The Grand National Festival is just a few short sleeps away and with anticipation building at Aintree, many are wondering who will win the showpiece event on Saturday. This year will see spectators return to Merseyside for the first time since 2019, when Tiger Roll won a second successive National for Gordon Elliott. While we won’t get to see the legendary gelding make a play for a historic National hat-trick, Rachael Blackmore has a chance to win the back-to-back races if she is successful aboard Minella Times.
The added pressure of crowds didn’t seem to faze Blackmore as she won the Gold Cup a few weeks ago at the Cheltenham Festival, but the Grand National is a completely different kettle of fish. The race’s unpredictability, and the difficulty of the Aintree course — which has some infamously chaotic fences like Becher’s Brook and The Chair — makes the Grand National tipster’s choices incredibly hard to call. It also opens up the possibility of a shock winner.
Every now and then we see an outsider completely surprise everyone at Aintree, and with only a handful of horses managing to finish the four-mile encounter, you certainly can’t overlook the possibility of an upset this year either. Read on, as we look at four outsiders that could stun this year’s Grand National.
Plenty of research goes into predicting a Grand National winner every year and if history is anything to go by, Philip Hobbs-trained Deise Aba can cause a shock. The nine-year-old’s age and weight have made him a statistically favourable candidate according to various spokesmen and coming in at 66/1 certainly suggests he’s worth an outside punt, having come second in two of his last three races.
With Gordon Elliott keen to re-establish his reputation after being banned from last year’s National, much of his hope will rely on Delta Work, but while the Cross Country Chase winner has brandished all the attention, Samcro has definitely snuck under the radar. While the 10-year-old has struggled for consistency, and comes into the National at 80/1, Elliott spoke highly of the gelding’s preparation and suggested he is overdue a big win.
“Samcro definitely runs. He’s a massive price, but it wouldn’t shock me if he ran a big race,” he said. “It would be a Samcro thing to do, wouldn’t it? Run a massive race in something like the Grand National.”
Having only come back from injury at the start of last year, Dingo Dollar managed to win his debut race at Newcastle before thrusting himself into the headlines by coming second in the Scottish Grand National at Ayr. For this season though trainer Sandy Thomson clearly has eyes on Aintree, making the move south of the border as a 50/1 shot for the National.
Despite a disappointing run at Kelso, the 10-year-old has shown he can finish strong over four miles and could be a good outside choice.
So much can change in a year and one of the favourites for the 2021 National, Cloth Cap, has seen his chances drop to 25/1 after a few difficult runs including a horror show at Doncaster. However, he’ll be running off a lower mark and with former National winning trainer Jonjo O’Neill knowing what’s required to go to distance, you could do far worse than backing the 10-year-old to return to form on the biggest stage.