Being an elite National Hunt jockey requires extremely high levels of fitness, concentration and core strength – it’s a far more compelling task than simply perching atop a horse as it thunders around the racecourse.
It’s a dangerous job, too, with equestrian sports making up the highest number of sport-related injuries and deaths around the world year after year.
Jockeys train for most of their lives for a chance to even compete in races as prestigious as The Grand National, and those that are lucky enough to accomplish a victory will still often require luck on their side during the race, no matter how much hard work has gone into training for the jockey and horse.
Grand National 2021 Jockeys
Here are the most likely jockeys to be riding the running favourites at The Grand National Festival 2021 (not all are confirmed):
Tom Scudamore – Cloth Cap
Tom Scudamore has been confirmed as the jockey for ‘Cloth Cap’, who currently sits as the race favourite heading into The Grand National 2021.
In the last five National Hunt horse racing seasons, Tom Scudamore has won 368 of his 2873 rides and accumulated £2,954,215 in winnings.
Paul Townend – Burrows Saint
Paul Townend is the likeliest jockey for Grand National second-favourite ‘Burrows Saint’, having often paired up with Willie Mullins for his most likely competitors.
Over the last five National Hunt jumping seasons, Paul Townend has ridden 1886 runners and accumulated 446 wins with a 24% win ratio. In just these five years, Paul Townend has earned €7,299,044 in winnings.
Richie McLernon – Kimberlite Candy
Richie McLernon has been confirmed as the jockey for ‘Kimberlite Candy’. ‘Kimberlite Candy’ is currently a 10/1 joint third-favourite heading into the festival.
In just the last five British National Hunt jumping seasons, Richie McLernon has won 144 of his 1680 races and accumulated just short of a million pounds in earnings.
Mark Walsh – Any Second Now
Mark Walsh has been riding ‘Any Second Now’ throughout the season and is looking like the most likely candidate for the jockey position at The Grand National.
In the last five Irish National Hunt racing seasons, Mark Walsh has achieved a 15% win ratio, winning 274 of his 1790 races and earning over 4 million Euros in prize money.
Rachael Blackmore – Minella Times
Henry De Bromhead will be keen to pair up with Rachael Blackmore again after a very successful Cheltenham Festival. Rachael is the most likely jockey for Minella Times heading into The Grand National 2021.
Rachael Blackmore spends most of her career in Ireland, but when she makes the trip across to England she performs extraordinarily well. Rachael has won 30% of her races in Great Britain, six wins in twenty rides, all of which came during The Cheltenham Festival earlier this year.
James Bowen – Secret Reprieve
With usual jockey Adam Wedge ruled out with injury, James Bowen is looking the most likely to take the reins on ‘Secret Reprieve’ after stepping in with a win in December.
Of the 1461 races James Bowen has been a jockey in during the last five National Hunt seasons, he has won 196 with a win ratio of 13%. His wins and placements have earned a total of £1,556,497 during this time.
Bryan Cooper – Discorama
Bryan Cooper is looking like the most likely candidate for the job as ‘Discorama’s jockey at The Grand National 2021. ‘Discorama’ is currently the 14/1 seventh-favourite heading into the Festival and could well provide Bryan Cooper’s first Grand National title.
Out of his 1102 rides in Ireland alone during the last five National Hunt seasons, Bryan Cooper has won 112 and earned around 1.6 million Euros in prize money.
Jack Kennedy – The Storyteller
Jack Kennedy is usually one of Gordon Elliott’s favourite jockeys and although Denise Foster is in charge of Gordon’s saddles while he serves his ban, Jack will likely remain the first choice for 14/1 priced ‘The Storyteller’.
Jack Kennedy has earned over 4.5 million Euros in the last five Irish National Hunt seasons, winning 279 of his 1765 races.
Jonjo O’Neill Jnr – Mister Malarky
Jonjo O’Neill Jnr is looking ready for his first ride in The Grand National and although it won’t be for one of his father’s horses, ‘Mister Malarky’ provides a fantastic opportunity for Jonjo to run one and win one.
Jonjo O’Neill Jnr competes in Great Britain for the majority of his races and in the last five National Hunt seasons has accumulated over 1.2 million Pounds in prize money from his 164 wins in 1039 races.
Robbie Power – Magic Of Light
Robbie Power has won before and he’ll be hoping to win again atop ‘Magic Of Light’, who finished in second place with a starting price of 66/1 last time out.
In the last five National Hunt racing seasons, Robbie Power has won 14% of his 1262 rides (178 wins) and accumulated over 3.6 million Euros in prize money.
Grand National Previous Winners
Here are the previous 3 winners of The Randox Grand National Steeple Chase, including their odds, closest competitors and race stats:
(2020 meeting abandoned due to the Coronavirus pandemic)
The winner of The Randox Grand National last time out in 2019 was 4/1 race favourite Tiger Roll, ridden by jockey Davy Russell and trained by Gordon Elliott.
66/1 priced outsider ‘Magic Of Light’ finished two and three-quarter lengths behind ‘Tiger Roll’ in second place, followed by 8/1 priced ‘Rathvinden’ in third place and 25/1 priced ‘Walk In The Mill’ in fourth.
10/1 priced Tiger Roll won The Randox Grand National Steeple Chase in 2018, ridden by jockey Davy Russell and trained by Gordon Elliott.
25/1 priced ‘Pleasant Company’ finished just a head behind ‘Tiger Roll’ in second place, followed by 40/1 outsider ‘Bless The Wings’ in third place and 10/1 priced ‘Anibale Fly’ in fourth.
At Aintree Racecourse for The Grand National Festival 2017, The Grand National Steeple Chase was won by 14/1 priced ‘One For Arthur’, ridden by jockey Derek Fox and trained by Lucinda Russell.
16/1 priced ‘Cause Of Causes’ finished four and a half lengths behind ‘One For Arthur’ in second place, followed by 25/1 outsider ‘Saint Are’ in third place and 8/1 priced Blaklion in fourth.