Grand National News
Will Grand National favourite Cloth Cap be the shortest-priced winner of the race in 100 years?
The 2021 Randox Grand National is almost here and this time around we have a huge favourite in the form of Cloth Cap. The Jonjo O’Neill-trained runner is an eye-waveringly short 7/2 for this tough test but for very good reason…
- Trainer & Owner
Cloth Cap will be running in the 2021 Grand National with a weight of just 10st 5lbs. This means that he is officially ‘well-in’ given that if a weight was allocated today it would be a stone more at 11st 5lbs. The weights for the Grand National are always given early and once confirmed they can’t be changed irrespective of how a horse performs subsequently. It’s rare to get a runner as much as a stone ‘well in’ and this explains why all the bookies are running scared of this one.
Trainer and Owner
There can be little doubt that Jonjo O’Neill has the experience needed to win the Grand National. He enjoyed victory in the race in 2010 with Don’t Push It, thus ending AP McCoy’s lengthy wait for a win in the famous steeplechase. Owner Trevor Hemmings is a regular at this venue and he generally aims all of his runners at the Grand National, some notable winners of his being Many Clouds in 2015, Ballabriggs in 2011 and Hedgehunter 2005.
Cloth Cap is named after the cap which Trevor Hemmings wears every morning while enjoying his breakfast.
Cloth Cap likes good ground and this is the explanation behind his upturn in fortunes this term. The Grand National meeting is now a little over a week away and the likelihood is that he will enjoy his preferred conditions on April 10th. Should we get rain at Aintree between now and the Grand National, then the ground would rapidly move into the opposite category, however the forecast is dry and as such, this looks unlikely to be the case.
- The field
- The price
Cloth Cap is a horse that prefers to make the running on his own out in front, however the Grand National has a field of forty runners and it would therefore be something of a surprise were he to manage to get his own way at the front. There will undoubtedly be a few runners attempting to go from the front and Cloth Cap jockey Tom Scudamore will have to be mindful of this. The big question is, can Cloth Cap handle the pressure on the lead in the Grand National?
Generally, favourites tend to have struggled in the Grand National and many of these are at far bigger odds than the current favourite. Indeed if the momentum continues the likelihood is that he could go off at an even shorter price. Tiger Roll won at 4/1 in 2019 but his course form wasn’t in doubt given that he had won the race just twelve months earlier. In the last twenty years just two clear favourites have won the Grand National and this is purely down to the fact that you need luck in this race more than any other.
In a nutshell, the odds of 7/2 suggest that the best approach is to look elsewhere. Henry de Bromhead, ‘Sneezy’ Foster and Willie Mullins all have multiple entries in the race and despite being a stone ‘well in’, Cloth Cap will be in for some tough competition.