After missing out on a historic bid to win a third consecutive Grand National in 2021, Tiger Roll could be set for a momentous return to Aintree following the first weights announcement.
The Gigginstown powerhouse, who won the National in 2018 and 2019, has been denied a hat-trick attempt first by the global crisis and then by the hand of the handicapper, who rated Tiger Roll as an 11st 9lb horse – a decision owner Michael O’Leary labelled as ‘unfair’.
The 12-year-old, who had romped to victory in the Cross Country Chase at the Cheltenham Festival just a few weeks prior, was subsequently scratched from the National field.
However, the bid to match Red Rum’s historic three-peat at Aintree could be on after the Irish raider was rated at 11st 4lb in the latest weights reveal – less than in either of his two previous winning visits.
That’s also the same mark that the 2021 champion, Minella Times, went off at, and gives Tiger Roll something of an edge on the top weights Galvin – who is the current ante-post favourite with the bookies – and Conflated.
No word has come from O’Leary or Gigginstown yet as to whether Tiger Roll will run at Aintree on April 9, but trainer Gordon Elliott certainly seems to think that it’s a possibility.
“He’s in very good form at home – we’ve been training him for Cheltenham all season, and we’re really looking forward to going back there,” the Irishman said.
“We’ll see how Cheltenham goes, but he has got a nice weight so the Grand National could be on the agenda. There is still a more in him and we are certainly not finished yet.”
In the meantime, Tiger Roll will return to another happy hunting ground as he looks to land an incredible sixth win at the Cheltenham Festival. The 12-year-old is being aimed at the Cross Country Chase, which he has already won on three previous occasions.
Mother Knows Best
The announcement of the weights has already had major repercussions for the Grand National betting market.
Galvin, the Cheltenham Challenge Cup winner who defeated Gold Cup runner up A Plus Tard back in December, and Conflated – the Irish Gold Cup winner – were the initial market principles, but they have been eased to 14/1 and 66/1 respectively after being assigned the top weight of 11st 10lb.
Melon and Chris’s Dream will also weigh in heavier than Tiger Roll at 11st 5lb, while defending champion Minella Times has once again been marked at 11st 4lb.
Chantry House, at 11st 3lb, will interest many given that he has won the Mildmay Novices’ Chase and the Cotswold Chase off a heavier mark, while Easysland – who defeated Tiger Roll at Cheltenham in 2020 – is another notable at 11st 2lb.
But the story of the Grand National could yet be Snow Leopardess, who would become the first mare since 1951 to win the race. At 10st 3lb, there’s plenty of upside for the Becher Chase winner, and her ascent to 16/1 joint third favourite is made all the more remarkable by the fact she has already foaled.
Her trainer, Charlie Longsdon, said:
“There is no doubt she loved those fences (when winning the Becher Chase). Her story with her being a mum is the sort of story I can see people really latching on to over the next couple months.
“It is all positive and we are all excited!