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Grand National 2021: Pinstickers’ guide to Aintree runners & riders

Grand National 2021: Pinstickers' guide to Aintree runners & riders thumbnail

Date: Saturday, 10 April Venue: Aintree Racecourse Time: 17:15 BST
Coverage: Live on BBC Radio 5 Live and the BBC Sport website

Runners, riders, trainers and form – all the key details you need to know for Saturday’s big race at Aintree.

(Racecard number, horse, trainer, jockey, recent form, age, weight carried [ie 11st 10lb is top weight]. Form: F – Fell, P – Pulled up, U – Unseated rider Note: Approximate odds)

Verdict: Cloth Cap is a worthy favourite and Minella Times could make history, but Burrows Saint and Discorama can fight it out, Anibale Fly has been given a chance and Sub Lieutenant is better than a 100-1 shot.

1 Burrows Saint 2 Discorama 3 Anibale Fly 4 Sub Lieutenant

1 BRISTOL DE MAI

Trainer: Nigel Twiston-Davies Jockey: Daryl Jacob

Form: 229-12 Age: 10 Weight: 11-10

Galloping grey. Serial Haydock winner, and third in Cheltenham Gold Cup last year. Respected, although may be better suited by softer ground and no top weight has won since Aintree legend Red Rum in the 1970s. Trainer won the Grand National with Earth Summit in 1998 and Bindaree four years later. Jockey triumphed on Neptune Collonges in 2012.

Rating: 7/10 Odds: 20-1

2. CHRIS’S DREAM

Trainer: Henry de Bromhead (IRE) Jockey: Darragh O’Keeffe

Form: 10-25P Age: 9 Weight: 11-7

It was a dream Cheltenham Festival for the trainer, who became the first to win jump racing’s ‘Holy Trinity’ at one meeting – the Champion Chase, Champion Hurdle and Gold Cup. Chris’s Dream won the Red Mills Chase last season, but was pulled up in the Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham in March. Stable jockey has opted to ride Minella Times instead.

Rating: 5/10 Odds: 40-1

3. YALA ENKI

Trainer: Paul Nicholls Jockey: Bryony Frost

Form: -2F314 Age: 11 Weight: 11-3

Jockey, who was fifth on Milansbar in 2018, is one of three aiming to become the first woman to ride the winner. Trainer has been keen to run and considers him an ideal type for the National but had to persuade the owners. Fell at the first in the Becher Chase over the National fences although jumped round enthusiastically on his own.

Rating: 6/10 Odds: 33-1

4. BALLYOPTIC

Trainer: Nigel Twiston-Davies Jockey: Sam Twiston-Davies

Form: 1-P067 Age: 11 Weight: 11-01

Went down by the shortest possible distance – a nose – to Joe Farrell in the 2018 Scottish National at Ayr. Fell on his first try over the National fences in the Becher Chase, then was a creditable sixth in the Welsh National, but fell again in the 2019 Grand National. Son rides for father, who has twice trained the winner.

Rating: 5/10 Odds: 40-1

5. DEFINITLY RED

Trainer: Brian Ellison Jockey: Henry Brooke

Form: 21-8F4 Age: 12 Weight: 11-01

Likely to be a popular choice with the red half of Merseyside. Sent off a 10-1 shot for the race four years ago but chance went when badly hampered at Becher’s Brook. In case you wondered – there’s no E in this Definitly, because of a spelling mistake when the horse’s original registration forms were completed.

Rating: 5/10 Odds: 40-1

6. LAKE VIEW LAD

Trainer: Nick Alexander Jockey: Brian Hughes

Form: 33-155 Age: 11 Weight: 11-00

Champion jockey rides Scottish-trained previous winner of Rehearsal Chase and Rowland Meyrick Chase. Owner Trevor Hemmings seeks record fourth National win after triumphs with Hedgehunter (2005), Ballabriggs (2011) and Many Clouds (2015). His main hope appears to be Cloth Cap, and it is thought quick ground may be against Lake View Lad.

Rating: 5/10 Odds: 25-1

7. BURROWS SAINT

Trainer: Willie Mullins (IRE) Jockey: Patrick Mullins

Form: 31-262 Age: 8 Weight: 10-13

Former top jockey Ruby Walsh thought Burrows Saint had “English National written all over” after winning the Irish National on him in 2019. Had been well fancied for last year’s Aintree race before it was called off because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Drying ground should help. Trainer triumphed with Hedgehunter in 2005.

Rating: 9/10 Odds: 9-1

8. MAGIC OF LIGHT

Trainer: Jessica Harrington (IRE) Jockey: Robbie Power

Form: 8-4128 Age: 10 Weight: 10-13

Second to Tiger Roll in 2019 when a 66-1 shot and was first Grand National runner for a trainer who has won the Champion Chase and Cheltenham Gold Cup. Won three times since but carries 5lb more this time and no mare has prevailed since Nickel Coin in 1951. Jockey Robbie ‘Puppy’ Power won the National in 2007 on Silver Birch.

Rating: 8/10 Odds: 20-1

9. ACAPELLA BOURGEOIS

Trainer: Willie Mullins (IRE) Jockey: Danny Mullins

Form: 61-251 Age: 11 Weight: 10-12

On paper, a win last time in Bobbyjo Chase reads well – conceding weight and beating Burrows Saint, although his stablemate’s main target has always been this race. Can get excited so absence of spectators may help, as should the drying ground. Trainer has twice saddled the runner-up as well as landing the race with Hedgehunter 16 years ago.

Rating: 8/10 Odds: 25-1

10. TALKISCHEAP

Trainer: Alan King Jockey: Tom Cannon

Form: /3P-30 Age: 9 Weight: 10-12

Trainer is not a big fan of the Grand National, which probably has not been helped by a largely disappointing record in the race. This one hasn’t done much talking on the track lately, but was an impressive winner of the Bet365 Gold Cup (formerly the Whitbread) at Sandown two years ago and would be in the mix on that form.

Rating: 7/10 Odds: 50-1

11. TOUT EST PERMIS

Trainer: Noel Meade (IRE) Jockey: Sean Flanagan

Form: 359P4F Age: 8 Weight: 10-12

Fifteen races since his last win. Those defeats include finishing eighth in the 2019 Irish National and falling when evens favourite last time out. Has been well beaten by some of his rivals in this race, including Burrows Saint, Jett and Chris’s Dream. Trainer’s best finish is sixth although did score with 80-1 outsider Jeff Kidder at last month’s Cheltenham Festival.

Rating: 5/10 Odds: 66-1

12. ANIBALE FLY

Trainer: Tony Martin (IRE) Jockey: Denis O’Regan

Form: 9883-5 Age: 11 Weight: 10-12

Beaten by a total of 250 lengths in his past five races but could fly high again after dropping down the weights – saddled with 12lb less this time than when fifth in the 2019 National, having finished fourth the year before. Also boasts a second and third place in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, so a player if shrewd trainer has him back to form.

Rating: 8/10 Odds: 33-1

13. MISTER MALARKY

Trainer: Colin Tizzard Jockey: Jonjo O’Neill Jr

Form: -6U173 Age: 8 Weight: 10-12

Generally sound jumper and one of the more interesting outsiders if he takes to this Aintree lark. Would be a poignant winner for the trainer, whose daughter Kim died 43 from cancer last May. He intends to hand over the training licence to son Joe at the end of this month. Jockey is the son of Jonjo O’Neill, who trains favourite Cloth Cap.

Rating: 6/10 Odds: 40-1

14. KIMBERLITE CANDY

Trainer: Tom Lacey Jockey: Richie McLernon

Form: P/21-2 Age: 9 Weight: 10-10

Looked a real National prospect when a comfortable winner of the Classic Chase at Warwick. Like many of us, Kimberlite Candy gets a bit grumpy when he’s taken out of his routine. He’s sweet enough on this course, however – twice finishing runner-up in the Becher Chase over the National fences. Jockey was beaten by a nose on Sunnyhillboy in 2012.

Rating: 8/10 Odds: 10-1

15. ANY SECOND NOW

Trainer: Ted Walsh (IRE) Jockey: Mark Walsh

Form: 1-99P1 Age: 9 Weight: 10-09

Planned runner last year before the cancellation and one of several contenders in the green and gold colours of owner JP McManus. Took the Kim Muir Chase at Cheltenham in 2019 before falling in the Irish National. Showed wellbeing with win at Navan in February. Trainer won in 2000 with Papillon, ridden by his son Ruby, and was third nine years ago with Seabass, ridden by daughter Katie, who is now his assistant trainer.

Rating: 8/10 Odds: 10-1

16. BALKO DES FLOS

Trainer: Henry de Bromhead (IRE) Jockey: Aidan Coleman

Form: -4764U Age: 10 Weight: 10-09

Won the Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham in 2018 but form has tailed off since then, and unseated rider at Cheltenham last month. Bought recently for £110,000 by the new Racehorse Club syndicate which is offering ‘micro shares’ at a one-off cost of £75 – that gets you a 0.002% interest. Stable jockey Rachael Blackmore prefers Minella Times.

Rating: 6/10 Odds: 40-1

17. ALPHA DES OBEAUX

Trainer: Denise Foster (IRE) Jockey: Jody McGarvey

Form: 595PP4 Age: 11 Weight: 10-09

Looked in decent shape when ridden in the National three years ago by Rachael Blackmore for previous trainer Mouse Morris before falling at the Chair. Did win a race later that year but has not scored since. Stayed on to finish fourth in the Cross Country Chase behind winner Tiger Roll at Cheltenham last month. First ride in the race for jockey who looks to be going places.

Rating: 6/10 Odds: 66-1

18. OK CORRAL

Trainer: Nicky Henderson Jockey: Derek O’Connor

Form: /091-P Age: 11 Weight: 10-08

There’s something inexplicable about the record of trainer Nicky Henderson, who has won multiple Champion Hurdles, Champion Chases and Gold Cups but has an unenviable record in the Grand National. Nine of his runners have fallen at the first fences and it is more in hope than expectation that he seeks a first win. Despite being aged 11, OK Corral is still well placed for a shootout – lightly raced and booking of leading Irish amateur jockey is a plus.

Rating: 6/10 Odds: 40-1

19. TAKINGRISKS

Trainer: Nicky Richards Jockey: Sean Quinlan

Form: 65-P41 Age: 12 Weight: 10-07

“He doesn’t perform like an old-age pensioner, does he?” said trainer Nicky Richards after the veteran Takingrisks won at Doncaster in January. The last 12-year-old to win the Grand National was Amberleigh House 17 years ago. But the peak form of a Scottish Grand National win in 2019, when beating Cloth Cap, makes this a less risky proposition. Trainer’s father Gordon won with Lucius (1978) and Hallo Dandy (1984).

Rating: 7/10 Odds: 33-1

20. SHATTERED LOVE

Trainer: Denise Foster (IRE) Jockey: Kevin Sexton

Form: -31023 Age: 10 Weight: 10-07

Decent third in the mares’ chase at the Cheltenham Festival, although backers must be prepared to have their hearts broken in this tougher test. Never fallen in 23 races over fences and won seven of them, including the JLT Novices’ Chase at the Festival in 2018, but was pulled up when tried in the Irish Grand National a year later.

Rating: 7/10 Odds: 40-1

21. JETT

Trainer: Jessica Harrington (IRE) Jockey: Sam Waley-Cohen

Form: P78P06 Age: 10 Weight: 10-07

Trailed in eighth in the Becher Chase over the National fences earlier in the season, although jumped fine – and the ground was softer than ideal for him then. Trainer also has Magic Of Light, who was second in 2019. Amateur jockey, riding for father Robert, won the Cheltenham Gold Cup 10 years ago on Long Run and has triumphed six times over the National fences in other races at the meeting.

Rating: 7/10 Odds: 50-1

22. LORD DU MESNIL

Trainer: Richard Hobson Jockey: Nick Scholfield

Form: 2-4991 Age: 8 Weight: 10-06

Won the Grand National Trial at Haydock in February and was second in the National Hunt Chase at last year’s Cheltenham Festival. Seems to need soft ground to really lord it over his rivals. Jockey was third on Teaforthree eight years ago. Trainer also involved in the bloodstock industry and sourced the Grand National contender Acapella Bourgeois and former champion hurdler Hurricane Fly.

Rating: 6/10 Odds: 33-1

23. POTTERS CORNER

Trainer: Christian Williams Jockey: Jack Tudor

Form: 11-37P Age: 11 Weight: 10-06

Nationals are this lad’s game. Winner of the Midlands National, the Welsh National and even the Virtual Grand National – a computer-animated race in 2020 when the real thing was called off because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Laid-back trainer exercises his horses on the beach at Ogmore-by-Sea. Potters Corner is part-owned by rugby union star Jonathan Davies and would be the first winner based in Wales for more than a century.

Rating: 8/10 Odds: 25-1

24. CLASS CONTI

Trainer: Willie Mullins (IRE) Jockey: Brian Hayes

Form: 2-P034 Age: 9 Weight: 10-06

Good ground could put this unsung contender into the top class. While trainer’s main hope appears to be Burrows Saint, there is encouragement from Class Conti’s third-placed finish in the Thyestes Chase and Leinster National fourth, although both were with softer conditions. Jockey having his first ride in the race and recent winning debutants include David Mullins on Rule The World in 2016.

Rating: 6/10 Odds: 33-1

25. MILAN NATIVE

Trainer: Denise Foster (IRE) Jockey: Jamie Codd

Form: -12P09 Age: 8 Weight: 10-06

Won last year’s Kim Muir Chase at the Cheltenham Festival but jumped poorly when ninth in the Ultima this time. Good run behind subsequent Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Minella Indo at Wexford earlier in the season. Trained by Denise Foster while Gordon Elliott serves a suspension. Elliott did say this horse could be very well handicapped when the weights were announced in February. Just beat Discorama, who was carrying 4lb more weight, by a short head earlier in the season.

Rating: 8/10 Odds: 33-1

26. DISCORAMA

Trainer: Paul Nolan (IRE) Jockey: Brian Cooper

Form: 833-25 Age: 8 Weight: 10-06

Long looked a National type for owners Tom Friel and Andrew Gemmell, and has been placed three times at the Cheltenham Festival. Friel is landlord of the Black Lion pub in Plaistow, east London, a popular venue for West Ham fans. He first met Gemmell, who has been blind since birth, when the Hammers fan popped in for a pint. Trainer scored with Mrs Milner at Cheltenham under a talented jockey who is on the rise again.

Rating: 8/10 Odds: 16-1

27. VIEUX LION ROUGE

Trainer: David Pipe Jockey: Conor O’Farrell

Form: 97-510 Age: 12 Weight: 10-05

Name means Old Red Lion in English and these fences have not tamed this lion-hearted runner. Has successfully jumped nine times in all, finishing seventh, sixth, ninth and 15th in the National itself. Another safe trip expected, although age and stamina could be against him. Trainer won with Comply Or Die in 2008, 14 years after his father triumphed with Miinnehoma, owned by the late comedian Freddie Starr.

Rating: 6/10 Odds: 40-1

28. CLOTH CAP

Trainer: Jonjo O’Neill (IRE) Jockey: Tom Scudamore

Form: 28-311 Age: 9 Weight: 10-05

Head-turning wins at Newbury and Kelso leave him officially a stone ‘well in’ at the weights. Named after owner Trevor Hemmings’ favourite headgear, victory would be a record fourth in the race for him. Trainer landed the National once, in 2010 with Don’t Push It, ridden by AP McCoy. Jockey from good stock – his grandfather Michael won with Oxo in 1959.

Rating: 8/10 Odds: 4-1

29. CABARET QUEEN

Trainer: Willie Mullins (IRE) Jockey: Sean O’Keeffe

Form: 31238P Age: 9 Weight: 10-05

Owned by a syndicate that includes sports broadcaster Mike Vince, was a bargain buy for racing at £13,000. Gave them all a day to remember when crowned the Kerry National winner at Listowel in September. Had previously also won the Munster National, but this represents a much stiffer test for the mare. Trainer looks to have better chances, including Burrows Saint.

Rating: 6/10 Odds: 50-1

30. MINELLACELEBRATION

Trainer: Katy Price Jockey: Ben Poste

Form: -11UU7 Age: 11 Weight: 10-05

Trained by Katy Price (no, not that one) and has not been a model of consistency, but has won twice this season. Been unlucky to unseat his rider twice. This was the first horse trained by Price and she pledged a few weeks ago not to drink any booze until he wins the National. Not the most obvious selection, but the National is known for winners providing unusual stories. “We want to be that story,” says Price.

Rating: 5/10 Odds: 66-1

31. CANELO

Trainer: Alan King Jockey: Tom Bellamy

Form: 012143 Age: 8 Weight: 10-04

Boxing fans who follow the name will be hoping this Canelo is not on the ropes too soon, and needs to prove he can stay the distance. Wins at Wetherby and Aintree this season offer some encouragement. One of seven runners in the race for owner JP McManus, who looks to have better chances with Minella Times, Any Second Now and Kimberlite Candy.

Rating: 5/10 Odds: 33-1

32. THE LONG MILE

Trainer: Philip Dempsey (IRE) Jockey: Luke Dempsey

Form: 1-F103 Age: 7 Weight: 10-04

Could be well-named if it turns out that this stamina-sapping trip, over more than four and a quarter miles, suits. First runner in the race for trainer, and one of the less-fancied contenders for owner JP McManus. Decent third to the Willie Mullins-trained duo Acapella Bourgeois and Burrows Saint at Fairyhouse last time, and now better off at the weights. Jockey rides for trainer father.

Rating: 5/10 Odds: 40-1

33. GIVE ME A COPPER

Trainer: Paul Nicholls Jockey: Harry Cobden

Form: /17-2P Age: 11 Weight: 10-04

Part-owner Sir Alex Ferguson always loves a big win in Liverpool, although this one would be against the odds. Won the Badger Beers Silver Trophy at Wincanton in November 2019. Trainer has admitted it has been tricky to get the horse ready for the race and will be hoping Give Me A Copper is straighter than some of the coppers in popular police drama Line Of Duty.

Rating: 6/10 Odds: 33-1

34. FARCLAS

Trainer: Denise Foster (IRE) Jockey: Jack Kennedy

Form: 1-5342 Age: 7 Trainer: 10-03

Like stablemate Tiger Roll, the two-time National winner, this runner has previously won a Triumph Hurdle. No seven-year-old has won for 71 years and Farclas’ stamina is unproven. Stayed on well to finish second behind The Shunter over a much shorter trip at Cheltenham last month, though. Jockey has revived career after breaking leg three times and won last month’s Gold Cup on Minella Indo.

Rating: 6/10 Odds: 33-1

35. MINELLA TIMES

Trainer: Henry de Bromhead (IRE) Jockey: Rachael Blackmore

Form: 20-122 Age: 8 Weight: 10-03

Time for a bit of history? Rachael Blackmore’s mount is sure to be popular after she became the first woman to be leading jockey at the Cheltenham Festival. A 50-1 chance in February, he is now one of the leading fancies with an in-form trainer who won the Cheltenham Gold Cup with Minella Indo. A win and two seconds this season, and could be improving.

Rating: 8/10 Odds: 10-1

36. SUB LIEUTENANT

Trainer: Georgie Howell Jockey: Tabitha Worsley

Form: 4-0244 Age: 12 Weight: 10-03

This would be some story. Jockey, riding for her trainer mother, can claim to have a 100% record round the track after winning on her only previous ride – in the Foxhunters’ Chase over the National fences on Top Wood two years ago. That was 18 months after she broke her back in a fall. Trainer only has seven horses in the yard but Sub Lieutenant should not be all at sea on this track – finished second in the Topham Chase two years ago.

Rating: 7/10 Odds: 100-1

37. HOGAN’S HEIGHT

Trainer: Jamie Snowden Jockey: Gavin Sheehan

Form: 715-P6 Age: 10 Weight: 10-03

First runner in the race for trainer and the horse does have winning form over the National fences – in the Grand Sefton Chase in December 2019. That race is over a significantly shorter distance and there is a question mark over whether he can hit the heights over a much longer run. Partly owned by the Foxtrot Racing Syndicate, whose 20 members include a roofer and housekeeper. If he wins, it will raise the… you know the rest.

Rating: 6/10 Odds: 40-1

38. DOUBLE SHUFFLE

Trainer: Tom George Jockey: Jonathan Burke

Form: 7-9316 Age: 11 Weight: 10-02

Would be a real contender if back to the form of his second place in the 2017 King George VI Chase and if able to see out the trip, but that’s two big ifs already. Did win at Kempton in January – 1,474 days after his last victory. Owned by businessman Nic Williamson and hairdresser Max Fawbert, who met when Williamson popped in to his salon for a haircut.

Rating: 6/10 Odds: 50-1

39. AMI DESBOIS

Trainer: Graeme McPherson Jockey: Kielan Woods

Form: 62P-22 Age: 11 Weight: 10-02

Trainer is also a lawyer but even this QC might struggle to make a strong case for Ami Desbois being the National winner. “I’ve got a picture of Red Rum winning his third National above my desk and it’s always been an absolute dream to have a runner in it,” he says from his Cotswold stables. His first runner in the race and a debut ride for the jockey. Good second to Double Shuffle in January but Ami Desbois has not won since 2017.

Rating: 5/10 Odds: 100-1

40. BLAKLION

Trainer: Dan Skelton Jockey: Harry Skelton

Form: 85/074 Age: 12 Weight: 10-02

Sent off the 8-1 favourite for the 2017 National, having won the previous year’s RSA Chase at the Cheltenham Festival when trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies. Has not won since Becher Chase victory more than three years ago. Rider is the brother’s trainer and involved in an epic tussle with Brian Hughes to be champion jockey. The Skeltons are sons of Nick, the Olympic equestrian gold medallist.

Rating: 6/10 Odds: 50-1

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