There are five horses on Alex Hammond’s shortlist for Saturday’s Randox Grand National – including a 50/1 chance.
Preview of Alex Hammond Grand National
This time last year we celebrated Potters Corner’s victory in the Virtual Grand National, luckily this year as we get closer to the race the cartoon version will be replaced by the real thing.
After his mock “win”, Sky Bet rated Potters Corner at 33/1 to win the real 2021 Aintree Marathon, he is now 20/1 to do so, but the drying pitch will not help his cause.
Burrows Saint was another one of my desires for 2020 before the lockdown spoiled his opportunity and hopefully better than his fictional fifth in the virtual race. He is the second favorite of Sky Bet 8/1 behind 4/1 Hotpot Cloth Cap.
So, we have a discounted favorite for the world’s most famous horse race, but does 4/1 about Jonjo O’Neill’s charge appeal?
Tiger Roll was the 4/1 favorite when he won in 2019, but winners of these kinds of awards are rare, even when you go back decades. So the stats are against him, but his form is not.
Its owner also has a very good track record and Trevor Hemmings is now looking for an incredible fourth victory in the race which he rewards more than all the others. It would be wonderful if Cloth Cap could pull it off for its owner who is rarely seen without their own cloth cap.
The goal of his popular trainer was to give this horse a mark high enough to embark on the pursuit of the four mile and a half furlong handicap and not only did he do so, but he runs from a very high mark. attractive of 148 (it is now rated 162 on fences, so theoretically a stone well).
After a 150/1 shot won the Irish National on Easter Monday, could we see a repeat of the small handful of triple-figure winners at Aintree; most recently 100/1 shot Mon Mome in 2009?
Unless something like the Second Lieutenant can replicate his peak form for new trainer Georgie Howell. She bought this horse in September for £ 50,000 and former horse Henry from Bromhead / Gigginstown was smart in shape at the time.
It would be an even more incredible story for trainer and jockey Tabitha Worsley, the latter having already won the Aintree big fences in the Foxhunters two years ago and now looking to be the first female runner to win in this famous race.
So from one extreme to the other with a very short-priced favorite and a so-called rank underdog (by the way, Sky Bet pays six spots if you have a big prize).
FABRIC CAP: Because you’d be dumb to leave it out just on the basis of its restrictive ratings. It takes a similar path to one of its owner’s former winners, Many Clouds, who won the Hennessy (now Ladbrokes Trophy) the same season before winning the Grand National. (4/1)
BURROWS SAINT: A big fantasy for me last year before Covid intervened. He had a few laps over the hurdles in December / January and coach Willie Mullins got his mandatory over the fence under his belt in the Bobbyjo Chase at Fairyhouse in February where he finished a decent second. A decent return to the field that he’s going to get on Saturday will be fine as will this marathon. (8/1)
SECRET REPEAL: He needs three horses to come out at the declaration stage to get a race and it will be hugely disappointing if he doesn’t. This seems like his best opportunity to enter the race from an indulgent handicap and the way he relentlessly jumped and galloped to win the Coral Welsh National suggests he will thrive at Aintree. He is lightly run and is still improving. (14/1)
MAGIC OF LIGHT: I pitched it as an early fantasy for racing a few months ago and I’m not jumping a boat now. She has proven her form on the course and the distance after finishing second at the Tiger Roll in 2019 and is 5 pounds higher in the handicap as she wants to do better. I like her, but she has nothing up her sleeve and is a two-way fantasy at a decent odds. (20/1)
PS Can you imagine how despondent the owners of Tiger Roll would feel if she were to win, having chosen to bypass the race and her chance to win a third Grand National?
GIVE ME A COPPER: This horse is a huge prize and one that I have supported in every way. At first glance, it’s not ideal that he stopped in the Sky Bet Chase in Doncaster the last time around, but the ground was soft enough for him there. He’s doing pretty cool so the absence of a recent race is a positive, not a negative. He has always been considered a national horse by trainer Paul Nicholls and he knows exactly what it takes to win this famous race. (50/1)
However you make your Grand National selections, I wish you good luck and a lot of fun along the way. It will be wonderful to get back to the good race and even better if we can shout one of our picks at home.