Grand National betting: 4 alternative tips for 2021 Aintree race

Frank Hickey has picked some shrewd plays in the alternative Grand National markets


*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widget, while in-copy odds are accurate at the time of publication but subject to change

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Picking the winner of an extremely competitive 40-runner handicap chase over more than 4m can prove extremely difficult, so here I am going to focus on some other markets to attempt to find some winning bets for the big race.

To finish in the Top 10 – Takingrisks

TAKINGRISKS is now a 12-year-old, who has had 21 chase starts and has had two falls in that time. That is as many falls as you would like but that last of those falls came in 2018 and he has managed to get round safely in his 13 subsequent chase starts

In his last five chase starts, he has managed to win a Scottish National (two years ago), the Rehearsal Chase and the Sky Bet Chase at Doncaster. He is regularly over-looked in the market and while it isn’t going to be easy for a 12-year-old to win this race, as the trend has been beginning to favour the younger more unexposed types, you would feel that there is a good chance that Takingrisks will manage to negotiate the fences and get himself round.

With his guaranteed stamina, he looks sure to be running on when others have cried enough. That probably won’t be enough for him to win the race but, provided he gets round, I think he is very likely the finish top 10. That makes the 2/1 in that market quite appealing.

To finish in the Top 10 – Class Conti

CLASS CONTI has only had the nine starts since joining Willie Mullins from France and while he doesn’t have the most consistent profile, when he is on his game he can run to a very useful level. His better runs include finishing third and second in the last two renewals of the Thyestes Chase, which is always a thorough test of stamina, and he has also finished fourth in a Leinster National.

Drying ground would be a little bit of a concern, as the majority of his form is on a testing surface. That said, I thought it was interesting that Ruby Walsh was making a decent case for Class Conti being a fair price and while I think actually winning the race is probably beyond him, he is interesting in the Top 10 market.

He strikes me as the type of horse that will either fail to complete or run a screamer and hit the first 8 or so – for that reason I will sidestep playing him in the ‘To Complete’ market but I do think that the ‘To finish Top 10’ is interesting, as he has already shown in the Thyestes that a stamina test suits.

For that reason, I think that he holds solid claims of making the top 10 if he manages to negotiate his way round.

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To Complete – Sub Lieutenant

SUB LIEUTENANT is an unconsidered 100/1 shot for the race itself and now that he is 12, it probably is too much to expect him to win or go close in such a competitive race. That said, connections have been talking up his chances in recent days and he has run well on both starts since joining the Georgie Howell stable from Henry De Bromhead, finishing fourth in two competitive handicaps at Ascot.

In 34 career starts over fences, he has never fallen, which is very interesting considering the test that the National fences ask of the horses. In his pomp Sub Lieutenant was good enough to place in Grade 1 chases such as the Melling Chase and Ryanair and his only previous attempt over the National fences resulted in an excellent second to Cadmium in the 2019 Topham Chase off a mark of 155, where he jumped quite well.

Tabitha Worsley lacks a bit of experience around the National fences but if she can manage to negotiate her way through the first five or six fences, I think there is every chance that Sub Lieutenant can give her a great spin and 2/1 appears to be decent value on him completing the course.

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Specials Markets – An Irish Trained 1-2

Cloth Cap may be a strong favourite this season but I think that he is short enough in the market and I wouldn’t be a believer in his revised handicap rating of 162 being accurate. I think that he will ease in the market the closer we get to race time and with Irish horses dominating the market in behind him, I think there is an excellent chance of the Irish dominance from Cheltenham spilling over into the big race of the week at Aintree.

Burrows Saint, Minella Times and Any Second Now all hold obvious claims, while the likes of Magic Of Light, Discorama, Farclas and Acapella Bourgeois offer decent back-up. If my theory on Cloth Cap proves to be accurate, I think there is an extremely strong case to be made for the Irish supplying the first two home and the price looks fair enough to me.

*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widget, while in-copy odds are accurate at the time of publication but subject to change

Frank Hickey’s alternative Grand National bets – Saturday, April 10

To finish in the Top 10 market – Takingrisks
To finish in the Top 10 market – Class Conti
To Complete – Sub Lieutenant
Specials Markets – An Irish Trained 1-2

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