Published: Fri, February 14, 2020
Sport | By

Tiger Roll only 50-50 for third National

Tiger Roll only 50-50 for third National

Sarah Kinsella, spokesperson for BoyleSports said: "Tiger Roll's new rating of 170 means he is 11lb greater than his second Aintree victory, compared to the 10st 13lb he had to carry when he won his first Grand National in 2018".

Ten horses have received 11 or more.

The locally-bred horse won the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2018 - he will aim for another next month - and has won in excess of £1m for his connections.

Gordon Elliott has 18 entries as he chases a record-equalling fourth Grand National.

Fellow Irish manager Willie Mullins, successful with Hedgehunter in 2005, has the impressive victor of the Great Irish National Burrows Saint (10º 10 pounds) among his nine contestants.

And Vintage Clouds - a first fence faller past year - is 30th with 10st 8lb following his fine win in last month's Peter Marsh Chase at Haydock. Nickel Coin in 1951 is the most recent mare to win the spectacular Aintree. The different mares engaged are Shattered Love (Gordon Elliott IRE, 10st 6lb), Atalanta Ablaze (Henry Daly, 9st 13lb), Cabaret Queen (Willie Mullins IRE, 9st 13lb).

Fourth-placed Walk In The Mill (Robert Walford, 10st 4lb) fared best of the British-trained runners in 2019. His score of 148 is similar as he carried in 2017.

The victor of the Welsh Grand National Potters Corner (Christian Wiliams) received the 10th 6lb, while the scorer of the Scottish Grand National Takingrisks (Nicky Richards) received the 10th 1lb. A high-profile instance could be Cadmium, a Topham Chase victor. Both horses are owned by J P McManus.

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.

"This decision was made essentially on two factors - historical compression which was brought in by Phil Smith and has been used for the last 10 years or so".

There are any number of variables which determine the victor of the world's greatest horse race, yet connections of Tiger Roll appear fixated that their champion has been handed a pound or two more than is reasonable. Therefore, it is losing 2 pounds and It has the same weight that Suny Bay did when it was second in the Grand National of 1998.

Elliott was more accepting of Tiger Roll's rating.

"It must be remembered that Tiger Roll ran in the race off a rating of 159 but was actually rated 167 at the time due to his win in the Cross Country at Cheltenham".

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.

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.

"It's a bit disappointing given the recent history", Eddie O'Leary said on Tuesday, pointing out Tiger Roll is being asked to give 4lb to Native River, the 2018 Cheltenham Gold Cup victor.

The next horse in the weights is Bristol De Mai (11st 8lb), trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies. I have dropped Native River 2lb to 166 as Bristol De Mai has finished in front of him the last couple of times they have met, and I thought he was workmanlike when winning at Newbury on Saturday.

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