Who is Cloth Cap and Why is he a Grand National Favourite?

Published 2021/03/16

Who is Cloth Cap and Why is he a Grand National Favourite?

Speculation over potential winners of the 2021 Grand National has been rife for many weeks as the countdown to the ‘off’ continues. A number of high-quality jumpers are in contention but recently, one horse has emerged from the pack to become a clear favourite.

Cloth Cap is the runner to have produced some stunning displays including a notable win on the demanding Newbury Course. With the race having been postponed 12 months ago, the National is more highly anticipated than ever but can the favourite justify the interest?

This Year’s Renewal

The 2021 Grand National returns to the famous Aintree Course and it is set to be held on Saturday April the 10th. Traditionally, the race has been held on the second Saturday in April for some time and it’s great to see this historic event back on the schedules after 2020’s hiatus.

With no trends from last year to consider, we have to look back to 2019 to find any horses who excelled in the most recent National. It’s such a gruelling event and a huge test of stamina and this is the first piece of research to carry out when it comes to identifying future winners.

Back in 2019, Tiger Roll joined an elite group when he claimed his second Grand National success in consecutive years. With Davy Russell on board for the second time, Tiger Roll came home ahead of Magic of Light and Rathvinden who finished in second and third respectively.

Back for More

With a two-year gap between the last Grand National and the 2021 renewal, few of the horses who were at Aintree in 2019 are back to contest the latest edition. Most notably, Tiger Roll is not included in the early declarations amidst handicapping questions and suggestions that he will be retired after the Cheltenham Festival.

Magic of Light is, however, listed in the markets as is A Toi Phil and Vieux Lion Rouge. All three competed here two years ago, but none are rated highly in the markets and very few horse racing bets are being placed on the trio.

Storming to the Front

While the Grand National winner markets continue to move, Cloth Cap has stormed to the very top. He’s rated as a 9/2 shot and that gives him a clear lead over 11/1 chance Any Second Now. That’s a significant margin in such a demanding race so why is Cloth Cap so highly fancied?

Trained by the legendary Jonjo O’Neill, Cloth Cap’s overall record is a relatively modest one. Coming into Aintree, the nine-year-old has won five of his first 19 starts and has finished inside the places on ten previous occasions.

Taken in isolation, that isn’t the kind of record that would get many tipsters excited but it’s Cloth Cap’s recent displays that have taken him to the head of the market.

Dominant Display

With Tom Scudamore on board, Cloth Cap has won his last two races - at Newbury in November and at Kelso on March 6th. The manner in which the horse strode to victory is most notable, as he coasted home by seven and a half lengths on his last outing. Prior to that, Cloth Cap won by ten lengths at Newbury and, if horse racing is about form and momentum, O’Neill’s mount is certainly in pole position.