One of the International meetings of the year, the 2021 Randox Grand National Festival kicks off Thursday night at Aintree in the UK and we’ve brought in local racing experts Tips4Punters.co.uk to preview the meeting and bring us their Grand National best bets!
Race 1: SSS Super Alloys Manifesto Novices’ Chase (Grade 1)
Thursday 10:45pm AEST
The Grade 1 Manifesto Novices’ Chase gets the Grand National 2021 meeting underway on Thursday. 1 of 4 Grade 1 races at Aintree today. Diving straight in with the Paul Nicholls trained (3) Hitman who is looking for his first Grade 1 success. Has run in a Grade 1 before back in December at Sandown and was 2nd to smart novice Allmankind. Has swerved the Cheltenham Festival for Aintree and a recent huge margin win at Newbury should see him go close in this (although the trainers record in this race is not great).
(6) The Shunter appears to be on the up and up, winner of a Kelso hurdle race and then a big jump in grade winning the Grade 3 Plate Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival last month. More to come?
The one I am siding with is the Nicky Henderson trained (2) Fusil Raffles who was 2nd to his stablemate Chantry House in the Grade 1 Marsh Novices’ Chase at the Cheltenham Festival. Prior to that he has won 3 out 4 races (chases) in 2020.
Race 2: Doom Bar Anniversary 4-Y-O Juvenile Hurdle (Grade 1)
Thursday 11:20pm AEST
Without sounding disrespectful to the rest of the field, just the two to talk about here starting with the unbeaten (4) Monmiral trained by Paul Nicholls. Another one like Hitman in the opener that did not run at the Cheltenham Festival. Last race slammed the Gary Moore trained Nassalam by 7 ½ lengths at Haydock. Nassalam was a recent runner at the Cheltenham Festival but finished a disappointing 10th in the Grade 3 Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle won by Jeff Kidder. Prior to that was beaten by Adagio in a Grade 1 at Chepstow.
More to come from Monmiral and looks dangerous to the other horse I want to give a serious mention to. That horse is the David Pipe trained (1) Adagio who after beating Nassalam (like Monmiral) was recently a good 2nd to Quilixios in the Grade 1 JCB Triumph Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival. Main threat to Monmiral for sure.
Race 3: Betway Bowl Chase (Grade 1)
Thursday 11:50pm AEST
Some interesting runners in this one including dual Grand National hero (8) Tiger Roll who sadly this year does not run in the Grand National. 11 yo Native River recently rolled back the years winning a Grade 2 at Sandown back in February (Bristol De Mai 2nd in that one) since then was staying on for 4th in the Gold Cup at the Cheltenham Festival won by Minella Indo.
However the two we are concentrating on are (2) Clan des Obeaux and (9) Waiting Patiently. Both runners have history with the Grade 1 King George (a hugely respected main race in the UK). Clan des Obeaux is a 2-time winner of the race back in 2018 and 2019. Waiting Patiently in the latest renewal of the race was 2nd to Frodon. 3rd in the race that day was Clan des Obeaux.
Since then, Waiting Patiently has placed in the Grade 1 Clarence House at Ascot and is the pick representing the Ruth Jefferson stable.
Race 4: Betway Aintree Hurdle (Grade 1)
Friday 12:25am AEST
Rachael Blackmore and Henry de Bromhead had a very successful Cheltenham Festival and they team up in this race with (6) Jason The Militant who apart from 1 or 2 races runs mainly at 2 miles. Last seen winning over that distance winning a Grade 3 at Fairyhouse in February beating Petit Mouchoir by 7 ½ lengths! This race today is 2m 4f but should stay.
Others worthy of a mention include (1) Abacadabras, (3) Brewin’upastorm and (7) McFabulous who all have a good chance. Winner of this race in 2017, (4) Buveur D’Air deserves respect but has to improve plenty.
Race 5: Rose Paterson Randox Foxhunters’ Open Hunters’ Chase
Friday 1:05am AEST
Foxhunters’ Open Hunters’ Chase or the Rose Paterson Randox Foxhunters’ Open Hunters’ Chase to give it its full name (named in honour of Aintree chairman Rose Paterson who sadly passed away last year). 20 plus runners in this which is one of only three races during the Grand National meeting to be run over the Grand National fences, along with the National and the Topham Chase.
I am going to jump straight in with my pick to win which is the Paul Nicholls trained (20) Sametegal. Although was disappointing in his last race – beaten 12 lengths his plus point is that he has had a good few spins around Aintree and if you forgive that last race he will go well I think.
(1) Billaway trained by super Irish trainer Willie Mullins was favourite for the St. James’s Place Festival Challenge Cup Open Hunters’ Chase at the Cheltenham Festival but was beaten by Porlock Bay (short head). Has another crack and could well make amends.
(4) Cat Tiger another runner for Nicholls in the race also needs a mention.
Race 6: Close Brothers Red Rum Handicap Chase (Grade 3)
Friday 1:40am AEST
The Close Brothers Red Rum Handicap Chase (named in honour of Grand National legend Red Rum, winner of the National in 1973, 1974 and 1977). (2) Moon Over Germany won the race in 2019 and has another crack at it in 2021, his jockey Jordan Gainford takes off 7lb. Useful.
The fun named (1) Getaway Trump was a recent good winner of a Handicap Chase at Doncaster. Smaller field than today though.
(13) Destrier for the Skelton team looks interesting but the worry is his record lately is poor but has been given a chance.
The pick for me though is (5) On The Slopes who was 4th in the recent Grade 3 Grand Annual at the Cheltenham Festival. Good run. Won at Kempton twice back in 2020.
Race 7: Goffs UK Nickel Coin Mares’ Standard Open NH Flat Race (Grade 2)
Friday 2:15am AEST
Time for the Mares’ and the two stand outs in this race are (13) Eileendover and (3) Elle Est Belle.
Concentrating on Elle Est Belle first for the Skelton team she was 3rd to unbeaten Sir Gerhard in the Grade 1 Champion Bumper at the Cheltenham Festival, good company to keep. That time she was facing the boys now back amongst her own sex she is a great contender to Eileendover who looks very good. The Canford Cliffs progeny is unbeaten. Winning her races by big margins. For me and many others she is the one to beat!
TIP: (13) Eileendover – $1.90 at Ladbrokes