Who are the favourites for the 2021 Grand National?

In the absence of Tiger Roll, who was withdrawn from the 2021 Grand National in early March, Cloth Cap, trained by Jonjo O’Neill, is clear favourite in the ante-post lists. The 9-year-old comfortably beat four higher-rated rivals, on unfavourable terms, in the Premier Chase at Kelso in March and, as the Grand National is an ‘early closer’, can run off an identical handicap mark at Aintree. Owned by Trevor Hemmings, who already has three Grand National winners to his name, Cloth Cap had previously won the Ladbroke Trophy with plenty in hand and, although his odds are plenty short enough, at 5/1, he fully deserves his position at the head of the market.

Next best, at 12/1, comes Any Second Now, who remains 9lb higher in the weights than when winning the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup at the Cheltenham Festival in 2019, but returned to winning form in the Grade Two Webster Chase at Navan in March. Slightly worrying is the fact that he was never travelling, in a larger field, when pulled up on his penultimate start at Gowran Park, but he has been considered an ideal National type for some time; trainer Ted Walsh knows what’s required, having won the National with Papillon in 2000.

Beyond the front, Burrows Saint, at 14/1, won the Irish Grand National in 2019 and has been lightly raced in recent seasons. Still only an 8-year-old, he is 12lb higher in the weights in the Grand National, but has a touch of class and shouldn’t be underestimated.