After being cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic last year, the Grand National is back in 2021. While Tiger Roll won’t be returning for a tilt at an historic third title — and the event will take place behind closed doors — there are still plenty of compelling storylines ahead of this year’s race.
Does Cloth Cap really justify such short-priced favouritism? Can Secret Reprieve follow up his Welsh National success with the big one? Or could Magic of Light become the first mare to win the world’s greatest steeplechase in 70 years?
We will be updating this file throughout the week with the latest tips and best bets.
Marcus Armytage’s five horses to watch at the 2021 Grand National
Odds correct as of April 8
CLOTH CAP – 7/2
Impressive winner of the Ladbrokes Trophy and subsequent start at Kelso. Likely to be a short-priced favourite. Jockey Tom Scudamore is bidding to emulate his grandfather Michael who rode the winner. His father Peter was never better than third.
KIMBERLITE CANDY – 14/1
Never worse than second in two starts over the fences and stays a trip having won the Warwick Classic. Goes well fresh. Jockey Richie McLernon tasted the narrowest of defeats in the race beaten a nose on Sunnyhillboy by Neptune Collonges in 2012. Great chance for redemption.
SECRET REPRIEVE – 16/1
Cruised home in this season’s Welsh National. Gets in off a light weight but his regular jockey Adam Wedge faces a race against time to be fit having broken a vertebra in his back. Is currently only second reserve so needs two horses to drop out before Friday’s 1pm deadline.
MAGIC OF LIGHT – 22/1
Bidding to become the first mare to win since Nickel Coin in 1951, 70 years ago. Runner-up to Tiger Roll two years ago, she might have given him more of a fright had she not made a mistake at the last.
POTTERS CORNER – 25/1
Winner of last season’s Welsh National and ‘winner’ of last year’s Virtual Grand National but the Welsh trained gelding is not in such obvious good form this season having pulled up on his last start.
Other tips and predictions
Charlie Brooks, Telegraph Racing columnist: Kimberlite Candy – has been trained for this race for the last two seasons having shown a great aptitude for the Aintree fences and the need for a test of stamina.
Alice Plunkett, ITV presenter: Cloth Cap – very impressive landing the Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury, he’s 14 pounds well in, they’ve kept him well covered up over the winter for this.
Bob Champion, 1981 winner: Cloth Cap – he’s well handicapped, he jumps for fun, and Tom Scudamore is riding out of his skin at the moment.
John Higgins, four-time World Snooker champion: Lake View Lad – I always remember my mum and dad going to the Grand National years ago and backing a horse with a Scottish theme and it won. If there’s a horse with a Highland or Scottish theme, I choose that.
Charlie Austin, QPR footballer: Magic Of Light – horse came second to Tiger Roll in 2019 and I think he will go one better this year.
Barry Geraghty, 2003 winner: The one I’d want to be on is Any Second Now. Ted Walsh trained Papillon to win it in 2000 and I really like the fact this horse won a two mile chase at Navan on his last start. The horse he beat by 10 lengths that day, Castlegrace Paddy, would have won last week’s Grade 2 Devenish Chase if he’d jumped the last better. I think he’s got the right profile for the race as a nine-year-old.”
Peter Scudamore, eight-time Champion Jockey: Cloth Cap. I’m hopeful, he’s 14lbs well in and it’s about time another Scudamore rode the winner – it’s been 62 years!