Tiger Roll given 7lb rise for potential Grand National hat-trick bid
Elliott says it would be ‘disappointing’ if owners don’t run star off 166 mark at Aintree
Tiger Roll is bidding for a Grand National hat-trick at Aintree. Photograph: Alex Livesey/Getty
Gordon Elliott admits it will be disappointing should Tiger Roll not run in the Randox Grand National after being allotted 11st 9lb — but underlined the final decision will rest with owner Michael O’Leary.
The diminutive 11-year-old was denied the chance to win the race three times in a row — something not even Red Rum managed — by the Covid-19 pandemic, but Elliott is training him to peak on April 10th.
However, it has been well documented that O’Leary and his brother Eddie felt he needed plenty of help from handicapper Martin Greenwood for him to stand any chance of winning the race again, warning he would not run if he was rated “in the 160s or 170s”.
Tiger Roll won in 2018 from a mark of 150 and defied a 9lb rise 12 months later. This year he is off 166, despite pulling up on his last appearance at Cheltenham in November.
“He has got 166 and he won off 159 two years ago when the race was last run. He seems in good form at home and we are looking forward to the race,” said Elliott.
“You are always hoping you are going to be a couple of pounds less than what you have been given, but to be honest we will just smile and take it.
“I have to concentrate on training the horse and I just hope his owner lets the horse run in the race for the public. Everyone will be looking forward to seeing the horse run again in the Grand National, but Michael will make that decision.
“It will be disappointing for everyone if he doesn’t turn up, but as you know he makes the decisions. He is 7lb higher than what he won off before, but it is probably fair enough.
“If you look at him he is not the biggest horse in the world, but he really seems to enjoy those fences.”
Regarding his run in November, Elliott said: “He made a mistake the last day at Cheltenham and he was lame after the race, but thankfully he is OK now.
“We injected his stifles behind and thankfully he is back sound and moving very well and we are very happy with him at the moment. We will just keep our heads up and hopefully he will be OK for the rest of the season.
“He is in the Boyne Hurdle at the weekend, but the ground is very soft, so we might not run him. If it isn’t too bad he will run, as he has run in it the last two years.
“He is in good form and if the ground is right for him we would like to run him as it’s a race he has won before.”
When contacted on Tuesday, Eddie O’Leary said: “We’ve said all we’re going to say on the matter and will be offering no further comment.”
Elliott has 15 other entries, but that has already been slimmed down by the news Delta Work is out for the season and the likes of Aforementioned, Monbeg Notorious and Roaring Bull are highly unlikely to make the cut.
Of his other hopefuls he added: “I would say I would hopefully run Presenting Percy (11st 9lb). He has had a little setback, but hopefully I will have him back for the National. Tiger Roll, The Storyteller (11st 8lb) and Alpha Des Obeaux (10st 9lb) will all hopefully go.
“I thought one down at the bottom with 10st 6lb could be very well handicapped, a horse called Milan Native. He has had a wind operation since his last run and he is one I am looking forward to for the Grand National this year.”
Three horses are weighted 1lb higher than Tiger Roll — Nigel Twiston-Davies’ Bristol De Mai, Tiger Roll’s Cheltenham conqueror Easysland and Gold Cup runner-up Santini.
Magic Of Light, second to Tiger Roll two years ago, has 10st 13lb, Ladbrokes Trophy winner Cloth Cap has been given 10st 5lb while Welsh National winner Secret Reprieve needs a little bit of luck to secure a place as he is on 10st 1lb.