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

Tiger Roll will return to action in Boyne Hurdle | Racing news

The Irish superstar is looking to become the first horse in history to win three National's in succession.

Tiger Roll, who past year became the first back-to-back winner of the National since legendary triple victor Red Rum in the 1970s, is owned by Gigginstown House Stud - led by airline boss Michael O'Leary and his brother Eddie.

"Tiger Roll has also not yet qualified for this year's National". Champion trainer Willie Mullins has entered Penhill, Killultagh Vic and Bachasson while Joseph O'Brien will saddle Gardens Of Babylon and Darasso. While he can run in the Boyne Hurdle in Navan (Sunday, February 14), he still has to run in a chase to qualify.

And Vintage Clouds - a first fence faller a year ago - is 30th with 10st 8lb following his fine win in last month's Peter Marsh Chase at Haydock.

No horse has carried more weight to victory since Ginger McCain's legendary Red Rum overcame a burden of 12st to record his second triumph in 1974.

"The Grand National is the biggest race in the world, it's bigger than any one horse". The J.P McManus owned 8-year old will carry 10st 6lb should he run in what would be his first attempt around the Liverpool track.

However, O'Leary has repeatedly stated Tiger Roll would only bid for another National win if connections were satisfied with his rating, and the immediate reaction to his mark of 170 and the compression of the handicap was one of frustration. "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".

Tiger Roll, who will be aged 10 by the time of the race in April, is the 13-2 favorite with some British bookmakers.

Twice Grand National Tiger Roll winner
Twice Grand National Tiger Roll winner

"It have to be remembered that Tiger Roll ran in the race off a score of 159 however was really rated 167 on the time on account of his win in the Cross Country at Cheltenham".

Sunday's outing will be a first look at Tiger Roll since having a chip removed from a joint in November, but Elliott has no qualms about him running, "Yeah he's in good form, he's back cantering since the 1st of January".

Other names to highlight are Kimberlite Candy (Tom Lacey, 10st 4lb), victor of the G3 Classic Handicap Chase in Warwick, and the victor of Listed Sky Bet Chase Ok Corral (Nicky Henderson, 10st 9lb).

However, the focus last night was on Tiger Roll. There are about 15 horses in total who now do not qualify because they have not run over fences this season or have not yet finished in the first four in a race of more than 23 and a half years in their career.A high-profile example would be Cadmium, a victor of Topham Chase. Other horses in direction of the highest embody Bristol de Mai and Native River. Bristol de Mai was rated 173 when entered past year and that figure has been downgraded since to 168.

"This year, 73% of registered horses are at a disadvantage". The welfare of the horse we feel is far more important to us than the race.

The race includes the winners of numerous "nationals", including the most recent Irish (Burrows Saint), Scottish (Takingrisks) and Welsh (Potters Corner). It is almost as good a staying handicap as could be run wherever.

"You could argue that it is the highest quality Grand National in modern history".

Storm Dennis warnings hit travel plans as attractions batten down the hatches
We have teams out across England today continuing to prepare for the severe weather that we are expecting over the weekend. Strong winds will primarily be an issue in the West of Ireland, but heavy rains may cause problems closer to home.

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