Friday, 16 April, 2021

Top weight Tiger still to qualify

Tiger Roll has won the last two Aintree Grand Nationals Tiger Roll has won the last two Aintree Grand Nationals
Cary Erickson | 14 February, 2020, 10:40

Bookmakers Betway, official betting partner of the Randox Health Grand National, make him the 13/2 favourite for the marathon over the famous spruce fences.

The 10-year-old had an official rating of 150 in the 2018 Randox Health Grand National and defied a rating of 159 in last year's edition. They include Bristol de Mai (11st 8lb), one of the seven contenders for the double victor of the Grand National Nigel Twiston-Davies, the hero of the Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup 2018 Native River (Colin Tizzard, 11st 6lb) and Anibale Fly JP McManus (Tony Martin IRE, 11st 2lb), fourth in 2018 and fifth in 2019.

Also with an eyecatching mark is last season's Irish Grand National victor Burrows Saint for Ireland's champion trainer Willie Mullins.

"We have what we have, we're 4lb worse-off with Magical Light who was second in the race previous year so it's probably fair enough". Nickel Coin in 1951 is the latest mare to win the Aintree spectacular.

Fourth-placed Walk In The Mill (Robert Walford, 10st 4lb) fared best of the British-trained runners in 2019. He continued his glorious document over the well-known fences by profitable the Randox Health Becher Handicap Chase for the second successive 12 months in December. His score of 148 is similar as he carried in 2017. Dual Becher Chase victor Walk In The Mill, trained by Yorkshire-born Robert Walford, was fourth previous year and is on 10st 4lb. Both horses are owned by J P McManus.

No horse has ever won three consecutive Grand Nationals, and Gigginstown racing manager Eddie O'Leary is still casting doubt on whether or not Tiger Roll will race at Aintree.

"This choice was made basically on two elements - historic compression which was introduced in by Phil Smith and has been used for the final 10 years or so".

"We obviously would love to see Tiger Roll to go for three in a row, but we're very vocal about the fact that it (handicap) has to be compressed".

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"Tiger Roll was rated 172 at the end of past year and obviously there is no recent evidence to continue due to its fitness problems, so its disability mark has not been quantifiable since then".

"He is therefore coming down 2lb and carries the same weight as Suny Bay did when he was second in the 1998 Grand National".

The best weight-carrying performance of recent years came in 2015 when Many Clouds, one of the most popular horses, of the past decade, shouldered 11st 9lb.

What is far more important at this present time is that he gets through Sunday at Navan okay and then comes out of Cheltenham and the Cross Country race in one piece.

The last time I checked, the Grand National was run over just in excess of four and a quarter miles, required participants to jump 30 fences, navigate their way around a fervent acre or three of Merseyside real estate and cope with loose horses and chaos at every turn.

Tiger Roll is due to run for the first time since winning his second National when he lines up for the Boyne Hurdle at Navan in Ireland on Sunday.

The O'Learys have suggested he might not run at Aintree if the handicapper is considered to have treated their horse unfairly, although many believe they will not easily turn down a chance at making racing history.