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Festival favourite Rachael Blackmore writes a Grand National fairytale

After a fraught few months of negative publicity, racing desperately needed Blackmore’s historic victory at AintreeNot since Lady Godiva rode naked through the streets of Coventry in the 13th century has any woman on horseback caused quite such a public stir. Her modesty covered by the green and gold silks of JP McManus, Rachael Blackmore wrote arguably the most colourful chapter yet in the storied 182-year history of the Grand National. The daughter of a farmer and schoolteacher from Tipperary with no background in racing, she became the first woman to win the world’s most iconic horse race at Aintree on Minella Times. While the horse and its trainer, Henry de Bromhead, also deserve every credit, their place as historical...

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Talking Horses: Any Second Now can win second Grand National for Walsh

Trainer who won with Papillon in 2000 has runner who looks set to improve for marathon trip in Aintree spectacularBetting odds are mischievous beasts at the best of times, and never more so than when 40 runners go to post for the Grand National, Britain’s annual flutter on the gee-gees. For weeks, the prices have been shouting that Jonjo O’Neill’s Cloth Cap is the horse most likely to win on Saturday evening. And whispering too that in the final reckoning, the chances are he probably won’t.Overnight odds of around 5-1, in fact, suggest there is an 80-85% chance that one of the other 39 runners will beat him, but there are so many positives attached to Cloth Cap’s profile that...

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Talking Horses: Senior Citizen can triumph over Grand National fences

The lightly raced Topham Chase selection ran well over the unique Aintree obstacles earlier this season There are so few races over the Grand National fences that it feels almost obligatory to have an interest when the opportunity arises, and a typically competitive Topham Handicap Chase at Aintree on Friday afternoon is no exception.Livelovelaugh looked like an obvious candidate for this – well, last year’s Topham, to be precise, when he skipped around the fences in the Grand National two years ago before his stamina ran dry from three out. Related: Sir Alex Ferguson grabs another famous treble at Grand National meeting Aintree 1.45 Monte Cristo 2.20 Third Time Lucki (nap) 2.50 Espoir De Romay 3.25 Fakir D’Oudairies 4.05 Senior Citizen...

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Grand National 2021: horse-by-horse guide to all the runners

Hot favourite Cloth Cap heads the betting for the world’s most famous race at Aintree on SaturdayThe bold-jumping grey is a magnificent sight when he gets into a rhythm and is the best horse in the race on form, including Grade One wins in 2017, 2018 and 2020. This being a handicap, though, that also means he carries top weight and though hardly over the hill at 10, there should be one or two at the other end of the handicap to beat him for speed on the run-in, especially on ground that is quicker than he prefers. Related: Talking Horses: Tiger Roll is back at Aintree, but not in the right race Related: Grand National’s enduring charm embodied by...

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Talking Horses: Tiger Roll is back at Aintree, but not in the right race

The dual Grand National winner lines up over traditional fences on Thursday and misses his chance for Aintree immortalityTiger Roll, one of Aintree’s – and racing’s – favourite sons, returns to Liverpool on Thursday for what may well be the final time in a truly extraordinary career. From one angle, he is 363 days too late, from another he has turned up two days early – and by 3pm it could be both.There is an alternative reality in which Tiger Roll is 48 hours away from a possible date with destiny, and the tilt at a record-equalling third Grand National win which his illustrious record deserves. Michael O’Leary, his owner, thought long and hard about the weight his remarkable little...

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