2021 Grand National Trends
- 10/10 winners aged from 8 to 11 years
- 10/10 winners had at least 10 previous runs over fences
- 10/10 winners had previously won over 3 miles or further
- 9/10 winners were rated between 148-160
- 9/10 winners had run at Aintree at least once before (four of those won)
- 9/10 winners had at least 8 runs over 3 miles or longer
- 9/10 winners had run within the previous 56 days
- 9/10 winners had previously been at least placed in Graded company
- 8/10 winners had won at least twice over 3 miles or further
There are several big staying chases through the National Hunt season that can be considered a trial for the Grand National but only the Becher Chase provides valuable experience of the unique fences.
That said, only two Becher Chase winners have gone on to Grand National glory in the same season (Amberleigh House and Silver Birch), although 2019 Becher Chase winner Walk In The Mill was sent off joint-favourite for the National later that season before taking a heavy fall at the sixth fence.
The Welsh Grand National, along with the previous season’s Scottish National, tend to throw up horses with the necessary characteristics for the Aintree showpiece, although they can often be run on more testing ground which isn’t always replicated in April.
The Ladbrokes Trophy Chase (known to many as the Hennessy) is one of the classiest handicaps run all season and any winner of the Newbury contest that has pretentions of staying much further would have to be considered a Grand National candidate despite the going into the Aintree race off a much higher mark. The most recent winner of the Ladbrokes Trophy is Cloth Cap who heads to Aintree as a red-hot favourite.
Warwick’s Classic Chase is another race that can have a bearing on the National. 2017 winner One For Arthur went followed up at Aintree and many think that 2020 winner Kimberlite Candy can follow in One For Arthur’s footsteps.
Nicky Henderson leads the way at this meeting with 36 winners from 225 runners BUT the six-time champion trainer is still searching for his first Grand National winner. Zongalero, his first runner in the race in 1979, finished second and remains to this day the closest he has come to landing the big prize.
Gordon Elliott has won the race three times since 2007, including the last two editions with Tiger Roll, but runners from that stable will be entered under the name of Denise Foster this time around.
Irish trainers have done particularly well in the race since the turn of the century, winning the race ten times, including three of the last four. Willie Mullins, Mouse Morris, Ted Walsh and Martin Brassil have all contributed with a victory each.
Paul Nicholls, Nigel Twiston-Davies and David Pipe have all struck with a winner in recent years, as has Jonjo O’Neill, who is responsible for 2021 favourite Cloth Cap, whose famous colours have already been carried to victory three times in this famous race.
Davy Russell is the only jockey still riding to have won the race more than once, although his prospects of a third success aboard Tiger Roll have been dashed.
Tom Scudamore is yet to win the race but he will never have a better chance than the one he has aboard Cloth Cap in 2021.
Robbie Power (2007) and Daryl Jacob (2012) have both tasted Grand National glory and are again likely to have rides with strong chances.
No female jockey has won the Grand National but the likes of Rachael Blackmore, Bryony Frost and Tabitha Worsley will all be hoping that they can etch their name into racing history.
Who Fits The Trends Best In 2021?
Tiger Roll ended the poor recent record of Grand National favourites in 2019 and 2021 market leader Cloth Cap (best odds 4/1) has an awful lot going for him on paper.
The only negative to his chance is that he has never run at Aintree but on all other trends he fits the bill and even more persuasive is the fact that he is a stone ‘well in’, making him easily the best treated horse in the race at the weights. If he jumps round then he is going to take some stopping.
Lake View Lad (best odds 40/1), also owned by Trevor Hemmings, doesn’t have the scope for progress as his owner-mate but he very much fits the bill from a trends perspective and he didn’t get much luck before eventually being pulled up in the race in 2019. He’s a high-class stayer on his day and would be a danger to all if getting into a better rhythm and avoiding trouble this time.
Kimberlite Candy (best odds 12/1) is a major player on the trends. He’s got the experience, the staying power, the class and, crucially, he’s already proven that he can act well over the unique Aintree fences having finished second in the last two editions of the Becher Chase.
Burrows Saint (best odds 10/1), winner of the 2019 Irish Grand National, fits almost all of the trends although he has only got nine chase runs on his CV, leaving him a fraction shy on the experience count.
Yala Enki (best odds 40/1) wouldn’t be the best handicapped horse in the race and he didn’t get past the first fence in 2019 but his Taunton success earlier in the year was up there with the best performances of his career on the numbers and he is a very strong stayer when he gets in the groove, as he showed when finishing third in the Welsh National at the beginning of 2021. He could easily outrun his odds.
Recent Grand National winners (No race in 2020)
|2017||One For Arthur||14/1|
|2016||Rule The World||33/1|
|2014||Pineau De Re||25/1|
|2010||Don’t Push It||10/1|
|2008||Comply or Die||7/1|