After the disappointment of last year’s race being cancelled amidst the global pandemic, jump racing’s biggest spectacle, the Grand National, is set to be run on April 10th. And ahead of the bumper field of 40 taking to the gruelling fences at Aintree, let’s take a look at some of the names you need to watch out for. In the meantime, while the final field is yet to be announced, you can find all Grand National odds online. Here is four horses to watch in 2021.
The favourite: Cloth Cap
After romping to victory in the listed Premier Chase at Kelso last month, Cloth Cap’s odds have been dramatically slashed. The nine-year-old, trained by Jonjo O’Neill has a decent chase record, with four wins and a further five placings from his 11 starts. Should the favourite be successful, it would be a first win for O’Neill since Don’t Push It in 2000, as well as a fourth victory for owner Trevor Hemmings, who would become the leading owner. And jockey Tom Scudamore believes he’s a worthy favourite. He told the Racing Post:
“He handles the big fields, he’s run very well in the Scottish National. It will be his first time there but he’s been round big tracks. He’s jumped round Ayr, he’s jumped round Newbury and here takes a bit of jumping. He’s very versatile and he’s just a pleasure.”
The hopeful: Santini
Despite being his debut in the National, Santini has had two cracks at the Aintree course before, winning the Novices’ Hurdle in April 2018, before losing by a length in the Many Clouds Chase last December. Alongside Bristol de Mai, Santini has been handed the top weight, and the nine-year-old was recently pulled up in the Gold Cup, at Cheltenham. Having lost that same race by a neck the previous year, the gelding has been unable to replicate the levels of form he has shown in previous seasons, with his current record since that second-place finish standing at 253P.
The former runner-up: Magic of Light
Beaten by two-and-three-quarter lengths by Tiger Roll in the 2019 National, Magic of Light returns for a second stab at success. The mare who was a 66/1 outsider two years ago and close to causing an upset, has much more favourable odds this time around. Another entry to get a showing at the Cheltenham Festival, the 10-year-old was last to cross the line in the inaugural Mrs Paddy Power Mares’ Chase, and previously finished second to Roksana in the Mare’s Hurdle at Ascot – a race she had won twice before. But trainer Jessica Harrington explained the National was always the aim.
The virtual winner: Potters Corner
A bit of a curveball here, and an outsider at 25/1. Potters Corner was last year’s winner, as the Grand National went virtual and was televised, with 4.8 million viewers tuning in. Potters Corner was one of the big names heading in to a Pertemps Qualifier at Exeter, but sadly he was pulled up. He was later rendered lame, while cantering, and consequently missed out on featuring in the Cross Country Chase at Cheltenham. But trainer, Christian Williams remains hopeful he would make the Grand National, having won the Welsh equivalent in 2019.