Donn McClean: 2020 Grand National wouldn't be the same without Tiger Roll

Carrie Guzman
February 14, 2020

It's going to be even harder for Tiger Roll to win another Grand National and become the first horse to do an unprecedented "three-peat" in racing's most gruelling steeplechase.

Tiger Roll is no better than 50-50 to bid for an historic third victory in the Grand National with part-owner Eddie O'Leary disappointed with his weight of 11 stone 10lb (74kg).

Tiger Roll is aiming to emulate the legendary Red Rum as a three-time victor and the first to make it three-in-a-row, but expect plenty of commentary from Gigginstown about "will he or won't he run" over the next few weeks.

Red Rum won three times, but three years separated his second and third triumphs.

Tiger Roll is the joint-top weight with Delta Force, also trained by Irishman Gordon Elliott, for the race on April 4 at Aintree Racecourse.

But O'Leary, brother of Gigginstown House boss Michael, has repeatedly said Tiger Roll would only bid for another National if connections were satisfied with his rating, and the immediate reaction to his mark of 170 and the compression of the handicap was one of frustration. His score of 148 is similar as he carried in 2017. The J.P McManus owned 8-year old will carry 10st 6lb should he run in what would be his first attempt around the Liverpool track.

Trainer Elliott is also aware Tiger Roll does need to run in a chase this season to qualify for the National, and added: "The cut off to qualify for the Grand National is March 16, so if Tiger Roll doesn't run at Cheltenham, it will be a disaster as he won't be qualified".

Grand National 2020: Tiger Roll given top weight for Aintree race in April
Tiger Roll only '50-50' to go for third straight National win

However, the focus last night was on Tiger Roll. A high-profile example would be Cadmium, a Topham Chase victor. He is subsequently coming down 2lb and carries the identical weight as Suny Bay did when he was second in the 1998 Grand National.

"This year, 73% of the horses entered are in the handicap".

"It have to be remembered that Tiger Roll ran in the race off a score of 159 however was really rated 167 on the time on account of his win in the Cross Country at Cheltenham".

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. Whilst he might run in the Boyne Hurdle at Navan (Sunday, 14 February), he nonetheless has to run in a chase to qualify.

"Delta Work is a potential contender for the Cheltenham Gold Cup and, to keep the most horses at a disadvantage, it is also out of 170". Other horses in direction of the highest embody Bristol de Mai and Native River. Bristol de Mai was rated 173 when he entered past year and that number has been reduced to 168. Similarly, since an initial rating of 140, there are more horses than ever in the modern era registered for the race, 92 in total.

"The race is filled with top-class people and boasts the winners of races such because the Grand National, Irish National, Welsh National, Rowland Meyrick Chase, Cheltenham Gold Cup and far more. It's a handicap as good as it would be to run." anywhere.

Handicapper Martin Greenwood said it was arguably the "highest quality Grand National in modern history".

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