What happened to Cloth Cap in the 2021 Grand National?
In 2021, despite lacking experience over the Grand National fences, Cloth Cap was sent off one of the shortest-priced favourites in recent history, at 11/2. When the weights for the National were framed, in February, Cloth Cap was officially rated 148, but subsequently won the bet365 Premier Chase at Kelso with plenty in hand, earning himself a 14lb rise in the weights. However, because the Grand National is an early closing race, he could run off his ‘old’ handicap mark and carry just 10st 5lb, giving him a significant weight advantage over his rivals.
Extraordinarily well-handicapped he may have been but, having travelled well within himself for most of the way, Cloth Cap weakened quickly after stumbling at the fourth-last fence and was pulled up by jockey Tom Scudamore. Scudamore reported that Cloth Cap started ‘gurgling’ or, in other words, made a respiratory noise and connections suggested afterwards that a wind infirmity may have been the cause of his poor performance.
Of course, Cloth Cap is owned by Trevor Hemmings, who is already, jointly, the most successful owner in the history of the Grand National. Hemmings will, no doubt, be keen to record a fourth win and Cloth Cap appears to be a ‘dyed-in-the-wool’ National type, who jumps well and has stamina in abundance. Of course, he’ll have to race off his revised mark in 2022 but, at 50/1 in the ante-post market, could yet make his mark at Aintree.