There are plenty of reasons why people love backing certain runners in the Grand National. Sometimes it’s because of a name, other times it’s the jockey on board but for a lot of fans, it’s because the runner is a grey horse.
Racing fans absolutely love them. And while grey winners are few and far between, there is a good reason for that. So few get entered, with even less making the starting tape, that statistically, it is very difficult to notch up the wins.
Neptune Collonges from trainer Paul Nicholls was the last grey runner to win the Grand National in 2012. That made him only the third grey to win in the history of the race.
That said, any horse can win the Grand National and its colour is irrelevant!
Below are the Grey runners entered into the 2021 Grand National. Can any of them tear up the history books and become the winner on April 10th 2021?
Bristol De Mai
This is Bristol De Mai‘s fourth consecutive Grand National entry. In 2018, he was withdrawn with connections opting to run him in the Aintree Bowl instead.
— Simon Munir (@simon_munir) February 25, 2021
Likewise in 2019 when he was given top weight but ran in the Bowl Chase instead. He was entered in 2020 but that race was cancelled so here we are again in 2021.
Trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies, he is now 10-years-old and having skipped the Gold Cup, he may actually run this time. But he will carry top weight which is a big ask for any horse.
Lake View Lad
Unlike Bristol De Mai, Lake View Lad has actually run in the Grand National before. He took to the fences in 2019 but was ultimately pulled-up by jockey Henry Brooke.
Looking forward to our 2 runners @KelsoRacecourse tomorrow, Lake View Lad (below) in the 2.40 and Upandatit 4.25, a fantastic card and 4 races to enjoy on @itvracing – read about our runners at https://t.co/JhwaoNfG1k pic.twitter.com/11hLGx2iPb
— Nick Alexander (@kinneston) March 5, 2021
There were a couple of reasons for this. He was hampered by a faller four fences out and the trainer’s rep said he wasn’t was unsuited to the ground which was good to soft, soft in places.
Lake View Lad prefers a softer surface so keep an eye on the Going before making any decision to back him.
Tout Est Permis
From trainer Noel Meade comes Tout Est Permis. Owned by Giginstown House Stud, he has done a lot of racing this season with seven starts over a mixture of fences and hurdles.
Similar to Lake View Lad, he performs better on softer ground and ran in the Irish Grand National in 2019, finishing in 8th place.
He is nearly always there or thereabouts but hasn’t won a race in over two years. I’m not sure if the Grand National 2021 will break his duck.
The second of the grey runners from Gigginstown House Stud is Farclas, trained by Denise Foster. Last seen finishing second at Cheltenham in the Paddy Power Plate, he is definitely a handy little chaser.
The only problems are that he is only 7-years-old and the furthest he has ever run is three miles. With that in mind, he has also been entered into the Topham Chase which is also run over the Grand National fences.
Unfortunately, Some Neck didn’t make the cut in 2021, missing out as the 1st reserve.
He was definitely in with a shout and already had two cross country runs at Cheltenham this season, winning in December and finishing third at the Festival in March.
Some Neck wins the Glenfarclas Cross Country Handicap Chase giving Ben Harvey his first win at Cheltenham on his first ride at the track! 😱 pic.twitter.com/aGlDK89jOG
— Racing Post (@RacingPost) December 11, 2020
If he is entered in 2022, he could do very well.
Fagan started off at number 71 when the weights were revealed. The BHA Handicapper did say at the time that horses numbered up to 70 had an excellent chance of making the cut, which bodes well for his chances.
He ran in the Scottish National in 2018 but pulled-up with no explanation for his poor performance. However, he was then sidelined until he switched trainers in February 2020 and is now in the care of Alex Hales.
Since then he has five runs, including a trip in the Coral Cup at Cheltenham last season. His form has improved recently with a win at Newbury in January. However, this race looks like it will be a huge challenge and there are others with a much better chance.
His cause isn’t helped by so few withdrawals this year and barring a miracle he won’t make the cut.
Entered last year, Flying Angel wouldn’t have made the cut and it looks like history is about to repeat itself.
Starting off at number 84, he is highly unlikely to make it to the starting tape.
So there you have it. Seven potential grey runners entered into the 2021 Grand National. Realistically, only four are absolutely guaranteed their spot with two more playing the waiting game. Though they have an excellent chance of also making the cut.
Hopefully, if you’re a fan of grey runners, one of them will take your fancy. Just remember that anything can happen between now and race day so some may get scratched and not run at all.