Liverpool news Grand National 2021: Cloth Cap to win Aintree marathon MetiNews.Com
MetiNews.Com - Jonjo O'Neill's favourite can grab glory in the Grand National, while Kimberlite Candy, Potters Corner, Burrows Saint and Lord Du Mesnil may follow him home at Aintree
Breaking News ! If the Cap fits, then back it. And CLOTH CAP looks to have all the right credentials to win the 2021 Randox Grand National at Aintree Racecourse. Jonjo O’Neill’s nine-year-old may be a short-priced favourite for the Aintree marathon – but there are compelling reasons to believe he can land the odds in the world’s greatest steeplechase and provide owner Trevor Hemmings with a record fourth victory. He finished a fine third as a novice in the 2019 Scottish Grand National at Ayr, showing his liking for a stamina test. He was always threatening to make up into a top staying chaser and hinted at that when eighth in the Kim Muir Chase at last year’s Cheltenham Festival. But his form has gone to a different level this season. Don't miss your ECHO 2021 Grand National Special in shops and online now He ran them ragged in the usually competitive Ladbrokes Trophy – formerly the Hennessy Gold Cup – at Newbury in November and managed to get a nice low weight of 10st5lb from the British Horseracing Authority’s lead chase handicapper Martin Greenwood when the weights were first revealed in February. He then warmed up for his crack at the Grand National with another wide-margin win in the Listed Premier Chase at Kelso at the start of last month. He was put up 14lb for that success by the handicapper, so as he runs off his former mark of 145 is theoretically ‘well-in’. But it is more than just that why he can win. He is an improving chaser who jumps well, travels superbly and appears to have the staying power needed for the Aintree challenge. He has a similar profile to a couple of Hemmings’ former Aintree heroes in Many Clouds and Ballabriggs. Many Clouds also won the Hennessy, but had to carry more weight for his victory in 2015. Pinstickers' guide to all the Grand National runners Ballabriggs also ran in the Kim Muir – although he won – the year before his victory in 2011, and also used the Premier Chase as a stepping stone to glory, finishing second before landing the big one. Cloth Cap looks to have all the hallmarks of a Grand National winner and can cap a fine campaign on Merseyside. He has been superbly ridden by Everton FC-supporting Tom Scudamore, who will be looking to emulate his grandfather Michael who landed the Grand National with Oxo in 1959. He is sure to be near the head of affairs throughout – like Ballabriggs and Many Clouds were – and providing he takes to the big fences on his debut, which he appears tailor-made for, Cloth Cap can come out on top and give trainer O’Neill a second Grand National win 11 years on from Don’t Push It’s success. As ever with the Grand National there are plenty of others who have the right credentials to go close to upsetting the favourite. Richie McLernon and Kimberlite Candy clear the last to win The McCoy Contractors Civil Engineering Classic Handicap Chase at Warwick Racecourse on January 11 2020 Picture by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images Leading the charge is probably Tom Lacey’s KIMBERLITE CANDY. Unlike Cloth Cap, he won’t be making his debut over the fearsome Aintree obstacles. In fact he appears a dab hand at them, having finished second on both his starts at the course in the last two Becher Chases. He was only beaten by dual winners Walk In The Mill and Vieux Lion Rouge in 2019 and 2020 respectively. But he will probably be even better suited to the marathon distance of the Grand National than the Becher, having shown his stamina when winning the Classic Chase at Warwick last January.
. Kimberlite Candy is one seven entries for owner JP McManus and the Ted Walsh-trained Any Second Now, Henry De Bromhead’s Minella Times and Grand National regular Anibable Fly are others who may go well.
Potters Corner, ridden by Jack Tudor, on the way to victory in the Coral Welsh Grand National Handicap Chase at Chepstow Racecourse on Friday, December 27 2019 Picture by David Davies/PA
But it is Christian Williams’ POTTERS CORNER who is another one with the ability to land the biggest prize in National Hunt racing. Having already won the Midlands Grand National and the Welsh Grand National in 2019, the 11-year-old had to settle for ‘victory’ in the Virtual Grand National 12 months ago. He will finally get a chance at glory in the real thing and he should be able to give his connections a run for their money. Jumping ability and stamina are not in doubt with those past National successes. And although he hasn’t been in the same form this season, his campaign has been geared around a crack at the big one. He can at least make the frame, under Grand National debutant Jack Tudor, and he could easily come out on top if others fail to shine. Ireland dominated the recent Cheltenham Festival and although it is unlikely they will do so at Aintree, they still have some big chances. The aforementioned Any Second Now and Minella Times, as well as Jessica Harrington’s 2019 runner-up MAGIC OF LIGHT all have the opportunity to at least make the frame, but it is Willie Mullins’ BURROWS SAINT who may do best of those from the Emerald Isle.
Burrows Saint and Ruby Walsh win the Boylesports Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse Racecourse on Monday, April 22 2019 Picture by PA Wire
The eight-year-old won the Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse two years ago and warmed up for his crack for the big one when a fine second to stable-mate and fellow Aintree hopeful Acapella Bourgeois in the Bobbyjo Chase at Fairyhouse in February. Mullins won the National with Hedgehunter and has had Pleasant Company (second, 2018) and Rathvinden (third, 2019) placed in the last two renewals. Burrows Saint has a similar profile to many of Mullins’ past leading contenders and gives him a reasonable chance of another victory. If the going was heavy, Richard Hobson’s LORD DU MESNIL - who is owned by a syndicate which owned by a syndicate that includes Mike and Mandy Smith from Wirral - would have a massive chance. The three-time Haydock Park winner has all the attributes for the Grand National. He should go well, but with the ground unlikely to be soft enough, may not be able to win. But it looks like they may all just be playing catch-up to favourite Cloth Cap. 2021 RANDOX HEALTH GRAND NATIONAL PREDICTION 1. CLOTH CAP (NAP) 2. Kimberlite Candy 3. Potters Corner 4. Burrows Saint 5. Lord Du Mesnil Best of the rest: Magic Of Light
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