available at 33-1 earlier this week. The mount of Jack Kennedy has been cut to a general 16-1 since declarations, although Ladbrokes offer a standout 20-1.

2024 Grand National: latest betting

Randox Grand National (4.00 Aintree, Saturday)

William Hill: 13-2 Corach Ramber, I Am Maximus, 9 Meetingofthewaters, 10 Vanillier, 11 Panda Boy, 12 Kitty's Light, Limerick Lace, Mahler Mission, Mr Incredible, 14 Minella Indo, 16 Delta Work, 20 bar

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2024 Grand National: the runners, the odds, the verdict 

Confirmed runners and riders for the 2024 Grand National 

David Jennings' Aintree tips on Friday: 'I fancy him to make all' 

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Deputy news editor

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