Tiger Roll has been allotted 11st 9lb as he attempts to follow in the footsteps of the immortal Red Rum (successful in 1973, 1974 and 1977) and become the second triple winner of the Randox Grand National.
Weights for the world’s greatest steeplechase are released today ahead of the Aintree showpiece, which is to be staged for the 173rd time on Saturday 10th April.
Successful in 2018 and 2019, 11-year-old Tiger Roll was denied the chance to attempt the treble in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and has made two appearances so far this season. He is set to run next in the Grade Two Boyne Hurdle at Navan this Sunday (February 21st) a race he won en route to his second Grand National success in 2019.
Tiger Roll’s trainer Gordon Elliott is responsible for 16 entries in this year’s Grand National, the most of any handler. If successful again this year he would join Fred Rimell and Ginger McCain as the most successful trainer in the race’s history.
Elliott, who is based in County Meath, said: “Tiger Roll is in good form and we are very happy with him.
“We are hoping to run him in the Boyne Hurdle on Sunday all being well, if the ground isn’t too soft. He came home and he was lame after the race at Cheltenham the last day. 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.
“I am looking forward to the Cross Country race at Cheltenham then hopefully on to the Randox Health Grand National at Aintree all being well. I am training him for the race (Grand National) and I will be keen to run him. Obviously Michael (O’Leary) owns him and pays the bills so he will make the final decision. It will be disappointing for everyone if he doesn’t turn up but as you know he makes the decisions. He is seven pounds higher than what he won off before but it is probably fair enough. I sort of expected that really.
“From the bottom of my heart it is hard to see him having much less (weight) with him being a such specialist, but we have what we have now so we have got to take it and hopefully he can do us proud. Michael has to make the decision but we will see what happens.
“I would say I would hopefully run Presenting Percy. He has had a little setback but hopefully I will have him back for the National. Tiger Roll, The Storyteller and Alpha Des Obeaux will all hopefully go.
“I thought one down the bottom there with 10st 6lb could be very well handicapped is 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 Randox Grand National this year.”
The most successful trainers of all-time in the Randox Grand National
Tiger Roll is 16-1 joint-favourite for the Randox Health Grand National with Betway, official betting partner of the Randox Grand National Festival. The other 16-1 joint-favourites are Kimberlite Candy, twice runner-up in the Becher Handicap Chase over the Grand National fences at Aintree, and Cloth Cap, impressive when landing the Grade Three Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury in November.
Cloth Cap is trained by Jonjo O’Neill and owned by Trevor Hemmings, the joint most successful owner in the history of the Grand National with three victories – Hedgehunter (2005), Ballabriggs (2011) and Many Clouds (2015). In addition to Cloth Cap, Hemmings could also be represented by Lake View Lad, winner of the Grade Two Many Clouds Chase over the Mildmay Course at Aintree in December, and Deise Aba, who returned to form when landing a handicap chase at Sandown Park on February 6th.
Isle of Man-based Hemmings said: “The Grand National is the ultimate in my life as far I am concerned. I built a holiday village next to where Ginger McCain used to bring Red Rum, the beach at Ainsdale. As a result of that and working with Fred Pontin (owner of 1971 Grand National winner Specify) I had to work the weekend Fred won with the Grand National and that also captured me. I had to finish the holiday village at Ainsdale and he went off for the weekend and won the Grand National with Specify.
“If you look at the Blue Riband, which is the Cheltenham Gold Cup, which is probably the ultimate in the UK and you look at the Grand National which is worldwide - it’s the Wembley of all of racing. That’s why I cherish Liverpool and that wonderful few days you can have in Grand National week.
“My most precious moment is winning the Grand National (with Hedgehunter in 2005) in what I call the old stadium – the previous winner’s enclosure to what is used today. The history of all that had happened before was still in that winner’s enclosure. That area where the horses were brought in to. I was there with Willie and Jackie Mullins, his father Paddy and mother Maureen and his son Patrick, who we know now as a grown mature jockey, but was a kid back then. I will remember the passion of everybody.
“Of my three entries this year Cloth Cap would look to have the best chance. We have two that should be in the race as they are number 13 and number 46 I think in the list. It usually goes down to about 80 to get a run and Deise Aba is 71. All being well, they should get in. I would say Cloth Cap is fair weather as likes to leave a footprint, Lake View Lad is heavy weather and Deise Aba is any sort of weather.
“Catherine who looks after my business came up with the name Cloth Cap. Everybody knows me in this cloth cap although I have had to change it as my last one had a hole in it!
“I was vaccinated at the end of last month and am due another a week from now. It is an easy thing to do and everybody should it – nobody wants to miss out on the chance of living longer.”
Jonjo O’Neill, trainer of Cloth Cap, added: “I am very happy with Cloth Cap. The important thing for him is the ground. He needs good ground so I hope they run out of water there!
“We were planning this last year really but it didn’t happen. Unfortunately he just didn’t perform the way that we had hoped he would, but this year he came back in great form.
“He’s a stronger horse all over. His run at Cheltenham was very nice and we were very happy with that. We didn’t think we’d get in the Ladbrokes Trophy really as we thought we would get balloted out but he just crept in at the bottom as luck would have it and now we are here.
“He jumps and he stays well so it’s the obvious race to go for - 10st 5lbs is a real nice weight and Trevor loves the National. We are hoping to get a prep race into him either at Kempton or Doncaster.”
Trevor Hemmings went on to pay tribute to Rose Paterson, the late Chairman of Aintree who died in 2020.
He continued: “Rose Paterson was such a lovely person and it is hard to realise that she is no longer part of Aintree in today’s world.
“She will always be part of Aintree as far as I am concerned and for many other people will feel the same. She was so nice, so level headed and never missed out anybody, whether they be old or young, rich or poor. She was a super lady and one we will miss very much. I am so sorry for the Paterson family.”
The most successful owners of all-time in the Randox Grand National - 3 winners each
Randox Grand National Handicap Chase (Grade 3)
Aintree, 5.15pm, Saturday, 10 April, 2021. 4m 2f 74yds. For seven-year-olds and upwards, which, prior to March 23rd, have Started in a steeple chase during the current season, and have been placed first, second, third or fourth in a steeple chase with an official distance description of 'two miles seven and a half furlongs' or more, at any time during the horse's career. Horses must be also allotted a rating of 125 or more by the BHA Handicapper following a review of the horses entered and after taking account of races run up to and including February 14th. Horses which are not qualified for a rating in Great Britain or Ireland at closing may also be entered. Such horses may be eligible for a weight providing the Handicapper is satisfied that the horse's racecourse performances up to and including 14 February would merit a minimum rating of 125. To qualify, horses must have run at least three times in Steeple Chases run under the Rules of Racing of the same Recognised Racing Authority up to and including February 14th. At the Handicapper's discretion, such hhorses may be allotted a rating. Entries closed 2 February (106 entries), weights revealed 16 February, first scratchings deadline 2 March, second scratchings deadline 23 March, five-day confirmation stage 5 April, final declaration stage 8 April. Lowest weight 10st; highest weighy 11st 10lb. No penalties after publication of the weights. To be ridden by Jockeys or Amateur Riders who, before 8 April, 2021, have ridden not less than 15 winners in steeple chases or hurdle races under the Rules of Racing and/or the Rules of the Irish National Hunt Steeple Chase Committee and ridden not less than 10 of these winners in steeple chases.
Randox Grand National, Betway odds:
Betway PR Manager, Chad Yeomans, said: “Six of the last 10 winners of the Grand National have carried 11 stone or less, and given marks of 153 and 148 respectively – and as a result, carrying less than 11 stone – both Kimberlite Candy and Cloth Cap head our market as 16-1 joint-favourites, for what looks like the most open renewal in years.
“Tiger Roll’s handicap mark of 166 could raise doubts over his participation if his owners’ words are true, but if he were to be successful at Cheltenham next month, could they resist one final crack at the ‘World’s Greatest Steeplechase’? He’s been popular with the Betway punters and if he does run, it’d be surprising if he doesn’t go off favourite on the day.”