Grey Horses in the Grand National

Some horse racing fans just love to back grey horses when choosing who to bet on in the Grand National.

Many people consider backing greys lucky, they are certainly stunning animals to look at, with their natural colour also making it easier when watching the Grand National to pick them out from the other horses competing.

Grey horses are something of a rarity in general and although 3 greys have won the Grand National before, they don’t have the best record in the race, however, this is more down to less of them competing than any difference in genetics or chance.

In our guide, we will look at all the grey horses competing in the Grand National this year as well as interesting Grand National facts about the history of grey horses in previous Grand Nationals.

Find out more about grey horses in the Grand National:

Grey Horses in the Grand National

What Grey Horses are Running in the 2023 Grand National?

Here are all the grey horses running in this year’s Aintree Grand National race.

Snow Leopardess – The Ultimate Back to Work Mum?

The best chances of all the greys in the Grand National this year appears to lie with the stunning Snow Leopardess.

However, it’s not just her near-white colour, great jumping and excellent form that is likely to make her popular with punters the world over but also her heartwarming story.

Trained by Charlie Longsdon, she is firstly a mare (female horse) and she bids to become the first grey mare to win the race in Grand history. 

However, that only tells part of the story.

Snow Leopardess also had a remarkable break of 794 days (just over 2 years) off the track before returning in amazing form.

During this time off, she not only recovered from injury but more unbelievably she gave birth to a horse sired by the 2006 Derby Winner Sir Percy!

This means that the grey mare could also be the first-ever mother to win in Grand National history.

Whilst it’s normal for humans to go back to work after giving birth, for elite sportspeople and racehorses to return in better than ever form is very rare indeed but this is what this wonder-mare has done.

Let’s be honest though, she may have a great story but Snow Leopardess is fancied on her talent, she isn’t a sympathy or novelty bet, she is horse with talent and a touch of class.

She is in fact considered the leading British fancy in the race and many think she has a serious chance to repel the typical strong Irish challenge.

Her sex and colouring aside, Snow Leopardess has won all 3 of her races this year and this excellent form has seen her high in the ante-post markets for months.

So although many people will latch onto her great story she is not there to make up the numbers.

Snow Leopardess is one of the Grand National current favourites.

Snow Leopardess is a mum on a mission. She has talent, guts and determination – all required to lift the million pound Grand National. Her bold jumping will see her there when others have given up.

Charlie Longsdon’s grey mare also has important track form.

As the old saying “horses for courses” goes, this should stand in her good stead. She knows what Aintree is all about.

She has won around the tricky Grand National course at Aintree racecourse this season in the Becher Chase (Dec 2021), which shows she can handle the tricky Grand National fences.

In the Beecher Chase she jumped boldly and battled well to see off 21 other rivals. After that perfect dress rehearsal, The Grand National has been the plan and her top trainer will have her finely tuned.

SNOW LEOPARDESS Ridden by Aiden Coleman sails over Bechers wins at AINTREE 4/12/21
Photograph by Grossick Racing Photography 0771 046 1723


  • Won 3 out of 3 this year
  • Winner of 9 of her 19 races and placed another 6 times
  • Proven form over the Aintree fences
  • Great jumper
  • Great battler


  • Trying to be only the 4th grey horse to win in history
  • Trying to be only the 14th mare to win in history
  • Trying to be the first mother to win in history

So, the wonderful Snow Leopardess is a grey horse with a bit of a difference.

Can this Grey Lady and mum succeed in the world’s most famous race?

It would be an unbelievable achievement but Rachel Blackmore showed last year that girls can succeed in this great race and this horse could follow in her steps.

Snow Leopardess is sure to be popular and we expect her to go very close and we wish her and her connections all the luck.

Farclas – A Similar Path to Tiger Roll?

The next horse in our grey horse guide is Farclas.

This darker and dabbled grey horse is trained by Gordon Elliott in Ireland, who knows a thing or two about training a Grand National winner as the trainer of the brilliant Tiger Roll.

Farclas, also shares an interesting stat with that great dual-Grand National winner, in that he too won the Triumph Hurdle as a four-year-old.

Since that early Cheltenham Festival success, the now 8-year-old has gone on to have a successful career and is the winner of 5 of his 23 races. He has regularly competes at all the major National Hunt festivals in the UK and Ireland.

Although his early form was over 2 miles, he fits the old-school category and theory that a good 2 miler will stay the 4 miles of the Grand National.

Farclas also has key Grand National form having finished 5th in the 2021 renewal at 16-1. Although beaten 29 lengths in the races he was staying on and the way he has been campaigned since – just two runs – indicates that this return to Aintree has always been high on the agenda.

Farclas is proven and is a very solid option – proven course form, good jumping and great stamina, it’s hard to rule him out any calculations.



  • He Finished 5th in the Grand National last year
  • Won the Triumph Hurdle, as former dual winner Tiger Roll did
  • Solid jumper
  • Proven stamina
  • Been targetted at the race


  • Looks slightly exposed
  • Unseated rider two runs ago

We expect Farclas to run a solid race, his expert trainer will have him 100% ready for the race but we will feel there is likely to be a potential horse better handicapped than him.

We wish the connections of Farclas a great run and a safe journey home.


The final potential grey horse in the lineup for the 2023 Grand National is Commodore.

This stunning horse is trained by the superb trainer Venetia Williams, who has won the Grand National, so she knows what is required to take the victory.

Commodore won his last race well and it looks as if this race has been the target since then.

His form has something of an uneven look but as a 4-time winner he may get into the race off a lightweight. He is sure to be big odds but if on one of his “going days” he could run a bigger race than many predict.


  • Won last time out
  • Trained by former National-winning Trainer Venetia Williams.
  • Good jumper
  • Only beaten half a length by Snow Leopardess when they ran against each other
  • Form is inconsistent


Has a Grey Horse Ever won the Grand National?

3 grey horses have won the Grand National. The Lamb won the race twice, so that means the great race has been won 4 times by a grey horse.

We look at previous grey Grand National winners.

The Lamb 1868 and 1871

The Lamb – as the name suggests – was a small horse. He was so small in fact that many thought he didn’t have the scope to be a professional racehorse.

The Lamb was initially a family horse but he proved difficult to ride He was therefore sent into training in Ireland taking part in races and enjoying some success, leading to the decision to enter it in the Grand National in 1868.

Heavy rain in the days leading up the Grand National meant that the ground was extremely muddy that year, with the Lamb taking full advantage. He won the race by a short distance, missing the 1869 running after a clerical error over his age. A wasting disease meant that he missed the next year, but when he returned to Aintree in 1871 he reclaimed his crown. Interestingly, a horse named the Colonel had won in 1869 and 1870, meaning that the title was shared between two horses for a period of four years.

Nicolaus Silver

The fact that you’ve got to fast forward nearly 100 years to find the next grey to win the National tells a story all of its own. The success this time belonged to Nicolaus Silver, a gelding that was foaled in 1952. Bred by James Heffernan in Tipperary, Ireland, Nicolaus Silver was sired by Nicolaus out of Rays of Montrose, who had also been a grey. Having trained in Ireland, his trainer died suddenly and so the eight-year-old was sold in November of 1960. Betting was keen on account of the fact that he’d already qualified for the Grand National.

Charles Vaughan paid £2,600 for him and he was sent to Fred Rimell for training. Ridden by Bobby Beasley and given odds of 28/1, he outran 34 other runners in order to win by five lengths. Rimell had already trained a winner in ESB five years earlier, meaning that Nicolaus Silver added to his tally in spite of the fact that he had been targeted by dopers before the race. He took part in the Grand National again in 1962 and 1963, finishing seventh and tenth respectively, meaning that he never got to repeat his success.

Neptune Collonges

It was another 51 years before a grey won the main race at Aintree. Foaled in 2001, Neptune Collonges was bred in France out of Castille Collonges. Owned by John Hales and trained by Paul Nicholls, he developed a good relationship with Ruby Walsh, having begun his racing career as a three-year-old. When he suffered an injury during the 2009 Cheltenham Gold Cup, he was put out of action for the entire 2009-2010 season. He had won £685,279 in prize money by that point, thanks to 14 wins, two second places and three third place finishes.

When he took part in the 2012 Grand National, he was unfancied by the bookies, being offered a Starting Price of 33/1. Daryl Jacobs took on the job of riding him, largely because Walsh had suffered a fall from Zarkander in the build-up to the race and was unable to take part in the race. He won the National in the closest finish to the race ever, leading to his immediately retirement. In the wake of that, the horse was retrained to take part in dressage competitions with John Hales’ daughter, making public appearances for charities.

Grey Runner Ups in The Grand National

  • 1997 Suny Bay (2nd)
  • 1998 Suny Bay (2nd)
  • 2002 What’s Up Boys (2nd)
  • 2002 Kingsmark (4th)
  • 2008 King Johns Castle (2nd)

Summary of Grey Horses in the Grand National

Grey horses are always hugely popular with punters in the Grand National. They seem to have a place in people’s hearts.

Over the years there has been some success for grey horses.

In the 2023 Grand National we expect Snow Leopardess to add her name the winners or placed horses!

Related 2023 Grand National Betting Articles

Here are all the related articles to the Randox Grand National 2023.

If you do choose to bet, please bet responsibly.

As the Founder of British Racecourses, I have a life-long passion for horse racing and have loved the sport as long as I can remember. I am also a keen racehorse owner and have worked in the gambling industry for several years. I set up British Racecourses with the desire to share my passion for racing with other like-minded people.