Whenever the Randox Grand National is held each year, this is one race that generates a huge amount of interest and excitement throughout the United Kingdom, even among people who usually don’t follow horse racing.
Held annually at the iconic Aintree Racecourse in Liverpool since 1839, the Grand National is arguably the most famous National Hunt race in the world, attracting millions of viewers from around the whole world. This year, a horse trained in Wales is could be first past the winning post, fancied as one of several strong contenders.
Williams Hoping for Grand National Success
Trained by Evan Williams at Fingerpost Farm in Llancarfan, Vale of Glamorgan, 7-year-old Secret Reprieve is certainly one to watch, according to the Grand National latest odds from Betfair. Tipped as a 14/1 shot for the main event at Aintree this year, recent form has certainly helped in the considerations of the online bookmaker.
“He’s in great form,” says @EWilliamsRacing
— Racing TV (@RacingTV) April 1, 2021
The last big win for Secret Reprieve was at the Welsh Grand National Chase after the 2020 running was postponed from its usual 27th December date and rescheduled for 9th January 2021. That didn’t pose any problems in the end, as Adam Wedge rode Secret Reprieve to a comfortable victory at Chepstow, three lengths clear of his nearest rival.
Williams is certainly no stranger to training winners, although he will need to replace Adam Wedge in the saddle of Secret Reprieve for the Grand National. The 31-year-old jockey sustained a back injury after a fall at Newbury, which ruled him out of the Cheltenham Festival. Unable to recover in time, his replacement will be fellow jockey James Bowen, who is thrilled at the chance.
Leading 2021 Grand National Favourites
Having romped to Grand National success in 2018 and 2019, the early betting favourite for the 2021 race was always going to be Tiger Roll, hailing from the Gigginstown House Stud in Ireland. However, after British Horseracing Authority handicappers raised the weight for Tiger Roll to carry, owner and Ryanair supremo Michael O’Leary withdrew his champion this year.
Cloth Cap and Nick out on the gallops this morning
— Jonjo O’Neill (@JonjoONeill) March 30, 2021
This left Cloth Cap as the new favourite at 4/1 odds, trained by Jonjo O’Neill and ridden most recently by Tom Scudamore. This horse heads to the Grand National in excellent shape, having won his last two Class 1 races. The last was the Premier Chase at Kelso in early March this year by 10 lengths, following an equally impressive win by more than 15 lengths at Cheltenham in November 2020.
Among the other leading candidates to win the Grand National this year is Burrows Saint, an 8-year-old trained by Willie Mullins priced at 8/1 odds. Despite the exceptional record of Mullins at the Cheltenham Festival, his last Grand National winner was Hedgehunter in 2005, which means the legendary trainer will be hoping to savour the taste of success this year at Aintree.
The Biggest Challenge in Horse Racing
So many factors can influence the eventual Grand National winners. Aside from the immense stamina required by horses to complete the challenging Aintree course, weather conditions can affect the turf conditions and therefore performances. If you are planning to bet on the day, don’t forget to check the forecasts and all the latest tips, before enjoying the big race itself.