By News Team
9th April 2021
The world’s most famous race, the Grand National, is here and with 40 runners jumping 30 fences, finding the winner is as tricky as ever.
Struggling to find a selection or two? We’re paying five places on the big race, and our man Nick Luck has given us his first five home.
He’s also previewed the rest of the card.
TAKINGRISKS can win the Randox Grand National for Nicky Richards and Sean Quinlan, who has struck up a wonderful rapport with this horse. Although he is twelve, he has been looked after through his career, which has enabled him to be better than ever at this relatively advanced age. My belief is that if he was two years younger, he would be half the 22/1 he currently is, but I see no signs of deterioration. He is feasibly handicapped, won’t mind the ground either way, is a strong stayer, a very sound jumper, and a horse with an excellent record in big fields.
ANY SECOND NOW is the most appealing of those at the front of the market, having been carefully curated with this race in mind for many moons. I liked his prep for this, when he showed plenty of enthusiasm, and he can go pretty close to giving Ted Walsh another victory in the race at 10/1.
Favourite CLOTH CAP looks sure to run a huge race at 9/2, but I am not really a believer in the Kelso form as I thought too many underperformed that day. That said, even on his Newbury romp you can make a case that he remains well treated, and his stamina and jumping credentials look very solid.
DISCORAMA is a horse I have a fair bit of time for, and he is another whose light campaign has pointed exclusively to this race. Paul Nolan has had something of a resurgence of the last couple of seasons, as has rider Bryan Cooper. Discorama has been placed at three Cheltenham Festivals, always leaving the impression that no distance is really far enough for him, and he has had a breathing operation since his last run into the bargain. He’s a 16/1 chance.
ANIBALE FLY can run a sneaky race at a fair price, too. Again, he is approaching veteran stage, but this is a horse who has run well in this twice (too far out of his ground the last time) and has finished second in a Gold Cup. His rating has dropped 20 pounds in two years but the handicapper has had very little meaningful evidence to go on. I’ll be sure to back him each-way at 28/1.
2 Any Second Now
3 Cloth Cap
5 Anibale Fly
Rest of Aintree
SOUTHFIELD HARVEST is taken to continue a good week for Paul Nicholls and Harry Cobden by taking the opening handicap hurdle (1.45pm) at Aintree on Grand National Day. I felt he should probably have won at Newbury last time, but he wasn’t helped by a late faller and still looked a little inexperienced. Another few weeks, missing the Pertemps Final and a set of cheekpieces all combine to make him quite an appealing proposition here at 10/1.
DREAL DEAL keeps winning but remains strangely underestimated as a genuine top-class prospect. I believe he is just that given how he picked up Graded two milers when last seen, and surely this step up in trip is going to bring about further improvement. This should be run at a decent, even gallop, which will suit, and I confess to being a little disappointed that Ballyadam was beaten quite as far as he was in a Supreme with little depth behind him. He’s an 11/2 chance in the Mersey Novices’ Hurdle (2.25pm).
ROKSANA might be able to upset the big two this time in the Liverpool Stayers’ Hurdle (3.35pm) at 11/2. Evidence suggests that she is a fair bit better over three miles, and this flatter track and better ground will suit her better than when third behind them over a very stiff test in the Long Walk. Thyme Hill has an absence and an injury to overcome, while Paisley Park raced much more lazily even than usual at Cheltenham, which is a bit of a worry.
LALOR is a speculative pick to resume winning ways after a long absence in the race before the National (4.15pm). He has reserved his best efforts for this track in the past and boasts a real touch of class relative to most of these. The handicapper has given him a bit of a chance here and – if he’s fit – he could take a bit of stopping at 14/1 over a trip that has always looked like it should suit.
BALCO COASTAL is a confident selection at 15/8 to take the bumper (6.20pm). A very decent second in a warm Irish point, he was explosive on his bumper debut for this yard, comfortably dealing with a subsequent good winner in a very smart time.