Around £250 million was placed in bets on the 2019 Grand National, and this Saturday’s Grand National, which will be shown live on ITV at 5.15pm, looks set to be equally popular.
Cloth Cap, they say, ‘should win it’. Trained by Jonjo O’Neill, he has a stone in hand carrying 10st 5 – which is one of the reasons why he’ll be ridden by Tom Scudamore, who picked up the ride in the Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury due to being able to make the 10 stone weight. He won easily. The pair went on to romp up at Kelso as well; but what would make this a nice tale is that both the jockey and the horse have Grand National heritage behind them. Scudamore’s grandfather Michael rode in the race 16 times, winning in 1959 on Oxo. The horse is owned by another Aintree aficionado Trevor Hemmings, whose famous green, yellow and white colours have previously won the National with Hedgehunter, Ballabriggs and Many Clouds.
The betting currently has him as the favourite, with Kimberlite Candy also proving popular with the tipsters. But with 40 horses due to jump off at the start, how often does the favourite actually win the Grand National? According to the stats (analysed by bookmakers BetVictor) a favourite or joint-favourite has won the National just eight times; since 1968 the favourite accounts for just 16 per cent of winners.
Of those, four have been in the 21st century – Hedgehunter (2005), Comply or Die (2008), Don’t Push It (2010), and 2019’s winner himself; Tiger Roll – who disappointed his fans in the Betway Bowl Chase at Aintree on Thursday, after making a surprising comeback in the Glenfarclas Cross Country race at Cheltenham in March.
Fourth here in 2018 and fifth in 2019, Anibale Fly knows the course well – as do a number of others who were here for the 2019 Grand National.