Handicapper Martin Greenwood explains Randox Grand National weights decisions

Published 2021/02/16

The Randox Grand National holds a unique place in the racing calendar for many reasons.

One such reason is the fact that it is only race where the handicapper is able to deviate from official ratings in allotting weights to each horse.

Sharing top-weight for 2021 are Bristol de Mai, three-time winner of the Grade One Betfair Chase, 2020 Cheltenham Gold Cup second Santini and French challenger Easysland, conqueror of Tiger Roll in the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase at Cheltenham last year.

Bristol de Mai is officially rated 169, but rating has been compressed to 167.

Martin Greenwood, BHA Jump Handicappers' Team Leader, was handicapping his third Randox Grand National.

Greenwood said:

Santini and Bristol de Mai have run against each other three times and Santini has finished in front twice with Bristol de Mai beating the other time so I thought rating them the same was the right thing to do.

Also by compressing the weights slightly at the top means that hopefully all 40 horses will be in the handicap on the day.

Quality-wise, there are not quite so many horses rated above 150 that there were last year when the race obviously did not take place 38 rather than 48. But it is still the second best National ever in terms of quality.

It is the third year running Bristol de Mai has been entered and I do get the impression that the intention is to run him. It does not matter to me but he is a grey which often catches the attention of the racing public so is a good top-weight in many senses.

No horses have run out of the handicap since 2013.

There is the chance it could happen this year depending on which of the top weights stand their ground.

It sounds like Bristol de Mai and Presenting Percy have been scratched from the Gold Cup to run in the National so the augurs well for a quality top-weight.

Tiger Roll is attempting to win a third Randox Grand National this year and Greenwood admitted he had difficulty in assessing the remarkable 11-year-old.

He continued:

Tiger Roll was rated 170 this time last year for the Grand National when he was about 5-1 favourite.

Obviously the race did not go ahead and when he then ran off his proper rating of 171 at Cheltenham in November, he ran abysmally.

It is very difficult to know with this horse because he has had four races in a year one on the Flat, one over hurdles and two in cross country races.

To try and make sense of all that and come up with a rating tells you the story of this year it has been very difficult.

I have downgraded his 2019 win a bit, which also affects Magic Of Light and Anibale Fly who are both lower than they were.

I have just been trying to fit him in basically so he is 4lb lower than he would have been at this time last year when he was 5-1 favourite.

He is still one of the favourites now and there is no real evidence to know what kind of form he is in as run at Cheltenham in November was too bad to be true.

His rating of 166 is the same that Many Clouds ran off in 2016 having won the National the year before off 160.

Tiger Roll won off 159 in 2019 and I am rating him also at 166 but he has obviously won two Nationals.

The two horses that are most apart from their Irish marks are Anibale Fly and Alpha des Obeaux.

This is due to the Irish handicapper dropping both horses but I am going to factor in a bit of Aintree form.

So Anibale Fly is now 155, which is still 9lb lower than the last time he ran in the National (fifth in 2019) and three pounds lower than the time before (fourth in 2019), when he ran two solid races over the National fences.

But again, there is not much evidence to show what kind of form these horses are in.

To get in the race, I would be looking at horses in the 142 area, which is around the 9st 13lb/10st area at the moment.

That would mean Secret Reprieve would get in on 144 and he was an impressive winner of the Welsh National who many people have been talking about.

Cloth Cap on 148 who won the Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury is another horse who would be very popular.


16 entries Gordon Elliott IRE (2007 Silver Birch, 2018 & 2019 Tiger Roll)

Delta Work 11-09

Presenting Percy 11-09

Tiger Roll 11-09

The Storyteller 11-08

Battleoverdoyen 11-05

Alpha des Obeaux 10-09

Champagne Classic 10-08

Shattered Love 10-07

Milan Native 10-06

Farclas 10-03

Death Duty 10-01

Run Wild Fred 9-11

Dounikos 9-09

Roaring Bull 9-09

Monbeg Notorious 9-06

Aforementioned 9-05

8 entries Willie Mullins IRE (2005 Hedgehunter)

Burrows Saint 10-13

Acapella Bourgeois 10-12

Brahma Bull 10-08

Class Conti 10-06

Cabbaret Queen 10-05

Robin des Foret 10-05

Saturnas 9-13

Bellow Mome 9-02

6 entries Nicky Henderson

Santini 11-10

Beware The Bear 10-10

Pym 10-10

Ok Corral 10-08

Gold Present 10-02

Valtor 9-13

5 entries Nigel Twiston-Davies (1998 Earth Summit, 2002 Bindaree)

Bristol de Mai 11-10

Ballyoptic 11-01

Crievehill 9-11

The Hollow Ginge 9-11

Flying Angel 9-10

4 entries Henry de Bromhead IRE

Chris's Dream 11-07

Balko des Flos 10-09

Minella Times 10-03

Plan of Attack 9-09

3 entries Philip Hobbs

Deise Aba 9-13

Jerrysback 9-13

Musical Slave 9-08

Paul Nicholls (2012 Neptune Collonges)

Yala Enki 11-03

Give Me A Copper 10-04

Shantou Flyer 9-07

Venetia Williams (2009 Mon Mome)

Aso 10-12

Achille 9-09

One Style 9-03

2 entries Kim Bailey (1990 Mr Frisk)

Rocky's Treasure 10-00

Another Venture 9-11

Mick Channon B Glen Forsa 10-04

Hold The Note 9-09

David Cottin FR

Easysland 11-10

Ajas 10-13

Jessica Harrington IRE

Magic of Light 10-13

Jett 10-07

Richard Hobson

Lord du Mesnil 10-06

Saint Xavier 9-05

Alan King

Talkischeap 10-12

Canelo 10-04

Neil Mulholland

Soupy Soups 9-08

Fingerontheswitch 9-03

Dr Richard Newland (2014 Pineau de Re)

Al Roc 10-09

Beau Bay9-07

Paul Nolan IRE

Discorama 10-06

Fitzhenry 9-10

Sandy Thomson

Bellshill 10-10

Yorkhill 10-04

Christian Williams

Potters Corner 10-06

Cap du Nord 9-13

Evan Williams 

Secret Reprieve 10-01

Prime Venture 9-10

1 entry

Nick Alexander

Lake View Lad 11-00

David Bridgwater

The Conditional 10-06

Philip Dempsey IRE

The Long Mile 10-04

Brian Ellison

Definitly Red 11-01

Harry Fry

Captain Drake 9-11

Tom George

Double Shuffle 10-02

Warren Greatrex

Keeper Hill 10-02

Tom Gretton

Kauto Riko 9-13

Alex Hales

Fagan 9-13

Denis Hogan IRE

Moyhenna 10-02

Georgie Howell

Sub Lieutenant 10-03

Noel Kelly IRE

Hear No Evil 9-07

Kerry Lee

Storm Control 9-13

Tom Lacey

Kimberlite Candy 10-10

Tony Martin IRE

Anibale Fly 10-12

John McConnell IRE

Some Neck 10-01

Ronan McNally IRE

The Jam Man 10-07

Graeme McPherson

Ami Desbois 10-02

Noel Meade IRE

Tout Est Permis 10-12

Phil Middleton

Golan Fortune 9-13

Gary Moore

A Toi Phil 9-09

Margaret Mullins IRE

Agusta Gold 10-03

Terence OBrien IRE

Articulum 10-07

Jonjo ONeill (2010 Dont Push It)

Cloth Cap 10-05

Ben Pauling

Le Breuil 9-10

David Pipe (2008 Comply Or Die)

Vieux Lion Rouge 10-05

Katy Price

Minellacelebration 10-05

Nicky Richards

Takingrisks 10-07

Dan Skelton

Blaklion 10-02

Jamie Snowden

Hogan's Height 10-03

Colin Tizzard

Mister Malarky 10-12

Ted Walsh IRE (2000 Papillon)

Any Second Now 10-09

Robert Widger IRE

Treacysenniscorthy 9-08