Tiger Roll given Grand National green light

Tiger Roll moved a step closer to racing immortality on Friday when Gigginstown racing manager Eddie O'Leary gave the green light for the legendary ten-year-old to contest the Randox Health Grand National.

Tiger Roll winning the Randox Health Grand National Handicap Chase (Grade 3)
Tiger Roll winning the Randox Health Grand National Handicap Chase (Grade 3) Picture: Pat Healy Photography

The dual Grand National winner will return to Aintree provided all goes to plan in his intended prep races at Navan on Sunday and at the Cheltenham Festival.

Red Rum is the only horse to have won three Grand Nationals, achieving his celebrated hat-trick in 1973, 1974 and 1977, but three in a row has never been done and O'Leary revealed to the Racing Post on Friday lunchtime that Tiger Roll will try to attempt the feat.

He said: "We all had a sit down on Thursday night to discuss everything and we've decided Tiger Roll will definitely run in the Grand National provided everything goes okay on his return to action at Navan on Sunday and in the cross-country at Cheltenham next month."

Gordon Elliott, who has not only trained Tiger Roll to win the Grand National in 2018 and 2019 but also 2007 winner Silver Birch, was understandably thrilled with the outcome of the crucial Thursday night talks.

Elliott said: "It's great news and hopefully we can get him to Aintree in one piece now. This is about Tiger Roll and nothing else. He's the horse of a lifetime and he's now the people's horse, so it was important that we made an early decision. 

"People are now coming racing because of Tiger Roll. There will be people at Navan on Sunday who wouldn't be going unless he was running. He has a massive following and we acknowledge that. What could you possibly say about the horse that has not been said already? We might never see the like of him again, certainly not in our lifetime anyway."

Tiger Roll  is generally 5-1 favourite for the Grand National, although he is 6-1 with Boylesports, William Hill and Unibet, and is set to reappear in the Ladbrokes Boyne Hurdle at Navan on Sunday under Keith Donoghue. 

Elliott is expecting big improvement from what he shows at Navan on Sunday and is not anticipating a repeat of his win in the race last year.

"He's only been back cantering since January 1 and people shouldn't be expecting fireworks. He'll be ridden out the back and to run well and hopefully he can pass a few horses. If he does that and enjoys himself then it'll be job done."

Racing Post