A revision is already required. I had hoped and planned on THE STORYTELLER being involved in Saturday’s big race, the 2021 Grand National at Aintree.
Sadly, we have today learnt that he won’t be taking part so we need to look elsewhere in the runners for a selection that will lead home the pack after four gruelling miles, two furlongs and 30 fences in Liverpool this coming weekend.
Of course, we already knew that there would be no Tiger Roll, who will run at Aintree on the Thursday, but will not take aim at the third successive Grand National win, something that was denied him last year after the race, and meeting, was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
While this race can be little more than a lottery, looking at the runners there are still a few names that spring out at us.
The short priced favourite is CLOTH CAP, but I am a little uncomfortable with this as the risk considerably outweighs the reward. Not that he isn’t a worthy favourite, but odds as short as that are rarely justified in a race as crazy as this one.
Racing royalty Tom Scudamore will be on board this Trevor Hemmings owned horse who won a trophy at Newbury by 10 lengths before banking a first at Kelso. Hemmings’ Many Clouds, Ballabriggs and Hedgehunter have all won here and he will be equally confident in this year’s entry.
Instead, our first pick is BURROWS SAINT. A fine sprinter, true, but this Willie Mullins trained horse also has the capacity to glide over the fences with ease and at 8/1 is worth more than double the favourite. He also won the 2019 Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse and has enjoyed a largely stress free season, running entirely in his Irish homeland meaning he carries no known fitness concerns ahead of his arriving in Liverpool.
Serial Cheltenham winner Henry de Bromhead enters MINELLA TIMES who has finished second in his last two run outs and is in with a real shout. In good shape and a fantastic jumper, he looks to be looming down on a big race win in the near future so why not Saturday?
My absolute pick is Ted Walsh’s ANY SECOND NOW who was being steered towards a charge for this title last year prior to its cancellation. This was following his impressive result in the 2019 Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup at the Cheltenham Festival.
Showing all of the right form and abilities needed to win this race, I had been planning on putting some money on him a year ago and can see no reason why that should change 12 months later, despite a disappointing run in the Navan mud where he floundered. Walsh, of course, trained Papillon to win in 2000, and has a number of other high profile placed runners so is no stranger to this race.
At 33/1, YALA ENKI will be performing with Bryony Frost in the saddle once again. His regular rider likes to lead and, if the going suits – as it should – then if he remains in the front pack approaching Anchor Bridge then he will be very well placed to lead them home from there.
Elsewhere, POTTERS CORNER, 2019 Welsh Grand National winner no less, draws feint interest, as does SECRET REPRIEVE, who took down the same race’s belated 2020 renewal. The latter of these, is a novice who won almost at a canter at Chepstow which was definitely encouraging, if not so much his unfortunate tumble at Haydock Park in November. (I will leave this here but, as I write this, I have since learned that he missed the cut and now needs two withdrawals to take his place in the Aintree stalls on Saturday. If he does line up, then I will still be following his chances.)
Another outside pick is Irish runner DISCORAMA from Paul Nolan’s stable. A trio of Cheltenham Festival places suggest a big win is certainly within his capabilities. Finally, CANELO has put in a number of encouraging efforts this season, including run outs here at Aintree and in his successful charge in the Rowland Meyrick at Wetherby on Boxing Day where he beat Snow Leopardess into second place.
Roll on Saturday afternoon.
2021 Grand National Betting Odds
|Any Second Now||9/1|
|Magic Of Light||16/1|
|Bristol De Mai||20/1|
|Lord Du Mesnil||28/1|
|Balko des Flos||40/1|
|The Long Mile||40/1|
|Run Wild Fred||40/1|
|Lake View Lad||40/1|
|Alpha Des Obeaux||50/1|
|Vieux Lion Rogue||50/1|
|Hold The Note||50/1|
|Give Me A Copper||66/1|
|Plan of Attack||66/1|
|Tout Est Permis||80/1|
|The Hollow Ginge||100/1|
|Hear No Evil||100/1|