Grand National Tips from racing expert Jeff Garlick

Wondering who to back in the 2021 Grand National? Look no further.

Thursday, 8th April 2021, 12:10 pm
Updated Thursday, 8th April 2021, 12:32 pm
Jeff Garlick fancies the chances of Magic of Light in the 2021 Grand National. Picture: Getty Images

Here, Harrogate Advertiser Series racing expert and proven tipster Jeff Garlick previews the Aintree action.

Grand National fever will hit the nation on Saturday when the world’s most famous race takes place at Aintree, writes Garlick.

Everyone is champing at the bit to hit the pubs on Monday, so wouldn’t it be good to be able to brag about having backed the National winner.

Cloth Cap heads the market and despite his skinny price deserves close attention. But, for a horse who is yet to tackle the unique Aintree fences, he is much too short for me.

Irish horses routed the English at the Cheltenham Festival last month, so I am heading to the Emerald Isle in search of the 2021 National winner.

It could be a female-dominated finish with Magic of Light hoping to become the first mare to emerge victorious in 70 years and Rachel Blackmore (Minella Times) the first lady jockey to win the race.

Magic of Light gave Tiger Roll a scare when second in 2019 and she just edges it for me. I also expect the fifth horse that year, Anibale Fly, to run well, while I also have Discorama on my (long) short list. All four are Irish-trained.

There are some great races supporting the Grand National, starting with the Betway Bowl on Thursday.

I really hope the Malton-trained Waiting Patiently can finally win a race on the big stage. He has run well in defeat in other major races, including a King George, and deserves his day in the sun. Aintree should really suit him.

I also fancy Eileendover in the concluding Mares Bumper race. All her three wins have been on flat tracks similar to Aintree and the decision to swerve Cheltenham could be a wise one.

In the opening race on Thursday, I fancy The Shunter to back up his recent Cheltenham success. Jason The Militant can continue the amazing run of trainer Henry De Bromhead and jockey Rachel Blackmore in the Aintree Hurdle.

There is equally good racing on Friday. Wilde About Oscar won over course and distance in November and he could be the one to be on in the opening race for the Skeltons.

The brothers also have a good chance with Third Time Lucki. He jumped the last in front in the County Hurdle but didn’t get up the hill.

Visioman could run well at a big price in the Topham Trophy over the National fences.

On Saturday’s undercard I strongly fancy Thyme Hill in the Stayers Hurdle. He missed having a tough race at Cheltenham due to a minor injury and that could prove to be a blessing in disguise.

But Saturday is all about the Grand National. I will be cheering on my girls, but get your pin out – pick two or three horses to follow and sit back and enjoy the spectacle.

Then, hopefully, you can spend your winnings having a socially-distanced pint in a beer garden on Monday.

Good luck everyone.

Garlick’s Aintree Goodies:

THURSDAY - 1:45 – The Shunter;2:50 – Waiting Patiently; 3:25 – Jason The Militant; 5:15 – Eileendover.

FRIDAY - 1:45 – Wilde About Oscar; 2:20 – Third Time Lucki; 4:05 - Visioman.

SATURDAY - 3:35 – Thyme Hill; 5:15 – 1. Magic Of Light; 2. Minella Times; 3. Anibale Fly; 4. Discorama