April 9 Racing Tips: Any Second Now to conquer the Grand National at Aintree

Our tipster, Luke Elder, returns with his selections for the Grand National on Saturday April 10.

Need a helping hand finding the winner of the National? Well look no further, as Planet Sport is here to guide you in the right direction.

5.15 Aintree - Any Second Now

Elder says: "Well, thanks to the last year that we've had, it's been a while since we've said this, but the Grand National is upon us.

"Not the virtual one - won by Potters Corner 12 months ago - but a real Grand National.

"40 runners going to post, an exciting contest, and one that should really live up to the hype.

"I don't think there's that much strength in depth in this year's contest, we'll say that first of all. I'm not sure there'll be a shock in this year's National.

"We'll focus on the horses more towards the head of the market. The likely favourite is going to be Cloth Cap. He was very impressive at Newbury a couple of starts ago in the Ladbrokes Trophy.

"He was under a change of tactics on that occasion - went from the front, jumped superbly [and] didn't see another rival for Jonjo O'Neill and Tom Scudamore.

"[He] followed that up with a good success at Kelso in a smaller field last time around. He bullied them on that occasion, [and] he'll look to do the same in this year's National, but keep in mind Cloth Cap is off a mark 14lbs lower than he should be running off.

"He runs off 148, rather than 162, as that Kelso run was just after the weights were announced, so Cloth Cap [is] very much the one to beat in the colours of Trevor Hemmings, an owner who has won this race in years gone by with Bally Briggs and also Hedgehunter.

"And it's Hedgehunter's trainer, Willie Mullins, who is represented by Burrows Saint in this race. He'll be one of the main dangers - he has been steadily backed leading up to this contest, and did manage to win the Irish National a couple of years ago, when just at the age of six.

"So we know he's got plenty of ability, stamina is going to be no sort of issue, and the ground will be no sort of worry whatsoever, I think Burrows Saint could go pretty close in this year's contest.

"I do also think we have to throw into the mix Minella Times as well. He's been running over shorter back over in Ireland, but he jumps superbly - that will be no sort of issue - and again the ground is going to be absolutely spot on for Minella Times.

"But, I do prefer another one in the green and gold, that is Any Second Now. A horse who ran over two miles last time around in the Webster Cup. He managed to win on that occasion, [and] he was pretty well fancied for last year's race before of course it was abandoned thanks to Covid.

"But Any Second Now, I think is going to be there, there abouts. Ted Walsh - he would generally run his Grand National hopes over two miles, the likes of Papillon, Seabass as well also thrown into the mix.

"I don't think that's any sort of negative for Any Second Now, he's already a Cheltenham Festival winner, I think he can take the Grand National of this year.

"So my first four: we'll go with Any Second Now to win the contest, I think Cloth Cap can be back in second, Burrows Saint in third and we'll throw Bristol De Mai back in fourth place - he's an out-and-out grade one performer, the ground might be a bit lively, but jumping will be no sort of issue [and] he could finish back in fourth."