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Grand National 2021 Tips: Favourites, Outsiders and Loveable Longshots

Backing the Grand National winner is an absolute thrill. But how do you select a horse from a 40-runner field in this most spectacular of races? Whether you bet regularly, or are a once-a-year punter, there are ways to increase your chances. Here are our Grand National tips and predictions.

Martin Booth
By Martin Booth  
Updated: 7 April 2021 10:00 am

The Favourites

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Cloth Cap

There is no such thing as a bombproof certainty in the Grand National. However, it is harder to find reasons why CLOTH CAP will not win than reasons why he will.

Cloth Cap fits the template of a Grand National winner perfectly. At nine years old, he’s the right age. With just 10-05 on his back, he is weighted to win it. He’ll also be ideally suited by the going.

His owner, Trevor Hemmings, has won the race three times and his trainer, Jonjo O’Neill, has won it once. His jockey, Tom Scudamore, has the Grand National in his veins thanks to his grandfather Michael Scudamore riding Oxo to victory in 1959.

On top of that, Cloth Cap has excelled this season. He romped home in the Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury late last year and could not have been more impressive in his prep run at Kelso.

His style of racing up with the pace suits the way modern Grand Nationals are run and he shapes like a horse who will get every yard of this marathon trip.

In short, he thoroughly deserves to be favourite and the most popular of Grand National tips. It will be no surprise whatsoever if Cloth Cap comes home first at Aintree.

All prices correct at time of publication

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Any Second Now

After the domination by Irish-trained runners at the Cheltenham Festival, it is inevitable that plenty of Grand National horse tips will go to horses based in Ireland.

That’s one of the many reasons why many shrewd pundits’ Grand National prediction is that ANY SECOND NOW is the one to be on in this year’s race.

The nine-year-old is trained by Ted Walsh, who sent out the 2000 winner Papillon. He is owned by J. P. McManus, whose Don’t Push It triumphed in 2010 under Tony McCoy.

The piece of form that advertised Any Second Now’s chances of achieving immortality at Aintree was his victory in the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir at Cheltenham in 2019.

The way he powered up the hill that day, in a race that often throws up Grand National contenders, persuaded many observers of his credentials for the big one at Aintree.

None of his runs since has advertised his chances as strongly as that. But he won his prep race, a two-mile hurdle at Navan in March, in a style that suggested he is in terrific shape.

He’s a nine-year-old, the perfect age for the race, and has a weight of 10-09 that gives him a serious chance.

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Kimberlite Candy

Aintree’s spruce-covered fences present a unique challenge - and jockeys will tell you some horses simply don’t take to them at all. With that in mind, one of the most compelling pieces of evidence any horse can deliver if it wants to be featured as one of the leading Grand National betting tips is form over the course. Others, however, clearly love running over this particular track, and that definitely applies to KIMBERLITE CANDY.

The nine-year-old was very short in the Grand National odds when the 2020 event was cancelled because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

One reason for that was his promising performance in finishing second in the Becher Chase over the Grand National fences the previous December.

He followed that with a seriously impressive win over three miles and five furlongs at Warwick.

A year on and Kimberlite Candy has recorded another second place in the Becher. He gives the impression that the further he goes, the better he gets.

It is a concern that he has not run since that day in December. Horses without a prep run after the turn of the year do not often win the Grand National.

We know he loves the course, he’s the right age, his weight of 10-10 is ideal - this may be the best shot Kimberlite Candy has of adding his name to the Aintree roll of honour.

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Burrows Saint

Irish racing is on a high after the Cheltenham Festival, where horses trained in the Emerald Isle outscored their English rivals by 23 wins to five.

It is no surprise whatsoever that many horses from Ireland feature prominently in the list of most popular Grand National runners tips.

BURROWS SAINT is arguably the best of the Irish contingent. He was superb in winning the 2019 Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse - a first success in the race for his trainer, the great Willie Mullins.

Of all the races on the calendar, the Irish National is the one that many form experts make a beeline for when they start analysing the Aintree spectacular.

Given Mullins’s form, the style of his Fairyhouse win in 2019 and the ascendancy Irish racing currently enjoys over its English counterpart, that has to give Burrows Saint a serious chance at Aintree.

Burrows Saint warmed up nicely for his Grand National run with a second place on soft ground back at Fairyhouse in February.

He is handily weighted at 10-13 and plenty of eight-year-olds have won the Grand National in recent years.

THE OUTSIDERS

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YALA ENKI (E.W)

Bryony Frost will ride YALA ENKI in the main attraction this Saturday.

The romantics among us will fancy a punt on the 11-year-old in the hopes history maker Bryony can win big again.

The 25-year-old became the first woman to ever win the Ladbrokes King George VI Chase when she sealed victory on Frodon at Kempton Park in December last year.

And she’ll be desperate to become the first female rider to claim the Grand National crown.

Bryony’s dad Jimmy famously rode a 28/1 winner this very race back in 1989 when he guided Irish 12-year-old Little Polveir over the line.

Yala Enki, the 33/1 outsider, has eight wins over jumps to his name and has finished second or third on seven other occasions.

On top of that, the Paul Nicholls-trained horse finished third at the rearranged 2020 Welsh Grand National at Chepstow earlier this year.

Just weeks after that, he recovered incredibly well from a blunder to win the Portman Cup at Taunton.

Despite all the positives, one aspect to consider is that all of Yala Enki’s career wins have come on soft or heavy ground.

At the moment, conditions for the race are good to soft, which might not be ideal.

Bryony and the punters looking to witness a bit of history on Saturday will fancy the duo to beat the odds once again.

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Takingrisks (E.W)

There is, arguably, no such thing as Grand National outsider tips. This is a race that, despite several strong trends, often defies analysis.

It’s only 12 years since the last 100-1 winner, Mon Mome. And in the years since, two winners have started at 33-1 and another at 66-1.

This is a race where you can find reasons to back horses at the sort of prices that would generate serious celebrations if they won.

One horse at eye-catching odds with some very good form in the book is TAKINGRISKS.

Just over a week before Burrows Saint took the 2019 Irish Grand National in a style that has made him one of the favourites for Aintree this year, Takingrisks won the Scottish equivalent at Ayr.

Now, it would be fair to say that Takingrisks lived up to his name - it wasn’t the cleanest round of jumping you’ve ever seen, which might be a concern for Aintree.

It’s also a negative that he is a 12-year-old - no horse of that age has won since Amberleigh House in 2004.

He may be on course for a return trip to Ayr, but if he heads to Aintree there will be worse Grand National tips out there.

Good form in the Scottish Grand National is a proper pointer to Aintree - and it’s worth noting that Cloth Cap finished behind Takingrisks that day.

Takingrisks goes into the race on a high too, having won the Great Yorkshire Chase at Doncaster in January.

If you’re looking for Grand National outsider tips, there are definitely bigger risks you can take than this.

The Loveable Longshot

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Minellacelebration (E.W)

In any list of free tips for the Grand National, you simply have to include a horse who would be springing a surprise by winning the big race at Aintree.

Over the last century, no fewer than five horses have triumphed at Grand National odds of 100-1, including Mon Mome as recently as 2009.

There have been numerous other long-priced winners, including Auroras Encore at 66-1 in 2013. So it is well worth looking down the field for a Loveable Longshot, a horse whose chance is less than obvious.

MINELLACELEBRATION will not feature in many lists of pundits’ Grand National predictions. Why should he, with recent form figures of UU7?

But let’s take a closer look at that form. The first time he unseated his jockey was on the flat during the Becher Chase over the Grand National fences when his rider’s stirrup broke.

He’d already settled into a nice rhythm that suggested he was enjoying racing over the big fences.

The second time, at Sandown, his jockey was ejected when Minellacelebration was badly hampered by a faller.

Look further back and this is a horse that has won twice over the conventional fences at Aintree, most recently in October 2020.

He is 11 years old - the same age as three winners in the last eight runnings.

It’s far from impossible that Minellacelebration could be an extremely Loveable Longshot on April 10.

Grand National 2021 Tips FAQs

How many horses in the Grand National?

The field in the modern Grand National is capped at 40 runners for safety reasons. Before that limit was imposed, there were several occasions when many more lined up. The highest number of horses to take part in the Grand National is 66, in 1929.

What time does the Grand National Start?

The start time for the Grand National is now set at 5.15pm. For many years, the race went off at 3.20pm, but it was moved back to avoid a clash with the football matches kicking off around England at 3.00pm. The race now stands alone and captures a large live TV audience.

Which horse has won the most Grand Nationals?

Eight horses have won the Grand National more than once, the most recent being Tiger Roll in 2018 and 2019. But only one horse has won three - the immortal Red Rum, who triumphed in 1973 and 1974 and then as a 12-year-old in 1977. For good measure, Red Rum was runner-up in 1974 and 1975.

When did Red Rum win the Grand National?

Red Rum won his first Grand National in 1973, overhauling heroic long-time leader Crisp just a few strides before the finish line. He returned to win in majestic style in 1974. After finishing second in 1975 and 1976, he crowned a glorious career with an emphatic third victory at the age of 12 in 1977.

How to watch Grand National?

Up to 600 million people in 140 countries around the world will tune in for live coverage of the Grand National. The race is televised live on terrestrial TV in the UK by ITV and by satellite channel Racing TV. It will also be available for live streaming through betting websites if you wager on the race.

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