Racing fans had to make do with a virtual version in 2020, but the Grand National is back in 2021 with a whole host of contenders primed to take one of the biggest prizes in horse racing.
Here’s our look at the early Grand National betting ahead of April’s showpiece event…
2021 Grand National Betting | Ante-Post Contenders
First up, we can’t start out Grand National ante-post betting preview without a mention of reigning two-time champion of this race Tiger Roll.
Sadly, the gap created by the Covid-19 pandemic has put paid to his chances of matching Red Rum as a triple winner of the National. Tiger has looked a shadow of the force of old on his recent runouts, pulling up at the Glenfarclas Cross Country Handicap Chase in November and finishing a distant sixth on his follow-up at Navan in February.
That form, and a lengthy dispute over his National weight, have proved enough for his connections to abandon any attempt at a hat-trick bid.
Cloth Cap and Secret Reprieve shade the early betting, with both contenders posting some worthy form to suggest they have the class and staying power required to launch a successful Grand National Bid. Cloth Cap put a marker down for Aintree with an emphatic front-running win at Newbury, while the ‘Secret’ might be out for regarding Evan Williams’ seven-year-old after a storming run in the delayed Welsh Grand National.
Ante-post betting is all about sniffing out the early value. We think Lord Du Mesnil and Bristol De Mai could be two of the best long shots to keep an eye on provided they make the final cut for this year’s renewal.
Lord Du Mesnil looked lively in the Grand National Trial at Haydock in February, squeezing home by ½ L as an 8/1 shot, while wily old stager Bristol De Mai is still just about young enough to have one big race left in him.
The 10-year-old has posted fine efforts in the Cheltenham Gold Cup and Cotswold Chase in recent seasons, and looked sharp at Haydock in November’s Lancashire Chase, beating off the hotly-fancied Clan Des Obeaux and Lostintranslation over 19 fences.
How To Pick The Grand National Winner | Our 5 Top Tips
While this event is always something of a lottery due to the size of the field and the notoriously tricky fences, there is at least some science behind picking a Grand National winner.
To help narrow down your selections, it’s best to focus on these five factors:
⏳ AGE: experience is often key in the Grand National. 1940 was the last time a horse seven years old or younger triumphed in this ultimate stamina test.
Most winners tend to be between eight and 11.
⚖️ WEIGHT: while the ins and outs of the weighting system can be confusing even for the most sophisticated of punters, the maths are simple when it comes to National winners.
Since 2001, only two winners have set off with a handicap less than 10-05: Bindaree in 2002 (10-04) and Auroras Encore in 2013 (10-03).
Watch those weights come National day!
👌 FORM: just like when betting on any sporting event, studying the form can make all the difference.
For instance, two-time winner Tiger Roll would have been the sentimental choice for many ‘once-a-year’ punters had he made the final cut for this year’s renewal, but his likely starting price would have been based on his previous exploits rather than seasonal form.
Given Tiger’s struggles this campaign, and concerns over his weighting, his connections have wisely swerved a hat-trick bid.
🔢 ODDS: It’s a pretty simple one this. The Grand National odds should give you a steer as to which contenders are most likely to turn up and perform in the big race.
While favourites don’t always prevail, a lot of variables usually needs to fall into place for a long-shot winner to land the National.
Mon Mome is the most famous winner to defy all pre-race logic in the last two decades, winning at an extraordinary 100/1.
Keep an eye on those just bubbling under in the betting.
Six of the last 10 winners were priced up between 14/1 and 33/1 at the off.
🤸♂️ SHARPNESS: preparing a horse for the Grand National is always a delicate balancing act for a racehorse trainer. It’s the ultimate test of stamina, but that doesn’t mean there’s a ‘one size fits all’ training strategy to suit all 40 runners for this most gruelling of challenges.
Some horses naturally run better ‘fresh’; others may need some extensive grunt work to shine over the 4m 3 1/2f distance thrown up by Aintree.
Take a moment to research what the trainers have been saying pre-race about their horses’ chances.
Beyond the ‘spin’, you might pick up some useful kernels of information…
Grand National FAQ
Grand National day will be a little bit different this year at Aintree, with no fans set to be in attendance this year at the famous Liverpool racecourse.
We’ve covered off the key things you need to know ahead of the world’s most famous steeplechase…
When is the 2021 Grand National?
The 2021 Grand National takes place at Aintree at 5:15pm on Saturday 10th April 2021.
Will spectators be allowed at the 2021 Grand National?
It seems extremely unlikely.
According to the latest Covid government guidelines, no crowds will be permitted at sporting venues until mid-May 2021.
Where can I watch the 2021 Grand National on TV?
ITV Racing will provide exclusive coverage of all three days of the Grand National festival across ITV, ITV 4 and the ITV Hub.
Which horse has won the Grand National most times?
That would of course be the legendary Red Rum, who won this most prestigious of races three times – in 1973, 1974 and 1977. What’s perhaps less well known is the fact he also finished second in 1975 and 1976.
No surprise, then, that his final resting place is, fittingly, the winning post at Aintree.
2021 Grand National Betting
Check the latest 2021 Grand National betting with Marathonbet as the world’s most famous steeplechase returns this April.
Who takes Tiger Roll’s crown at Aintree?
Odds correct at time of writing but may be subject to change.