Grand National Ante Post Tips: Milan Native the value play

Grand National 2021 Tips: Former Kim Muir winner Milan Native looks a potential player at Aintree.
Grand National 2021 Tips: Former Kim Muir winner Milan Native looks a potential player at Aintree.

Steve Chambers takes a look at the 2021 Grand National at Aintree, and picks out his ante-post tips for the Merseyside marathon on April 10...

It may be four months away, but the Grand National is already being talked about in the aftermath of the Becher Chase and Grand Sefton at Aintree last weekend, and it's that time of the year where punters start adding to their Grand National ante-post portfolio, and with that in mind, we've pick out our best bets for the Liverpool showpiece here.

There's only one place to start and that's with dual winner Tiger Roll, whose quest for a hat-trick of Grand National wins suffered a hammer blow after the Coronavirus pandemic forced the 2020 renewal to be abandoned. Gordon Elliott's charge is all set for another tilt at the event in 2021, as he looks to emulate the mighty Red Rum by winning the April highlight three times, but after two disappointing runs this season at Navan and Cheltenham a cloud hangs over the ten-year-old as to whether he still possesses his ability.

Having not tasted success since the 2019 Grand National, Tiger Roll finished runner-up in the 2020 Cross Country Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, where he was beaten by Easysland. Making his comeback at Navan in October, Tiger Roll was a mediocre sixth in the Boyne Hurdle, while he was pulled up in a Cross Country affair at Cheltenham in November, which forced connections to touch on potential retirement, if he continues to disappoint.

However, when it comes to the National fences, Tiger Roll comes to light, and that is why he is the 20/1 ante-post favourite for the 2021 Grand National, and if he can recapture his best form at Aintree then there's no doubting he's a major player. He will have the burden of a much higher rating in the 2021 renewal, so will have his toughest assignment to date. Having failed to fire on his two starts this season, it's hard to take a positive view on Tiger Roll at the moment from an ante-post perspective, and while the current 20/1 could be superb value, should he line up in April, at this stage with the jury out on his potential career then he's worth ignoring at the moment.

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Tiger Roll may be spearheading the 2021 Grand National betting at the time of writing, but behind the Irish superstar there's a whole plethora of class acts looking to prise the crown away from the Cullentra House phenomenon, and fellow Irish raiders Presenting Percy and Burrows Saint are a brace worthy of a notable mention. The former, who is a 25/1 chance, has been in fine form this season, as having run a decent race in the Grade 1 Ladbrokes Champion Chase at Down Royal, he then went on to cruise to an impressive six and a quarter length win at Thurles, which saw him propel into the Cheltenham Gold Cup picture. A best-priced 16/1 shot for the Gold Cup, Presenting Percy's end of season target could be the Cheltenham Festival feature, so a Grand National tilt could be on hold for the foreseeable future. If he was to line up in the National then he has to be respected, but from an ante-post perspective it's only worth backing him in a Non Runner No Bet scenario, which won't come into fruition for a couple of months with most firms.

Grand National Tips

On the contrary, Burrows Saint was a real fancied contender for the 2020 Grand National, and the Willie Mullins-trained raider will be destined for a trip to Aintree in April, and he is also around a 20/1 chance. A hugely impressive winner of the 2019 Irish Grand National, Burrows Saint made his comeback over hurdles a few days ago, where he finished second at Clonmel, but he is sure to improve for a switch back to fences, and the Mullins team could well try to protect his chasing mark in the coming months, so he heads to Aintree off a potentially attractive mark. With stamina assured, Burrows Saint will be one of the exciting young guns in the 2021 renewal, and lining up as an eight-year-old the Closutton raider could be primed for a major run and could be the attractive betting proposition at the head of the market.

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A lot of racing will take place between now and the Grand National, and a host of connections will hold dreams of tasting Aintree glory in mid-April, and scanning through the latest ante-post betting there are a host of horses that could shape into potential players. However, some of those may not reach the heights required to first sneak into the handicap or alternatively may swerve the National route in favour of another test. 

Ted Walsh trained Papillon to victory in the 2000 Grand National and the enigmatic handler could saddle 2019 Kim Muir hero Any Second Now, who like Burrows Saint has been competing over hurdles this season, but has some really smart form over fences. The Kim Muir has often thrown up some vital pointers for the National with Ballabriggs doing the Kim Muir/Grand National double in the 2004/05 campaign, and as well as former winner Any Second Now, the current Kim Muir champion Milan Native looks another that could shape into a genuine National hope.

Grand National Racecard

Around the 50/1 mark, at the time of writing, Milan Native will need to improve as the season progresses, but he kicked off the new campaign with a narrow victory over Discorama at Galway at the start of October. Well beaten by the classy Minella Indo on his second start this season in Grade 3 company Milan Native was then down the field in a hugely competitive Fairyhouse contest in soft going. Rated around 150, Milan Native will be touch and go whether he can sneak into the 40-strong field that contest the Grand National, but if he can slip in at the bottom of the weights then he could add significant depth to the Gordon Elliott team, and he could be a really speculative bet at huge odds.

Others that catch the eye in the current ante-post betting include runaway Ladbrokes Trophy winner Cloth Cap, who was a sensational winner of the Newbury showpiece, but will take a huge hike in the weights for that dominant victory, and at 25/1 is awfully short, while recent Many Clouds Chase winner Lake View Lad (33/1) and 2019 Welsh Grand National winner Potters Corner (33/1) are two that would relish the marathon test and make some appeal.

Saturday's Becher Chase hero Vieux Lion Rouge has become a reliable figure over the Aintree National fences, but David Pipe's charge has often struggled to play a prominent role in the Grand National (7th in 2016, 6th in 2017, 9th in 2018, 15th in 2019), so can be ignored, while Kimberlite Candy put up a bold effort in defeat at the weekend and is another to take from the race. However, the stand out contender from that race is Le Breuil, who travelled well for a long way in the Becher Chase before a mistake in the closing stages at the Canal Turn, which halted his charge. The former National Hunt Chase hero has stamina in abundance and should benefit for the experience, and at 40/1 could be worth putting on an ante-post shortlist.

Finally, Richard Hobson's Lord Du Mesnil had his first crack at the Aintree fences in Saturday's Grand Sefton Handicap Chase, but the former winner of the Tommy Whittle failed to fire on all cylinders when finishing ninth, so it's interesting whether the Hobson team target the National, but at 66/1 he could be worth a speculative each-way flutter, as he is a talented performer on his day and can't be completely written off.

Selection:

2021 Grand National, Aintree, Saturday 10th April - back Milan Native (each way) at 50/1

2021 Grand National, Aintree, Saturday 10th April - back Le Breuil (each way) at 40/1

2021 Grand National, Aintree, Saturday 10th April - back Lord Du Mesnil (each way) at 66/1

2021 Grand National
Milan Native silk

Milan Native (EW)

Pulled Up
2021 Grand National
Le Breuil silk

Le Breuil (EW)

2021 Grand National
Lord Du Mesnil silk

Lord Du Mesnil (EW)

Pulled Up
Grand National Odds
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