Tomorrow will see race lovers rejoice as The Grand National 2021 commences for three days of intense racing action. The world’s greatest steeplechase was cancelled last year as the coronavirus pandemic took hold of the nation. Being held behind closed doors in 2021, millions will tune in for this years’ extravaganza to witness the racing drama unfold at Aintree Racecourse.
Whilst Saturday hosts the showstopper race, the event begins with Liverpool’s NHS Day, renamed last year to honour the NHS staff across the region, followed by the iconic Ladies Day and finally reaching fever pitch on Grand National Day.
Undoubtedly, last year’s greatest disappointment was not seeing if Tiger Roll could take the crown for the third year running, a feat only managed previously by Red Rum. Whilst Tiger Roll will run at Aintree this year; he will not take part in the main spectacle and will instead run the Grade One Betway Bowl on the opening day.
With last years’ Grand National not taking place, racing fans are more eager than ever to see who will come out on top in 2021. Take a look as we cover which Grand National runners to watch during this years’ event.
It has been confirmed that the recently unstoppable Rachael Blackmore will ride Minella Times in the Randox Grand National Steeple Chase. Despite being more accustomed to shorter distances, the 8-year-old has managed to claim a reputable second place in the Paddy Power Chase at Leopardstown last December. Jockey Rachael Blackmore smashed records at the Cheltenham Festival, becoming the first female to win Top Jockey as well as the first female winner in the Champion Hurdle. Can she make history once again and recreate the magic at Aintree?
Bristol De Mai
Trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies has revealed that he is cautiously optimistic regarding Bristol De Mai’s chances at the Grand National 2021. The grey managed to claim three consecutive victories at Haydock’s Betfair Chase, providing hope for further success. “I was going to run him in last year’s National,” said Twiston-Davies “while that never happened, he’s been trained specifically for the race this time.” Jockey Daryl Jacob stated that Bristol De Mai is on top form ahead of the race and is hopeful that the 10-year-old will play to his strengths.
Trained by Denise Foster, having taken over from Gordon Elliott, The Storyteller looks to be a strong contender with a consistent performance history behind him. He has won a total of 11 races, including the Cheltenham Festival, racking up over 400 euros in prize money so far and has been hailed as an ‘underrated class act.’
2019 saw the Willie Mullins trained Burrows Saint claim his first win at the Irish Grand National. Although he took a break last season, it’s hoped that he will put up a strong performance for this year’s Grand National, having secured a respectable second place in the Bobbyjo Chase at Fairyhouse in February. Could Burrows Saint replicate the glory of Hedgehunter’s victory in 2005 and provide a follow-up Grand National win for Mullins?
Yala Enki could provide another potential female win for the Grand National title with jockey Bryony Frost. Frost is also no stranger to beating records, becoming the first female jockey to take the win at the Ladbrokes King George VI Chase with Paul Nicholls-trained Frodon at Kempton Park last December. The win followed Yala Enki’s fall at the William Hill Becher Chase, though the 11-year-old has a history of solid performances with soft or heavy going and the conditions at Aintree currently are described as good to soft. Despite being hopeful of the performance, Frost stated, “I’ve just got to get him out there galloping, and at the end of the day, a race like that is all about luck.”
Whilst there are some clearly strong contenders in the running for Saturday, we can’t wait to see the outcome across all three days of the Grand National and what iconic moments will unfold.
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