Timeform bring you their comprehensive runner-by-runner guide to the Randox Grand National Handicap Chase at Aintree on Saturday and pick out their 1-2-3.
"He's hard to get away from and with luck should win..."
Timeform on Cloth Cap
Grand National Handicap Chase
17:15 Aintree, Saturday
Live on ITV
1. Bristol de Mai (Nigel Twiston-Davies/Daryl Jacob)
Won his third Betfair Chase at Haydock in November and not discredited when nine and a half lengths second to Native River in the Cotswold Chase at Sandown last time. Yet to be tested over this sort of trip, but it could suit and likely to be towards the head of affairs for a long way.
2. Chris's Dream (Henry de Bromhead, Ireland/Darragh O'Keeffe)
Winner of the Troytown Handicap Chase at Navan and Red Mills Chase at Gowran last season. Another good run fresh when a neck second to The Storyteller in the Champion Chase at Down Royal but recent efforts have been less encouraging and he is not proven beyond 3m either.
3. Yala Enki (Paul Nicholls/Bryony Frost)
Has an honest record in staying chases and finished third for the third year running in the Welsh Grand National at Chepstow won by Secret Reprieve. Also won the Portman Cup Chase at Taunton in January for the second year running but was well held in the Cotswold Chase at Sandown last time.
4. Ballyoptic (Nigel Twiston-Davies/Sam Twiston-Davies)
Did well last season, winning three times, including the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby and a listed handicap at Ascot. Struggling for form this term, however, including back over hurdles. Showed up well for a long way before falling four out in the 2019 Grand National.
5. Definitly Red (Brian Ellison/Henry Brooke)
High-class chaser in his prime and a leading fancy for the 2017 Grand National when his saddle slipped and he had to pull up. Looked to be peaking for another crack at the race when winning the Premier Chase at Kelso last year but only fourth to Cloth Cap in the same contest last time.
6. Lake View Lad (Nick Alexander/Brian Hughes)
In good form prior to the 2019 Grand National but never got involved after a slow start. Won an unsatisfactory Many Clouds Chase here in December from Santini but hasn't beaten a rival since in the Cotswold Chase at Sandown and the Premier Chase at Kelso.
7. Burrows Saint (Willie Mullins, Ireland/Mr Patrick Mullins)
Put up a career-best effort to win the 2019 Irish Grand National when still a novice. Only success since came in a minor hurdle at Punchestown last season but back on track when second to Acapella Bourgeois in the Bobbyjo Chase at Fairyhouse last time. Very best form under less testing conditions.
8. Magic of Light (Jessica Harrington, Ireland/Robbie Power)
Took really well to the course when chasing home Tiger Roll at 66/1 in the 2019 Grand National. Faced an inadequate test at Cheltenham last time but won a listed mares' chase at Newbury for the third year running earlier in the season.
9. Acapella Bourgeois (Willie Mullins, Ireland/Danny Mullins)
Runner-up to stablemate Al Boum Photo in the New Year's Day Chase at Tramore for the last two years. Has also won the Bobbyjo Chase at Fairyhouse for the last two seasons, giving weight to Burrows Saint when beating him nearly five lengths last time.
10. Talkischeap (Alan King/Tom Cannon)
Lightly raced since his bet365 Gold Cup romp on good ground at Sandown two years ago, but that remains his only try at a marathon trip and he could be set for a big run if the fire still lingers.
11. Tout Est Permis (Noel Meade, Ireland/Sean Flanagan)
A while since the grey's last win and he's looked a fading force of late, falling at Down Royal three weeks ago. Not sure to stay (wilted in 2019 Irish National) and tricky to fancy.
12. Anibale Fly (Tony Martin, Ireland/Denis O'Regan)
Fourth and fifth under bigger weights in the last two Grand Nationals, both times after finishing placed in the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Ran his best race last season over hurdles but looked rusty after a year off when last in the Bobbyjo Chase last time.
13. Mister Malarky (Colin Tizzard/Jonjo O'Neill Jr.)
None too consistent but very smart on his day, as when winning the Silver Cup Handicap Chase at Ascot in December. Back to form after a wind op when third in a Grade 3 handicap at Kempton last time, a race he won in 2020. Capable of going well at long odds.
14. Kimberlite Candy (Tom Lacey/Richie McLernon)
Easy to back but finished second in the Becher Chase over these fences for the second year running in December, though was no match for wide-margin winner Vieux Lion Rouge. Also won the Classic Chase at Warwick last season. Raced mainly on soft or heavy ground.
15. Any Second Now (Ted Walsh, Ireland/Mark Walsh)
Tends to peak in the spring and was successful in the 2m Webster Cup Chase at Navan last month. Effective at much further, having won the 2019 Kim Muir at the Cheltenham Festival and gives the impression he'll stay further still. On a better mark than most and one to consider.
16. Balko des Flos (Henry de Bromhead, Ireland/Aidan Coleman)
Top-class chaser at one time but hasn't won since the 2018 Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham. Has struggled in good company this season and unseated in the Cross Country at Cheltenham last time. Stamina at much beyond 3m is unproven, too.
17. Alpha des Obeaux (Denise Foster, Ireland/Jody McGarvey)
Formerly very smart, on a long losing run, but did show a bit more spark in the Cross Country won by stablemate Tiger Roll last month and fared well on second go over these fences in the 2019 Becher.
18. Ok Corral (Nicky Henderson/Mr Derek O'Connor)
Ran much his best race last season when winning the Sky Bet Handicap Chase at Doncaster. Reportedly finished lame after jumping tentatively in rear when pulled up in the Ultima Handicap Chase at Cheltenham last month on his first run since.
19. Takingrisks (Nicky Richards/Sean Quinlan)
Veteran nowadays but seemingly better than ever when 40/1 winner of the Sky Bet Handicap Chase at Doncaster last time by a length and a quarter from Aye Right. Had Cloth Cap back in third when winning the 2019 Scottish Grand National but has more on his plate here.
20. Shattered Love (Denise Foster, Ireland/Kevin Sexton)
Smart mare who won a listed mares' chase at Clonmel in November for the second year running and ran well when third to Colreevy in the Mares' Chase at Cheltenham last time. Has won at 3m but most wins at shorter so stamina is a doubt.
21. Jett (Jessica Harrington, Ireland/Mr Sam Waley-Cohen)
Only success in the last two seasons came in a Grade 3 chase at Punchestown in autumn 2019. Ran well in better company last term but has been out of sorts this season. Jumped okay up with the pace for a long way when tried over these fences in the Becher Chase in December.
22. Lord du Mesnil (Richard Hobson/Nick Scholfield)
Stays very well, finishing second in the National Hunt Chase at last year's Cheltenham Festival, and went one better than the year before when making all in the Grand National Trial at Haydock last time. On a competitive mark but seems to need the mud.
23. Potters Corner (Christian Williams/Jack Tudor)
Thorough stayer, winner of the 2019 Midlands Grand National and last season's Welsh Grand National. Inadequate tests this term, over hurdles the last twice, and not badly handicapped for what has been his target all season. Rain would help his chance.
24. Class Conti (Willie Mullins, Ireland/Brian Hayes)
Back in form on his last two starts, finishing third to Coko Beach in the Thyestes Handicap Chase at Gowran (runner-up the year before) and fourth to Scoir Mear in the Leinster National at Naas. All his best efforts in Ireland on heavy ground.
25. Milan Native (Denise Foster, Ireland/Mr Jamie Codd)
Ended last season winning the Kim Muir at Cheltenham and beat Discorama a short head in a three-runner contest at Galway last October. Has struggled since, however, including after a breathing operation last time.
26. Discorama (Paul Nolan, Ireland/Bryan Cooper)
Yet to add to his sole win over fences which came on his chasing debut but has been placed twice since at the Cheltenham Festival when second to Le Breuil in the 2019 National Hunt Chase and third in last year's Ultima. Not seen since racing too freely at Cheltenham in November.
27. Vieux Lion Rouge (David Pipe/Conor O'Farrell)
Added to a fantastic record over these fences when winning the Becher Chase for the second time in December, beating Kimberlite Candy 24 lengths on heavy ground. Has also completed the last four Grand Nationals but hasn't finished closer than sixth (in 2017).
28. Cloth Cap (Jonjo O'Neill/Tom Scudamore)
Improved in cheekpieces when winning Ladbrokes Trophy Chase at Newbury in November under an attacking ride and better still when making all again to win the Premier Chase at Kelso last month. Pick of the weights, proven at 4m and should have ground to suit so has plenty in his favour.
29. Cabaret Queen (Willie Mullins, Ireland/Sean O'Keeffe)
Smart staying mare, successful in the 2019 Munster National and 2020 Kerry National. Not so good more recently though, shaping as if amiss at Cheltenham, and yard has far stronger contenders.
30. Minellacelebration (Katy Price/Ben Poste)
Fine record on the other course here, winning again in 25f veterans' handicap chase in October. No luck twice since but shaped okay behind Double Shuffle at Kempton in January. Has had a wind op.
31. Canelo (Alan King/Tom Bellamy)
Has improved in his second season over fences, winning a novices' handicap at Aintree and the Rowland Meyrick Handicap at Wetherby. Creditable third to Red Infantry in the Grimthorpe Handicap Chase at Doncaster last time. More needed again up in trip.
32. The Long Mile (Philip Dempsey, Ireland/Luke Dempsey)
Winner three times last season when a novice and improved again this year, winning a heavy-ground handicap at Limerick in December by 22 lengths. Showed he stays beyond 3m when third to Acapella Bourgeois and Burrows Saint in the Bobbyjo Chase at Fairyhouse last time.
33. Give Me A Copper (Paul Nicholls/Harry Cobden)
Lightly raced in recent seasons and has run his best races first time out, winning last season's Badger Beers Silver Trophy at Wincanton and finishing second at Doncaster on his return this term. Pulled up in the Sky Bet at Doncaster last time.
34. Farclas (Denise Foster, Ireland/Jack Kennedy)
Won his first three starts over fences early last season and has been running well in handicaps this term, doing well to finish three lengths second to The Shunter in the Plate at Cheltenham after a troubled run. Well handicapped but the trip is a concern.
35. Minella Times (Henry de Bromhead, Ireland/Rachael Blackmore)
Has progressed into a smart handicapper in his second season over fences, winning at Listowel before a good second in valuable events at Leopardstown won by Castlebawn West and Off You Go. Yet to race beyond 3m but has a positive profile for top connections.
36. Sub Lieutenant (Georgie Howell/Tabitha Worsley)
Fair efforts for new yard under Tabitha Worsley at Ascot last twice and took to the course well when a staying-on second in the 2019 Topham off 9 lb higher. 4m+ an unknown but far worse 100/1 shots.
37. Hogan's Height (Jamie Snowden/Gavin Sheehan)
Put up easily his best effort in the last two seasons when winning the 2019 Grand Sefton Handicap Chase, jumping well on his first start over these fences and quickening 16 lengths clear on run-in. No encouragement in either run this term, however.
38. Double Shuffle (Tom George/Jonathan Burke)
Goes well at Kempton and ended a long losing run there in January before having excuses at the same course last time. Failed to stay in the 2017 Grand National and didn't really take to the fences back here in the 2019 Topham so hard to fancy.
39. Ami Desbois (Graeme McPherson/Kielan Woods)
Over three years since his last victories over fences in novices but has resumed with a couple of good efforts in 3m handicaps and genuine sort who could reward each-way backers at huge odds.
40. Blaklion (Dan Skelton/Harry Skelton)
Favourite when fourth in 2017 and dotted up in the Becher eight months later. All downhill since though (big-money buy in February 2019), albeit showing a bit more at Newcastle last month.
41. Some Neck (John McConnell, Ireland/Reserve)
Had something of a mixed record for Willie Mullins. Best efforts for new stable this term over Cheltenham's cross-country course, narrowly winning a handicap there in December and a plugging-on third to Tiger Roll at the Festival. Others make more appeal even if getting a run.
42. Secret Reprieve (Evan Williams/Reserve)
Seven-year-old who has had only five completed starts over fences but has won the last two, both handicaps at Chepstow, notably the Welsh Grand National last time by three lengths from The Two Amigos, seeing out the longer trip strongly. Unexposed but age/lack of experience could count against him if getting a run.
43. Kauto Riko (Tom Gretton/Reserve)
Winless since 2018 but is very useful on his day and returned after a wind op with good fourth at Cheltenham in November, that his only run this season. Declared for the Topham on Friday.
44. Fagan (Alex Hales/Reserve)
Clearly retains all of his ability and resumed winning ways in emphatic fashion at Newbury five weeks ago. Bombed out when fancied in the Scottish National in 2018. Looks unlikely to get a run.
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Timeform Analyst's Verdict:
Often it pays to keep things simple and in CLOTH CAP we have a solid favourite who is progressive, stays, is a stone well-in, and represents an owner with a fantastic record in the race. He's hard to get away from and with luck should win. The last 2 Nationals have seen an Irish 1-2-3 and another formidable challenge is headed up by Burrows Saint, Farclas and Any Second Now.
1. Cloth Cap
2. Burrows Saint
Back Cloth Cap @6.25/1 to win the Grand National