If, like us, you will be missing getting out and about this year, we have created another Festival hub to keep you updated on the latest news and recreate the racecourse experience at home.


Friday 9 April, Aintree: - Owners of the Day: John and Barbara Cotton

ROA Owner of the Day: Mr and Mrs J D Cotton

To highlight the support owners have shown to racing the ROA is focusing on raising the owners profile.  The ROA Owner of the Day is an opportunity for the ownership story to be shared.  

Today’s ROA Owner of the Day is John and Barbara Cotton. Their 12 year-old Sametegal finished ninth in the Foxhunters yesterday and Magic Saint runs in the 4.05 pm Randox Topham Handicap Chase today (Friday.)

John and Barbara started owning horses just over 20 years ago.  John explained: “We’d always wanted to be owners but due to pressure of work it just wasn’t possible.  Our first horse was Loop The Loup, trained by Mary Reveley. He was bought for us at the sales by Anthony Bromley. He won six races for us, most notably the Thorne Handicap at Doncaster in October 2000.”

Thereafter they had horses trained by Ian Williams, Tim Easterby, Nicky Henderson, Paul Nicholls and Dan Skelton, among other.  Their Flat horses are with Richard Fahey and Tim Easterby. 

John recalled: “We were persuaded to have horses in France by Anthony Bromley.  Through him we bought horses through Guillaume Macaire, a wonderful trainer, and we’ve been very successful.”

“We won the Prix La Haye Jousselin at Auteuil with Golden Flight in 2005, a Grade 1 race.  He was ridden by Jacques Ricau, five-time champion jump jockey in France.  We also won a lot of other races with Golden Flight and other horses with Guillaume Macaire.”

Trips to France reaped success and attentions turned to the Flat for trips to Paris.  John explained: “Charlie Gordon-Watson persuaded me to buy a horse in France for the Flat.  The horse was Silver Frost and he was trained by Yves de Nicolay in Deauville.  In 2009, Silver Frost won the Poule d’Essai des Poulains, the French equivalent of our 2,000 Guineas, at Longchamp, ridden by French champion jockey Christophe Soumillon.”

The Cottons will be enjoying the racing from Aintree today at their home in Harrogate.  “We’ll watch it on television.  We are very sad we won’t be at Aintree due to Covid restrictions. Sametegal, trained by Paul Nicholls, runs in the Foxhunters’ at 4.05pm (on Thursday) and should have a good chance. He was bought from France originally and is now with Paul Nicholls.  Tomorrow, at the same time, we have Magic Saint running in the Topham Handicap Chase (Friday 4.05pm), also trained by Paul Nicholls.”

For years we’ve had winners at most of the top tracks in the UK, including Cheltenham, but not at the Festival as yet.  The last winner we had at Cheltenham last year was the Mucking Brilliant Paddy Power Handicap Chase with Magic Saint.”

“This year, we retired one of our favourite horses, Gold Present.  He was trained by Nicky Henderson and won some good races for us including the Lavazza Silver Cup at Ascot in 2017.”

“Soul Emotion, also with Nicky Henderson, won two hurdle races at Sandown in 2018 including the Bet365 Handicap Hurdle. On the Flat we’ve had some good horses like Wing Collar, who won three races at York, and Observatory Star, both trained by Tim Easterby.”

John reminisced: “I had an aunt called Mary who left me £15,000 in her will, and I bought a horse called Aunt Mary with the money.  She won a race at York, our favourite Flat racecourse. Interestingly, she tended to run better when there was thunder and lightning around!”

He added: “One of my favourite horses who came from Guillaume Macaire in France was Korakor.

He did well in the UK but at Sandown a horse knocked into him, and he wasn’t able to race again.  He’s still around and happy in his retirement.”

John explained how he and Barbara became involved in ownership.  “We always enjoyed watching racing and enjoyed going to York. We wanted to get involved but due to business commitments I didn’t have the time to enjoy racing at an earlier age.”

The company, John Cotton Group is a leading manufacturer of pillows, duvets and mattress protectors.  The main office is in Mirfield, betwist Huddersfield and Leeds. It also has companies established in Poland and Australia.  The company generates sales of £250m annually and employs a workforce of 1,500 worldwide.  In the UK familiar brands include Snuggledown of Norway and Slumberdown.  They supply all the major retailers, including John Lewis and Marks & Spencer.  John was awarded an MBE for Services to Yorkshire Business in 2014.

John joked: “You might well sleep on our products!  When the horses run, the company sponsors them and the brand is carried on the livery of the horse.  Our workforce follow the horses and always want to know if the horses have any chance.  I have to be careful, as if they do back them and they lose their money, they aren’t too happy!”

The Cottons have lived in Harrogate for the last 35 years.   Barbara commented: “It’s a lovely town, we can easily see our local trainers.  It’s not too far to visit the Easterbys and Richard Fahey.”

John was brought up in West Riding in Huddersfield and Barbara moved to England having grown up in Munich, Germany.  The couple used to live near Wetherby and shared a passion for racing.  Trips to the races formed part of family life.  Barbara recalled: “The children went in their prams to the races.”  

The Cotton’s ownership has reaped notable success, with 72 winners over Jumps and 44 winners on the Flat in the UK alone.  Such success doesn’t come without sizeable commitment and they have a thorough understanding of the economics.  John reflected: “As owners we don’t get a very good deal bearing in mind the very poor prize-money.  If you compare the prize-money in France it’s very much better.”

Raceday experiences have provided some memorable moments: “To be able to go to somewhere like Ascot, and enjoy all the excitement of the day, meeting with the trainer, your horse in the parade ring.  You’ve got to experience it to realise what it’s like.  We have been lucky and enjoyed some very special days, in the UK and at Longchamp and Auteil as well.   We’ve loved every minute of it.”


Saturday 10 April, Aintree: - Owner of the Day - Foxtrot Racing - Hogan's Height (Grand National)

ROA Owner of the Day

Foxtrot Racing: Hogan’s Height

To highlight the support owners have shown to racing the ROA is focusing on raising the owners profile.  The ROA Owner of the Day is an opportunity for the ownership story to be shared.  

Today’s ROA Owner of the Day is Foxtrot Racing: Hogan’s Height.  Hogan’s Height participation is enabling 20 members of the Foxtrot Racing syndicate the chance to enjoy an experience of a lifetime, having a runner in the Aintree Randox Grand National at 5.15pm today (Saturday.)

Foxtrot Racing is run by Dan Abraham, who lives in Loughborough. He took up managing the syndicate in 2009 after being a member of the syndicate himself.    

Abraham’s very first steps towards the owners experience were guided by Club ROA, a racing club the ROA had set up for people age group 18-35 in 2007.  He experienced a win with one of the club’s first horses, the popular and mercurial Cornus, trained by Alan McCabe.  Dan recalled: “I remember the day at Lingfield distinctly.  I was in the parade ring, and when Cornus was led in he insisted on walking halfway around the parade ring backwards! It was a small field as the race hadn’t attracted many runners and the race had been re-opened.”

“I went on a trip to The Breeders’ Cup with some of my fellow Club members. During the trip I became friendly with Tom Gittins, who helped manage the club at the time and also ran Foxtrot Racing.  During the flight home, Tom suggested that I got involved in Foxtrot.  I did, and joined the syndicate with a share in a horse trained in Chiddingfold, near to where I lived then.   I thoroughly enjoyed it.  At the same time, I was noting a few areas that I thought could improve the owner’s experience.”

“Tom had to give up running Foxtrot Racing at short notice to become involved in his family’s business.  He rang me up and asked if I’d like to take it over and run it.  So, I went from member to manager in the space of a day!”

“Foxtrot Charlie won at 14/1 at Kempton.  He was the first horse I managed for the syndicate. We were then focusing on Flat horses in the summer and jumps in the winter.  I decided I wanted to concentrate on the jumpers.  I thought summer jumping was developing into a more appealing activity, and gradually decreased the number of Flat horses and increased the number of jumpers in the syndicate.  I had a different model in my head, I really wanted to find value horses.  It’s not a criticism, but Foxtrot were buying pretty expensive horses.  I felt there was an opportunity to buy horses that had underperformed.”

Horses with the right breeding and confirmation invite attention at the sales.  Abraham felt that simply by putting in more work he could gain a competitive edge.  He looked for horses that had run in point-to-points or novice hurdles, and so buying flat horses became difficult.  He wanted to buy horses that were good value, horses that had run, where he had noticed something about them that someone else hadn’t.

“Having been a syndicate member myself gave me an advantage.  Whenever I look at buying or leasing a horse, I ask myself, if I were a syndicate member, would I want to get involved in this horse?”

“I bought Hogan’s Height in 2016, on November 11 from Cheltenham Tattersalls Sale. My father had suffered a stroke that year and I decided that I would take him somewhere when he recovered.  I took him to watch England v Scotland in the World Cup qualifier at Wembley.  The date of the match coincided with the sale.  Hogan’s Height went through the sales ring at half time during the match.  Had he gone through the ring ten minutes earlier, during the first half, I wouldn’t have bid on him.  I’m a great believer in things that are meant to be.”

An early interest in racing had been sparked as Abraham’s mother is godmother to Andrea O’Keefe, wife of trainer Jedd O’Keefe.  His father was an avid follower of sport and took him to a variety of sporting events.  As a teenager, football and horseracing were the pursuits he was most interested in.  A half decent footballer he’d trialled for a Premiership team before his career led into football coaching at Portsmouth Football Club. 

Abraham had a particular interest in how athletes develop, and started to apply that to how trainers prepared a horse to perform on a certain day.  He understood training techniques and learnt from racing about his own football coaching.  He explained: “It reignited something inside me, a real passion for racing. The more time I spent around horses, the more interested I became in their training.  How they peak, their mental and physical performance.  How you get the most out of their potential.  How you buy a horse for ‘X’ amount and make sure you get the most out of it.”  His passion and enthusiasm is catching, and it’s easy to see how it cascades through his syndicates.  

He explains the story of Hogan’s Height and his owners: “There are 20 members in the syndicate.  They’ve all been involved from the start.  They’ve followed Hogan’s journey from his first National Hunt Flat race, ridden by Richard Johnson at Wetherby, through to hurdle races and then onto chasing.  That experience has been wonderful. Any horse that runs in a Grand National has to be successful.  This horse has had a wonderful journey through his racing career.” 

One of the 20 syndicate members is Phil Chappell of Henley-on-Thames.  He was introduced to racing by his dad and explained:  “As a student I worked in Coral Racing at Bournemouth and became a branch manager in Weymouth, Dorset for a few years.  I’ve loved my racing since those days.  I promised myself that if I had some spare cash, I’d get involved in ownership if I could.” 

Having retired, that’s exactly what he did.  He joined Foxtrot after seeing an advert on Facebook and bought a share in Hogan’s Height. “He’s won six races for us already.  Dan sells 20 shares in each horse.  It’s a nice number, you get to feel part of it and get to become friends with the other owners.  Dan runs it so well, we receive so much information and he does a brilliant job on the social side.  In usual times we’d have stable visits, an annual party and golf day.   Seeing Hogan’s Height working on the Lambourn gallops, and all the other horses in the yard, is brilliant.”

He is one of the lucky members who are able to go to Aintree.  With six owners badges available, places were drawn out of a hat.

Chappell explained how members are updated with racing behind closed doors. “Dan asks trainers to do a Zoom call before the race and then updates us post-race.  With Foxtrot, there are 20 horses across the syndicates, and we all support each other’s horses and our syndicate has a Whatsapp group.” Fair to say their phones have been busy with messages.  

“Friends and family are getting interested and will have their 50p each way!  Dreams can be realised.  He’s an outsider, but he’s won over the fences.  When he won the Grand Sefton, he was 33/1 in the morning.  We never thought he’d win by 16 lengths.  The excitement afterwards, sharing that experience with everyone, and our trainer Jamie Snowden was incredible.”

Fellow syndicate member Nigel Smith, who’s recently moved to Norfolk, enthused: “It's the realisation of a childhood dream to be involved with a runner in the National.  When I was a young teenager, I can remember trying to persuade adults going into the local Ladbrokes to put 50p each way on my Grand National fancy.  It was always THE race of the year and now - well let's just say Saturday is going to be very special.” 

“As to watching the race - it would have been marvellous, if times were normal, to be there.  Sadly that will not be happening so I will be watching the TV from behind the sofa!”  

Smith recalled his first contact with Foxtrot Racing some years ago:  “When I rang Dan there was one share left in Hogan’s Height.  It seemed like fate, in a way. Since then I’ve been involved in numerous horses.  We also have a breeding syndicate with a Foxtrot mare, Midnight Silver, who won six races for us.  She’s had a colt foal and two fillies. We intend to race the fillies. Having a horse we’ve bred will be fabulous.   It’s such a well-run syndicate, Dan keeps us well informed.”

“Hogan’s been an absolute star, a joy to be involved with.  I felt last year he was cherry ripe for the National when it couldn’t be held.  I think he’s one of those horses that when he gets to Aintree he seems to improve.  Win, lose or draw, we hope every horse gets round safely, including Hogan’s.  If he were to finish in the first six, everybody would be delighted.  He’d gone to the sales before the Grand Sefton as we felt his handicap mark was too high.  He didn’t attract a bid. He came home and in a matter of a few weeks he won the Grand Sefton by sixteen lengths. It was beyond our wildest dreams.”

Smith has been involved in racing syndicates for 20 years and is currently involved in nine syndicates,  jump horses with Foxtrot and Flat horses with James Fanshawe and Roger Varian.

Smith echoed Chappell’s feelings on yard visits being a highlight in normal times.  “We stay overnight, get up in the morning, go to the stables, see the horses working, have brunch.  Jamie’s great fun, he looks after us on a stable visit. Foxtrot are very good, the trainers are willing to be videoed. Through lockdown Dan organised lots of Zoom meetings, allowing us to see different facets of the horseracing industry.  He works very hard and is very innovative.  He always communicates with a weekly newsletter. The communication is your involvement.”

“I’ve always loved sport.  My attention was captured by horses like Red Rum and Corbiere.  Seeing them racing year in, year out.  You get an affiliation with them, you feel you know them.   Luckily enough, when I started work, my boss was a horseracing nut.  The more he explained to me about the intricacies of racing, the more I became absorbed.  I was fortunate to be in a position to get involved in syndicates. As you get closer to the horses and the people that look after them, it can be quite immersive.”

“Our horses are regularly competing on a Saturday afternoon in feature races. It’s a fabulous achievement and gives the owners a chance to go to Ascot or Sandown on a Saturday, prime racecourses, and have a horse running. 

“Much of it is about the people you meet, the day’s out you have.  We choose to be involved with horses, they are such noble creatures and they are cared for in first class facilities.  Syndicates have opened up racing. Racing has become more egalitarian and it’s broadened the appeal of the sport.  You can be involved on a budget.”

Thoughts turn to Saturday and the big race.  While he isn’t able to attend on the day the impact of it all is immense: “It’s like a fairy tale. Our story with Hogan’s seems to have captured the public’s imagination.  I just wish it was normal times.  I wish everybody could be there to share in the experience as it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity. There will be six at Aintree, and a lot of noise being made in the living rooms for the rest of us!  I’ll be glued to the TV with my partner and we’ll crack open some champagne.”

Abraham summed up the focus of the 20-strong syndicate’s attention, Hogan’s Height: “Ever since we got him, it’s very clear he loves jumping. Everything for him is about seeing a fence.  Even when he was hurdling, he was jumping them far too big.  It’s very exciting going into the Grand National with a horse that you feel will be having the best day of his life.  He just loves jumping, he loves being a racehorse.  It’s great to see.”  



Grand National Festival - going racing with a runner

The Randox Grand National Festival – Thursday 8, Friday 9 & Saturday 10 April 2021


Owners’ Badges will not be sent out, or issued in advance. Bookings for attendance must be made via the PASS System by 4pm on the day prior to racing.

A maximum of 6 badges will be issued per runner. Due to the restrictions of our local authority, this number must be strictly adhered to and no additional badges will be available.

For the avoidance of doubt, for Syndicates and Racing Clubs, it will be the responsibility of the Syndicator/Club Manager to submit the names of those individuals attending the fixture. In all other instances it will be the responsibility of the owner, and any requests for badges by a third party (e.g. your trainer) will not be accepted.

Badges must strictly be used only by the named/registered Owner or their immediate family. Badges cannot be transferred to the Owners of other horses, Owners without runners or other guests.

Children can attend as one of the owners/representatives if pre-registered.  All children attending will undergo the entry screening process as standard. 

If you have reduced mobility or a disability of any kind and require additional assistance on raceday, please notify us directly once you have registered your attendance through PASS and we will assist you.

Please note that if your horse is declared a non-runner, you will not be permitted to attend the fixture.

For assistance with the PASS system, please contact the PASS helpdesk on 01933 270333 or by email:

Please notemetal badges or car park labels, such as BHA, ROA, JCO, NTF, PJA and RCA, are NOT applicable at The Randox Grand National Festival.

We understand that all Owners based in Ireland, who have had the disappointment of not being able to attend racing for many months, would very much like to see their horses run, and both Horse Racing Ireland and Aintree Racecourse fully understand the importance of having Owners back and makes their return to the racecourse a priority. However, this must be in line with Government policy, as does any potential visit to a racecourse in the UK.

Therefore, Horse Racing Ireland have asked Aintree Racecourse to strongly advise that there is an Irish Government Advisory in operation against all non-essential international travel and this would not permit Irish-based owners travelling to the UK to attend a racemeeting.

Internationally based owners, who are not registered in the UK but are travelling from a country where there are no current restrictions on travel, should contact Carly Sage by email or by phone on 0151 522 2959, to register attendance. This should be completed 4pm the day before the fixture.


All owners attending a fixture are asked to sign up to the Owners’ Code ( and should complete the owner health screening process. This includes an online learning module ( and personally administered health assessment to be completed in advance of raceday followed by health questions and a temperature check on arrival at the racecourse.

Face coverings must be worn at all times, unless specific exemptions apply. Face coverings should be triple layered (in line with specifications set out by the World Health Organisation) to provide maximum protection.


The Owners’ Entrance will open at 12.30pm each day.

In line with the BHA’s Covid-19 Protocols ( which have been in place since June 2020, we will be operating a Green Zone for participants and an Amber Zone for Owners. It is not permitted for anyone to cross between the two zones on a raceday.

Due to the restrictions of behind closed doors racing, we regret that Owners will not be permitted to access the Parade Ring, Weighing Room or to walk the course this year. However, Owners will have access to all other areas of the racecourse including viewing areas from a number of different grandstands. Please ask a member of staff if you are unsure.

There will be no bookmaking facilities on site.


Please ensure that any travel arrangements you make are in compliance with the current Covid-19 restrictions as issued by the British Government and any jurisdiction from which you may travel.

Owners attending fixtures should travel to, and arrive at, the racecourse alone or in household bubbles and follow government guidance. If, on arrival, one person does not pass the any screening checks, everyone in the vehicle will be requested to leave the site. This is to help protect the health and wellbeing of other raceday attendees.

We also ask that owners and trainers do not travel to the racecourse in the same vehicle, as they will be entering different infection control zones on arrival at the racecourse. We know that the more interactions between different people from different households (and particularly from different areas of the country), the greater the risk of transmitting the virus.

By travelling separately, owners and trainers can reduce the risk of infection in their respective racecourse zones.

Access to parking will be from the A59, Ormskirk Road (Postcode: L9 5AS). Please find attached a Parking Pass which includes directions and a map. Please have this ready to either show on your phone or printed out on arrival. Once parked, you will be guided to the Owners Entrance by our members of staff.

Please note that the sharing of transport when visiting different zones on the racecourse is not permitted.


An area in the centre of the Grand National Course is provided for helicopter landing.

The site will be operated by Rotary Wing Limited, 109 Gilda Road, Worsley, Manchester, M28 4BP. Contact Philip or Karen Pickford on 0161 799 6967, via email on or by mobile on 07968 758915.

Prior notice is required in advance for landing facilities and insurance indemnity. Particular attention is to be paid to the rules of the air which govern the overflying of built up areas. No landings will be permitted 30 minutes before the first race and no take-offs will be permitted until 30 minutes after the last race.

A courtesy vehicle will collect you from the landing site and transport you to the Owners’ Entrance. Vehicles will also be available when you are ready to leave. Please advise the team at the Owners’ Entrance when you are ready to depart.


We regret that, due to the current Covid-19 regulations, we are not permitted to offer the full range of hospitality options that would normally be available at the Randox Grand National Festival. However, canteen-style catering, soft and hot drink offers will be available on course, from the Golden Miller and Papillon Suites in the Earl of Derby Stand.


Enquiries should be made to Sulekha Varma, Clerk of the Course, on 0151 523 2600.

If the office is not open, recorded information will be available on this line or please contact 07715 640525.

A graphic description of the going, a weather forecast and up-to-date weather information, will be available on our website from Thursday 1st April


The excitement and emotion of being a part of the Randox Grand National Festival is like nothing else, and we sincerely hope you will feel that when you are with us. However, we do politely ask that you ensure that social distancing is maintained at all times when on course and remember that the world is watching.


You may be asked by the media to comment or give an interview which may touch on the changes that have been made to the Grand National course and also welfare. The team at Aintree would be happy to talk to you in advance, to assist with any background details. Likewise the communications team at the BHA are available at any time ahead of the meeting. We enclose a paper on the key messages which you may find helpful.


If you have any queries please contact Suleka Varma on 07715 640525 or Carly Sage on 0151 522 2959.




Good to Soft (GoingStick:5.6 on 08-04-2021 at 10:00)
Hurdle - MILDMAY
Good to Soft (GoingStick:5.2 on 08-04-2021 at 07:00)
Good to Soft (GoingStick:4.9 on 08-04-2021 at 10:00)

Rail Movements: Rails in innermost position.


Dry Fri night, 1.4mm rain Thurs night, 0.6mm Wed night.
Forecast: A chilly but dry day on Saturday with some long
periods of sunshine.


Watered - 3-5mm Mildmay/Hurdle Wed, selectively applied 3mm to
GN Course Wed evening, to maintain.
3mm to Mildmay/Hurdle overnight Thurs, selectively applied 3mm
to GN Course Thurs.
6mm to applied to all courses overnight into Sat.

Racecourse Details:

Clerk of the Course : Sulekha Varma 07715640525


Saturday 10 April 2021

1.45pm Eft Systems Handicap Hurdle (Class 1) (Grade 3) (GBB Race)

10 Corrieben Reiver Declared at 08:10 on 10/04/2021. (Going)

15 Polish Declared at 21:17 on 09/04/2021. (Vets Cert (Lame))

13 Southfield Harvest Declared at 08:41 on 10/04/2021. (Self Cert (Lame))

2.25pm Betway Mersey Novices' Hurdle (Class 1) (Grade 1) (GBB Race)

Ballybegg (IRE) Declared at 10:45 on 08/04/2021. (Double Declaration)

4.15pm Betway Handicap Chase (Class 1) (Grade 3) (GBB Race)

Ramses de Teillee (FR) Declared at 15:20 on 09/04/2021. (Self Cert (Going))

6.20pm Weatherbys Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race (Class 1)(Grade 2) (GBB Race)

Brave Kingdom (FR) Declared at 21:00 on 09/04/2021. (Going)

Go Dante Declared at 12:08 on 09/04/2021. (Vets Cert (Lame))


ITV Racing will be showing the big races each day.

All 21 races from the Festival will also be shown live on Racing TV.

Want to relive the races again? Click here to go to FREE replays on the Jockey Club website.


All ROA members can enter our very simple Champion Tipster competition.
  • Pick one horse out in each race 
  • If your selection finishes 1st or 2nd you will continue onto the next leg
  • The entry that’s stays in the competition for the most races wins

Each day there is a first prize of £150 up for grabs.

* If you encounter a problem with scrolling down for members using a Tablet, please enter using a desktop or mobile.

Saturday 10 April, Aintree: - Champion Tipster

Congratulations to Alan Fairhurst who scoops the £150 pot. The competition came down to the Grand National - and Alan managed to pick Minella Times! 

Aintree Placepot Pointers

For more information on the Tote Special Offers during Aintree:  Click Here


Grand National day is here and while millions will tune in for the most famous race in the world, there’s no better way to enjoy the mouth watering undercard than with a Placepot.

If you’re playing the Placepot the night before you’ll get Early Bird Placepot Insurance. So, if your bet goes down in Leg 1, you’ll get money back up to £10! Available throughout the Festival. T&Cs apply.

The Big Trend

With 40 runners in the main event, it’s no easy task picking one to place, let alone finding the winner. It’s always worth casting your eye over the key trends in order to narrow the field and identify horses with the right profile to go well in the race. Take a look at our Grand National trends for all the key stats in more detail, but in short you’re looking for proven stamina, a touch of class without being too high in the weights and a horse between the ages of eight and ten.

It’s certainly worth keeping a few on side here and while CLOTH CAP (Leg 6, 17:15) is probably not a bet for Tote Win purposes, he’s certainly an obvious candidate for your Placepot slip. An impressive winner of the Ladbrokes Trophy and placed in a Scottish National, he could be thrown in here off his current mark. LORD DU MESNIL has stamina in bags too. He probably wants it a bit softer but his win in the Grand National Trial at Haydock reads very well and he can put up a good performance. KIMBERLITE CANDY has a likeable profile and has run well over the fences before.

Placepot Banker

Quite simply, SHISHKIN (Leg 3, 15:00) is a superstar and should win this race at a canter. He’s been ridiculously good this season and looks like the 2022 Champion Chaser in waiting.

MY DROGO (Leg 2, 14:25) has looked like a beast so far and his handler has said that he’s a future Gold Cup contender. This is a hot race, with a couple of Irish raiders in there including supreme second Ballyadam, but we can see Dan Skelton’s charge improving for a step up in trip and will be spot on for this having missed Cheltenham. It would be some surprise if he finished outside the places.

THYME HILL (Leg 4, 15:35) missed Cheltenham which may well play into his hands here. He always runs his race and while he’ll have to turn the tables on Paisley Park, he has youth and both freshness on his side.

Outsiders to Consider

In a 22 runner handicap hurdle, it would be rude not to put up a couple of outsiders. There have been seven handicap hurdles across the Cheltenham and Aintree Festivals so far and all of them have been won by Irish horses. That could continue here with the very interesting WHIRLING DERVISH (13:45, Leg 1). He’s got a touch of class about him, having been rated 100 on the Flat and finished 7th in a big handicap at Newmarket. He scored on his first attempt up at 3m last time, so is unexposed over these distances and could well be anything.

UNOWHATIMEANHARRY scored here earlier in the year and the old favourite is only 1lb higher for this. His best days are obviously behind him but he could well run into a place here and won’t be on too many slips.

Torpedo Leg

With winners in recent years returning three figure dividends the main event, the Grand National (Leg 6, 17:15), is our obvious torpedo leg. Anything can happen in the race and it’s certainly worth picking out a few you like. Try and find one or two who are huge prices in the win pools and don’t let anyone put you off!

Our Placepot Perm

Leg 1: Whirling Dervish, Unowhatimeanharry

Leg 2: My Drogo

Leg 3: Shishkin

Leg 4: Thyme Hill

Leg 5: Happygolucky, Sam Brown

Leg 6: Cloth Cap, Lord Du Mesnil, Kimberlite Candy

2 x 1 x 1 x 1 x 2 x 3 = 12 lines



After an exceptional opening day at Aintree, we roll on to day two of the Grand National Festival. The Placepot has paid three figures on day two of this meeting in the last three years, so there’s value to be had for those managing to navigate the six legs.

If you’re playing the Placepot the night before you’ll get Early Bird Placepot Insurance. So, if your bet goes down in Leg 1, you’ll get money back up to £10! Available throughout the Festival. T&Cs apply.

The Big Trend

Nicky Henderson may have failed to hit the his usual galactic heights this season but his record in Leg 1 (13:45) speaks for itself, with five of the last ten winners being saddled by the Seven Barrows maestro.

He’s double-handed here, but the one we like is MISTER COFFEY. We last saw him finishing seventh in the Betfair Hurlde, where he just got tapped for toe a couple of furlongs out, before staying on strongly into seventh place. He contests this off 1lb lower and we can see the step up in trip suiting. He still looks like he’s filling out, so we could see some further improvement here.

It’s a competitive looking race, however, so we’ll have a couple on our slip and JACAMAR looks like one who could run a very big race. He won here back in October and was last seen over hurdles denying Southfield Harvest at Wincanton, where they pulled well clear of the rest of the field. He probably has a better chance than the betting suggests.

Placepot Banker

Fusil Raffles did little to inspire confidence in the form of the Marsh on day one, but nevertheless we’re sticking to our guns with CHANTRY HOUSE (14:50, Leg 3). He’s a horse who has plenty of class, finishing third in a strong Supreme back in 2019. Had Envoi Allen stayed on his feet at the Festival, it would have provided a truer gauge of where he’s at but the speed figures indicate that it was no weak contest. He shapes as though he’ll enjoy this step up in trip and he could be a live outsider for the 2022 Gold Cup.

THIRD TIME LUCKI (14:20, Leg 2) ran a belter in the County Hurdle, a race which was ran in faster time than the Triumph. He hit the front a little too soon and the race was set up for a closer. This doesn’t look as deep a contest and, while he might not go off favourite, you can be confident he’ll hit the frame here.

Outsiders to Consider

With eight of the last 10 winners of the Topham returning at a double-figure dividend, it’s certainly worth looking at those further down the betting in the hunt for a chunky a Placepot payout. Willie Mullins has the favourite here, but it’s ROBIN DES FORET (16:05, Leg 5) who could well run a big race. He won last time out at Clonmel and is a big bold jumper who should enjoy the test these fences present.

In the Melling Chase, arguably the race of the day, NUTS WELL (15:25, Leg 4) has a live chance of making the frame. He’s beaten Aye Right and Clondaw Castle this season, the latter of which was over course and distance, and that form stacks up well. He’s been kept nice and fresh for this and he could run a big race.

Torpedo Leg

Leg 6 (16:40) is a tricky race, with several of these seemingly underperforming in the Albert Bartlett turning up here. Cape Gentleman was very good when grinding down Calico at Kempton, but this is a different test entirely. Streets of Doyen ran well enough at Cheltenham, but he’s exposed here and vulnerable to improvers.

ALAPHILLIPE was one of those aforementioned underperformers, but on his win at Haydock he has to have a good chance here. SIZABLE SAM is a chaser in the making, but looks worth another chance in this sphere. He was a bit keen last time out but prior to that this imposing 6yo had been impressive when scoring a double at Wincanton. If he can settle better, he could run a big race.

Our Placepot Perm

Leg 1: Mister Coffey, Jacamar

Leg 2: Third Time Lucki

Leg 3: Chantry House

Leg 4: Dashel Drasher, Nuts Well

Leg 5: Livelovelaugh, Robin Des Foret

Leg 6: Alaphillipe, Sizable Sam

2 x 1 x 1 x 2 x 2 x 2 = 16 lines



The Grand National Festival is here and there’s a glut of Grade 1s to kick off proceedings. With some small but select fields to navigate, a few unplaced favourites could result in a chunky Placepot dividend.

We’ve cast our eye over the card in an attempt at landing a share of the pool.

Remember, if you’re playing the Placepot the night before you’ll get Early Bird Placepot Insurance. So, if your bet goes down in Leg 1, you’ll get money back up to £10! T&Cs apply.

The Big Trend

The big handicap on the card is the Red Rum Handicap Chase (16:40, Leg 6) and with 18 runners set to battle it out over a frantic 2m, it’s worth looking back at the history of the race to help us narrow the field.

Those towards the top of the weights have struggled, with no winner carrying more than 11st1lb in the last 10 renewals. Course experience also looks a critical factor when picking horses to go well here, with eight of the last ten winners having previously run at the track before.

One who immediately fits the bill is Dan Skelton’s DESTRIER. A 3l third in the 2019 Maghull, he brings form at Aintree to the table and he’s been plummeting down the handicap to a mark of 136, so carries a handy 10st13lb here. He’s previously been rated as high as 151 and a return to better ground here should see him go close.

Another who fits the bill is BRELAN D’AS who makes his first start for Ben Haslam here having joined from Paul Nicholls. He’s only 1lb higher than when finishing third in the 2019 Grand Annual and finished fifth in this race the same year. If his new trainer is able to spark a bit of life into him again, we could see a big run.

Placepot Banker

CLAN DES OBEAUX (14:50, Leg 3) has placed in the last two renewals of the Bowl and looks well placed to at least hit the frame here. He was a tad disappointing last time out, but he had a hard race in the King George, so hopefully we see him back to his best here. He’s swerved Cheltenham this year, which is a positive, and his trainer should have him spot on for this.

Outsiders to Consider

UMBRIGADO (13:45, Leg 1) might be a bit underrepresented in the pool here. He’s done nothing but improve all season and is more than entitled to take his chances here. He stayed on really strongly to land the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup at Newbury earlier in the month and should be suited by the track. He’ll have to be a bit quicker over his fences but he’s worth taking a chance on.

You’d definitely want to double him up with another runner but GREENSALT (16:05, Leg 6) could well run better than his potential dividend would suggest. Form over Grand National fences is very important and having finished second and seventh in the last two renewals of this race, he certainly has that to his name. He’s 13 now and hasn’t been great on his last two runs, but after a  year off the track he might just have needed them.

Torpedo Leg

We could be overcomplicating the 14:20 (Leg 2) but there’s certainly a case to be made for a funny result here. The stopwatch brigade have been keen to point out the slow time in the Triumph, but we’ll still put ADAGIO in as he brings proven Grade 1 form to the table.

Monmiral could well be anything, but we’re willing to take him on and FIVEANDTWENTY gets a handy 7lb allowance here. That could prove critical and Donald McCain has been having plenty of joy with his hurdlers this term.

Our Placepot Perm

Leg 1: Umbrigado, Hitman

Leg 2: Adagio, Fiveandtwenty

Leg 3: Clan Des Obeaux

Leg 4: Abacadabras, Jason The Militant

Leg 5: Billaway, Greensalt

Leg 6: Destrier, Brelan D’As

2 x 2 x 1 x 2 x 2 x 2 = 32 lines

Thursday 8 April, Aintree: - Champion Tipster Winners

It was a hotly contested heat on Thursday, but Billaway managing just fourth in the Foxhunters meant there was a three-way tie for the win. Congratulations to Scott Smithurst, Roger Huin, and Gillian Morgan - who all collect £150.

You may remember that Gillian also won the day one competition at Cheltenham - we know who we will be following in the future!

Friday 9 April, Aintree: - Champion Tipster

There was another tie for the victory on Friday, with Scott Smithurst again triumphing. This time he shared the prize of £37.50 with Paul Ibrahim, Marian Pepperdine and Jeff Craft. They were the only members to get through the first race - well done all.

Terms and conditions: 

  • Open only to fully paid up  ROA members 
  • One entry per attendee only. 
  • One selection per race. If a horse is a non-runner, the selection automatically goes onto the favourite. In the event of joint or co-favourites, the selection will be the horse with the lowest racecard number. 
  • All results settled as of the rules of racing.  
  • In the event of a tie, winnings will be shared equally. 
  • In the event of any dispute, the ROA’s decision is final. 


Aintree Triple Crown Competition


Can you guess who will be the Champion Owner, Trainer and Jockey at this years' CRandox Aintree Festival? Let us know and you could win a luxury hamper and a years' ROA membership!

Champions determined by:

  • Owners - number of winners
  • Trainers - number of winners
  • Jockeys - number of winners

Then, as a tie-breaker - can you guess the combined winning distance of the three races over the National Fences this week - teh Topham, the Foxhunters and the Grand National itself?

Good luck!





Picture of the Day - Aintree Thursday

A sign of the times with Sir Alex Ferguson and Harry Skelton suitably celebrating the victory of Protektorat in the opening Manifesto Novices' Chase at the Randox Aintree Festival. It was the first of a 108-1 treble for Sir Alex, and Ged and Matt Mason - and possibly the first time the Manchester United legend being the toast of Liverpool!



Picture of the Day - Aintree Friday

Livelovelaugh put in an exemplary round of jumping to capture the Topham Chase at Aintree on Friday, as this image of him flying over the Chair shows. Also featured are the two flying greys Dunvegan (red) and Caribean Boy (green).

Burrow's Saint carries the winning Ricci colours in the Grand National - can they make it an Aintree double?  


Picture of the Day - Aintree Saturday

There can only be one horse and jockey to feature in today's picture of the day - step forward Minella Times and the record-breaking Rachael Blackmore after their victory in the Randox Grand National.