Grand National 2021.
It doesn't need an introduction. Simply make sure you are ready for the off.
10th April, Aintree, Liverpool, England. Unlike so many years, the most famous steeplechase in the world is unlikely to be witnessed by a 20-deep bustling crowd. The Coronavirus pandemic has taken its toll in many ways and saw last year's Grand National cancelled at the last hour. To put it into perspective, the only other times this race has not taken place has been in times of war.
However, with any luck at all, this year's Grand National will be on the cards.
You can bet every men, women and children will be chomping at the bit.
Of all horse races, this historic contest, which dates back to 1839, will be an opportunity to cheer and get back to some kind of normality. I for one will be looking at the 2021 Grand National runners list for all the entrants, trainers and jockey's booked to ride.
The 2021 Grand National is particularly interesting regarding the possible running of Tiger Roll who won in 2018 and 2019. If taking part in this contest, he could equal the three wins of the legendary Red Rum who made his name in the 1970s. In fact, this race is synonymous with the this magnificent gelding who was trained by Ginger McCain and ridden by Brian Fletcher and Tommy Stack for his victory in 1977. In the ownership of Noel Le Mare, this exceptional horse raced over 100 times and never fell.
Tiger Roll is most likely to start favourite for the Grand National but there have been some question marks about his participation after he was pulled-up when making his return to racing at Cheltenham last year. It could well be the case that the pandemic stole this eleven-year-olds chance when the race was cancelled last April.
If the betting is any guide to the chances of 40 horses, it looks an open affair. However, it could be a strong field with the likes of Tiger Roll, Burrow's Saint (who won the 2019 Irish Grand National), Any Second Now (winner of the Kim Muir Chase at the 2019 Cheltenham Festival) among others.
Gold Cup runner-up in 2020, Santini, trained by Nicky Henderson, and certainly one of the classiest horses if making the line-up. This could be Henderson's first win of the Grand National.
Whether you enjoy a bet or watch for fun, I think we can all agree that the Grand National will be a day to remember. If Tiger Roll manages to equal the successes of Red Rum it will be a victory of not just a race but a virus that's affected the world as we know it.
I'm looking forward to this race even more than ever.
Good luck to all who compete.