The world’s most famous horse race takes place at Aintree on Saturday, April 10, as 40 runners will be entered to tackle the 30 fences in the 4m2½f Randox Grand National Handicap Chase. The race could not take place last year due to the pandemic, but returns this year. However, Tiger Roll, who won it in 2018 and 2019, will be absent, despite another impressive win at the recent Cheltenham Festival.
Irish stables were on top at Cheltenham, and they will have plenty of entries in the Grand National this year. Of the 16 horses to make the frame in the last four running’s of the race, 10 were trained in Ireland. In 2018, Irish trainers had the first four finishers, while in 2019, they provided four of the first five.
Cloth Cap the favourite
Even though the Irish-trained horses enjoyed a dominant Cheltenham Festival, it is the British-trained Cloth Cap who heads the betting market for the Grand National and is a very short 7/2 favourite with William Hill.
He has looked much-improved this season. After finishing third in the 2019 Scottish National, he returned from a 226-day break to finish third again at Cheltenham in October behind Frodon. He was then an impressive winner of the Ladbroke Trophy at Newbury in November on only his second run of this campaign, for which he was raised 12lb by the handicapper. He went on to win again at Kelso in March, but has escaped a further rise in the weights as the assessor was unable to take that run into account whe
Cloth Cap has form over four miles, so stamina shouldn’t be an issue, but there are plenty of challengers lining up behind him in the market hoping to grab their own slice of history.
Burrow Saint the big hope of Willie Mullins
Despite plenty of success at the Cheltenham Festival over the years, Willie Mullins has only trained one winner of the Grand National, back in 2005 with Hedgehunter. However, he is confident that Burrows Saint can give him only his second win of the race and his entry is priced at 10/1 with William Hill to do so.
He won an Irish Grand National as a novice, his only previous start in a handicap chase, and he has had a quiet winter with preparations geared towards a crack at the Grand National. Burrows Saint has had three outings this season, with the first two over hurdles when shaping as if he was unfit first time out before looking like he needed the run in the Galmoy Hurdle at Gowran in January.
He had his required run over fences in the Bobbyjo Chase at Fairyhouse and finished second behind his stablemate, Acapella Bourgeois. Burrows Saint wasn’t at his best that day, but gave the impression he would be next time, which is set to be the big one at Aintree.
The best of the rest
Any Second Now is towards the head of the market with William Hill who offer odds of 10/1 for the Ted Walsh trained runner. He was a comfortable winner over two miles at Navan in March and carries a threat if his stamina holds up.
Kimberlite Candy is another one being talked about for the Tom Lacey yard. He returned from a 329-day break to finish second at Aintree in December and will hope he can have a crack at the Grand National this year after missing out last year. Elsewhere, Magic Of Light, The Storyteller, and Discorama can also go well.
Previous Grand National winners
Defending champion, Tiger Roll, won’t run this year after a fallout over his weights, which is a real shame having seen him win so impressively during the Cross-country at Cheltenham. That means, we are likely to see a new winner of this famous old race.
• 2020 Cancelled
• 2019 Tiger Roll
• 2018 Tiger Roll
• 2017 One For Arthur
• 2016 Rule The World
• 2015 Many Clouds
• 2014 Pineau De Re
• 2013 Auroras Encore
• 2012 Neptune Collonges
• 2011 Ballabriggs