Free tips Weekly Horse Racing Blog: Grand National Fancies / Richard Johnson Retires / Aidan MacDonald

grand national blog tips 2021

Snow Joke

Officials at Aintree are expecting a real mixed bag of weather this week with frost, hail and even snow forecast before the “behind closed doors” Grand National meeting that starts on Thursday 8th April.

Asked what she thought the going conditions would be at Aintree come Thursday, new Clerk Of The Course, Sulekha Varma said: “I think we’ll be good to soft, good in places on the National course and good, good to soft in places on the Mildmay.”

In what will be a massive financial hit to the Levy, and ultimately the future of horse racing, punters in much reduced numbers are managing to find alternative ways to bet online on the Grand National due to the country’s betting shops being closed.

Betting shops will be able to reopen from April 12th under the Government’s plans to ease the nation out of lockdown, but sadly it will come 48 hours too late for horse racing’s much depleted coffers. Only time will tell if racecourses will survive these financial hits.


Grand National 2021 – which horses are proving popular?

So if your granny would like to have her traditional annual flutter this year, you do know that you’re the one who’ll be responsible for placing it online on her behalf don’t you?

Who should she go for?

Well, the following horses are proving popular for whole variety of reasons:

Cloth Cap (4/1 fav with bet365*) – poised to go off one of the shortest-price favourites in the history of the race, he’s officially a stone well in at the weights but his jockey is 0/18 in the race which has to be a worry.

Burrows Saint (9/1 with Unibet) – has been shortened into second favourite after sustained support. After a dominant display at the Cheltenham Festival, the Irish entries are seeing plenty of money.

Minella Times (12/1 with bet365*) – will be the mount of the in-form Rachael Blackmore and after becoming the first female to be the top jockey at The Festival, who is to say that her history-making has stopped yet?


My Personal Fancies

Discorama (18/1 with bet365*) was a previous antepost pick of mine and I see no reason to dessert Paul Nolan’s charge this time around. He’ll be running on late in the piece.

The Storyteller (20/1 with bet365*) has been on my radar since winning at Galway in July 2020 and back in October I was even more impressed with him –

Bring it home Gordy!…erm, I mean Denise.


Richard Johnson Retires

The recent retirees of A.P McCoy, Ruby Walsh and Barry Geraghty were joined on Saturday evening by the last one standing from that race riding era – Richard Johnson.

The second-most successful jump jockey of all time made his surprise announcement after partnering six losers at Newton Abbot, on a pretty nondescript card, and on the eve of the Grand National – a race that sadly eluded him over his 28 seasons in the saddle.

  • 43-year-old Johnson enjoyed more than 3,800 victories in his career and won the jockeys’ championship four times.
  • He agonisingly finished runner-up in the championship 16 times to McCoy during that time.
  • Johnson won the Cheltenham Gold Cup aboard Looks Like Trouble in the year 2000, before winning it again 18 years later on Native River.
  • Despite having despite 21 rides in the Grand National – a record for a jockey, Johnson’s best attempts were two second-placed finishes on What’s Up Boys (2002) and Balthazar King (2014).
  • In 2019, Richard Johnson received an OBE for his services to horse racing.

I’m sure we’ll see him around in some sort of capacity in the forthcoming years. Thanks for the fond horse racing memories Dickie!


Positive Progress

Conditional jockey Aidan MacDonald is said to be making “positive progress” after being critically ill in hospital last Thursday.

MacDonald had a crashing fall from the Micky Hammond-trained Russian Royale at Hexham on March 18 and was discharged from hospital on the same day, but this week he was readmitted after being taken ill on Wednesday.

MacDonald was said to be very poorly and receiving treatment for a carotid artery dissection on Thursday, but on Friday Micky Hammond reported some much more upbeat news on his condition.

Hammond said: “Update on Aidan MacDonald – the bleed has now been cleared. He is speaking in sentences and can feel and move his fingers. A long road ahead but what a warrior, we still ask for privacy for his family at this difficult time. But what positive news.”

From all of us here at Betfinder, we wish young Aidan a speedy recovery.


* Betting odds quoted were correct at the time of writing. All odds are subject to change.


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