With the Cheltenham Festival in the books for another year, attention shifts onwards towards Aintree and their Grand National Festival in less than three weeks' time.

The famous Merseyside venue was forced to abandon the great race in 2020 amid the early stages of the pandemic and, while there won't be any crowds at the Grand National this year, the equine superstars will be back at Aintree.

2021 Grand National Betting Odds

With the 2018/2019 winner Tiger Roll not turning up to defend his crown a year later than anticipated, the stage is clear for a new Aintree hero to emerge.

The market strongly believes that Ladbrokes Trophy winner Cloth Cap will do just that and he's as short as 5/1 favourite to score for trainer Jonjo O'Neill and owner Trevor Hemmings - whose colours have famously been carried to glory by the likes of Hedgehunter, Ballabriggs and Many Clouds in this great race. He easily won at Kelso after the weights for this race were announced and looks suitably 'well-in' on official ratings as a result.

Similar sentiments go for Any Second Now, the leading Irish challenger in the betting at around odds of 12/1. Ted Walsh's charge has long been touted for this race and he was a Grade 2 winner over two miles in Ireland in early March, suggesting he's very much coming to Aintree in the form of his life.

Former Irish Grand National winner Burrows Saint is set to lead Willie Mullins' assault on the Grand National this year and is available at 14/1 while Welsh National hero Secret Reprieve is close behind him in the betting for Evan Williams.

Magic Of Light was second two years ago when the race was last run and Jessica Harrington's mare is back for more at odds of 20/1.

When Is The Grand National?

The Grand National at Aintree takes place on Saturday April 10th with the off-time of 17:15 and a prize of £375,000 on offer the winner of the 4m2f handicap - the world's most recognisable steeplechase.

Grand National Weights

The weights are headed by Bristol De Mai, a multiple Grade 1 winner for Nigel Twiston-Davies. The grey didn't appear at the Cheltenham Festival but his trainer has not yet confirmed he will run here. He will carry 11st 10lb if he does. Joint top-weight was given to Easysland and Santini. 

The French ace did run at Cheltenham and is unlikely to come to Aintree. Nicky Henderson - who has never won this great race - has previously stated Santini was unlikely to target the Grand National until next year but, given his Gold Cup effort was short-lived, will the Seven Barrows trainer be tempted now to allow the stars to align? 

Cloth Cap is due to carry a very manageable 10st 5lb in those iconic Hemmings silks, while Any Second Now will have 10st 9lb as Ted Walsh looks to train a second winner of this race. 

Other notables include Magic Of Light (10st 13lb), Kimberlite Candy (10st 10lb), Beware The Bear (10st 10lb), The Conditional (10st 6lb), Vieux Lion Rouge (10st 5lb) and Secret Reprieve (10st 1lb).

2021 Grand National Prediction

Any Second Now to win and each-way - BET NOW

Cloth Cap looks to have been beautifully laid out for this race by Jonjo O'Neill and his recent Kelso win suggest a horse that still has something in hand over the official handicapper. He could be a real threat to all but it will be quite something should he follow Tiger Roll in justifying a very short price to win this race.

Any Second Now might be marginally preferred of the market-leading duo. Ted Walsh's charge has long looked capable of winning a race like this and his Grade 2 score at Navan recently was ultra-impressive.

Anibale Fly to win and each-way - BET NOW

At a bigger price in the same JP McManus hoops, Tony Martin's Anibale Fly is worth a look. He ran fourth and fifth in the Grand Nationals won by Tiger Roll here and should strip much fitter than he did at Fairyhouse in the Bobbyjo Chase in late February. That was his first run in a year and he understandably tired late in the race. He's set to carry 10st 12lb in the race and is a down around 40/1 in the betting.

2021 Grand National Ante Post Tips

1. Any Second Now to win and each-way - BET NOW

2. Anibale Fly to win and each-way - BET NOW

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