Grand National

Focus on the favourite

Cloth Cap (4/1)

Tiger Roll was the shortest-priced winning favourite in the Grand National for 100 years when successful at odds of 4/1 in 2019 and Cloth Cap looks like starting a similar price if not shorter still. He’s very much the pick of the weights following last month’s success in the Premier Chase at Kelso, where he made all the running and jumped well on the way to beating the very smart Aso by seven and a half lengths, conceding weight to the runner-up and having plenty in hand. That was Cloth Cap’s first start since winning the Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury in November, where he dominated the race throughout under an attacking ride from Tom Scudamore and ran out an impressive 10-length winner from Aye Right. That was his first start in cheekpieces which he also wore at Kelso. Cloth Cap will have ground conditions to suit at Aintree, and he is proven over at least four miles having finished third in the Scottish Grand National as a novice two years ago, so he has plenty in his favour.

An outsider to consider

Farclas (22/1)

Farclas is another who looks well treated having run an excellent race in defeat at the Cheltenham Festival since the weights were published. That was in the Paddy Power Plate in which he finished three lengths second to the progressive winner The Shunter. Farclas would have gone closer still had he enjoyed a better run through the race, but he lost valuable ground when hampered and stumbling on the home turn. However, the way he kept on again to finish runner-up shows he’s still a very well-handicapped horse. The main doubt about Farclas is his stamina as he has only once run over as far as three miles, finishing third in the Paddy Power Chase at Leopardstown in December. He is, though, a former winner of the Triumph Hurdle like his owners’ dual Grand National winner Tiger Roll.

A stat to note

Seven of the last 10 winners were aged nine or older

Horses aged between nine and eleven have won the majority of Grand Nationals this century, even though three of the most recent winners – Many Clouds, One For Arthur and Tiger Roll – all won the race as eight-year-olds. That bodes well for the nine-year-old favourite Cloth Cap, while other leading fancies Any Second Now and Kimberlite Candy are the same age. Farclas, on the other hand, is bidding to become the first seven-year-old winner of the Grand National since Bogskar in 1940.

Grand National Tip

It often pays to keep things simple and in Cloth Cap we have a solid favourite who is progressive, stays four miles, is a stone well-in, and represents an owner, Trevor Hemmings, with a fantastic record in the race. He's hard to get away from and with luck should win. The last couple of Grand Nationals have seen an Irish 1-2-3 and another formidable challenge from the quarter is headed up by Burrows Saint, already winner of the Irish Grand National, the well-handicapped Farclas and Any Second Now.

Timeform’s weight-adjusted ratings

  • 192  Cloth Cap
  • 188  Farclas
  • 185  Any Second Now
  • 183  Minella Times
  • 182  Lord du Mesnil
  • 182  Potters Corner

 

Grand National Runners

  • Cloth Cap
  • Burrows Saint
  • Any Second Now
  • Minella Times
  • Kimberlite Candy
  • Secret Reprieve
  • Discorama
  • Magic Of Light
  • Farclas
  • Potters Corner
  • Bristol De Mai
  • Milan Native
  • Lord Du Mesnil
  • Anibale Fly
  • Mister Malarky
  • Acapella Bourgeois
  • Takingrisks
  • Yala Enki
  • Some Neck
  • Canelo
  • Vieux Lion Rouge
  • Class Conti
  • Shattered Love
  • Definitly Red
  • Chriss Dream
  • Hogans Height
  • Balko Des Flos
  • Alpha Des Obeaux
  • Talkischeap
  • Lake View Lad
  • The Long Mile
  • Give Me A Copper
  • Jett
  • Ok Corral
  • Blaklion
  • Sub Lieutentant
  • Minellacelebration
  • Ballyoptic
  • Fagan
  • Double Shuffle
  • Cabaret Queen
  • Tout Est Permis
  • Ami Desbois
  • Kauto Riko