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

Tiger Roll has won the last two Aintree Grand Nationals

The 10-year-old boy had an official rating of 150 at the Randox Health Grand National 2018 and challenged a rating of 159 in last year's edition.

The 2018 and 2019 victor, trained in Ireland by Gordon Elliott, has been given 11st 10lb alongside stablemate Delta Work.

Eddie O'Leary, the owner's brother and racing manager, has said before top weights in recent years have been generously handled by the handicapper - that was not his opinion about their treatment.

The moment Tiger Roll and Davy Russell made Grand National history past year but will they line up in the 2020 race?

"I'm not sure. One thing for certain is that he'll be entered in the Betfair Bowl (a Grade One over 3m1f) as well".

He feels it is unfair Tiger Roll must concede weight to Cheltenham Gold Cup victor, Native River. "The man [handicapper] says we are a Gold Cup victor off our rating, which I believe is very, very unfair, and if we are a Gold Cup victor we are better off in the Bowl".

Before all that, Tiger Roll is due to run at Navan in the Boyne Hurdleon Sunday - it could be a last outing in Ireland. "That's at the front of our minds at the moment". Whether he shows up at Aintree for the Grand National is another story altogether, however.

His performance when winning the race a year ago was jaw dropping to say the least and I'm sure racing fans will flock to Navan to see him starting his campaign again. He is trained at High Eldwick by Sue and Harvey Smith, who saddled Auroras Encore to National glory in 2013, and could reappear in Haydock's Grand National Trial this weekend. He's on 10st 10lb. A high-profile example would be Cadmium, a Topham Chase victor. He needs seven higher-rated horses to be withdrawn to make the 40-runner cut.


British Horseracing Authority chase handicapper Martin Greenwood, who framed the weights for the second time this year and has total discretion for the Randox Health Grand National, said: "I have made Tiger Roll and Delta Work joint top-weights for the Randox Health Grand National".

Red Rum won three times, but three years separated his second and third triumphs. No other horse has carried that rating since then, many clouds won 11st 9lb, but it did not have such a high rating. "You always think your chances of winning a second time are slim", said Peter Scudamore, trainer Lucinda Russell's partner, "but the weight does not leave us without hope".

"Tiger Roll was rated 172 at the end of previous year and obviously there is no recent evidence to go on because of his fitness issues, so his handicap mark has been unquantifiable since".

"Tiger Roll has also not yet qualified for this year's Grand National".

Tiger Roll is set to make his first start since his Aintree heroics of last spring in the Boyne Hurdle at Navan on Sunday, before bidding for a third straight win in the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.

He added: "The race is full of top-class individuals and boasts the winners of races such as the Grand National, Irish National, Welsh National, Cheltenham Gold Cup and much more".

That race proved Burrows Saint's fitness while keeping his handicap mark until Tuesday's weights launch - and he looks good for an ante-post play.

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