Tiger Roll Allotted Top Weight in Grand National 2020
Gigginstown House Stud, Tiger Roll and stablemate Delta Work have both respectively been allotted top weights for the 2020 Randox Health Grand National race at Aintree Racecourse, much to their owner’s disdain. The Ryanair tycoon is most disappointed with the 11st 10lb that has been given to Tiger Roll and has reservations about running the back-to-back champion in the illustrious race.
With a prize fund of £1 million, the Randox Health Grand National is one of the most highly anticipated races of the sporting season and the world’s richest Jump race! Tiger Roll, who is the only horse since Red Rum to achieve dual successive titles is seeking to emulate and do one better than his predecessor by going for a third win in consecutive years. But Eddie O’Leary, racing manager of his brother’s stables has ruled him out as a definite contender due to the weight factor. In an interview, he previously stated that he had a figure in mind and that, if officials didn’t hit the number on the head then Tiger Roll won’t be running.
After the issuing of the 170 rating, O’Leary described the decision to be “unfair” comparing the two-time winner to the other contenders in the mix. He told the Racing Post: “Delta Work is our Gold Cup horse and the handicapper thinks Tiger Roll is as good as him, that makes no sense to me at all.”
In 2018, the 10-year-old had an official rating of 150 and a rating of 159 in the 2019 Grand National after winning a cross country chase. This year, Gigginstown House Stud are expected to up Tiger Rolls weight by 4lbs, whilst Native River, who was the 2018 Gold Cup winner has been compressed by 2lbs – a factor O’Leary has isolated as unjust. The Gordon Elliott-trained horse is the odds favourite with the betting firms but pushing the horse under that amount could be a huge risk.
Tiger Roll hasn’t run since last year’s Grand National but will have his chance to prepare at Navan in the Boyne Hurdle and again in the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase at Cheltenham, which would mark his fifth victory in the race at Cheltenham Festival. It is a unique test, run over three miles and six furlongs with a total of 37 obstacles for the horse to clear.
He’ll have to run in a chase to clarify for the Grand National either way, which has a star-studded field of entries for 2020. Tiger Roll’s stablemate has already qualified following his epic victory in the G1 Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown, where he snatched the Savills Chase title from Monalee.
The Weights Other Runners Have Been Assigned…
Aside from the Gigginstown House Stud duo, another ten horses have been allocated 11st or more, including second-place Paddy Power Cotswold Chase-finisher, Bristol de Mai (11st 8lb), the Colin Tizzard-trained horse Native River (11st 6lb) and J P McManus’ Anibale Fly (Tony Martin IRE, 11st 2lb), fourth in 2018 and fifth in 2019.
2019 Irish Gold Cup winner Burrows Saint has been handed 10st 10lb. Tiger Rolls rival, Magic of Light, who will surely have many supporters also comes in under 11st at 10st 12lb and joining the strong Irish cohort, Kimberlite Candy (10st 4lb), Walk In The Mill (10st 4lb), Potters Corner (10st 6lb) and Ok Corral (10st 9lb).
Elliott, who is seeking his fourth Grand National victory, to equal Ginger McCain’s record of four (three in the 1970s on Red Rum and one with Amberleigh House in 2004) has 18 entries in total – more than any other trainer in 2020.
Willie Mullins halves Elliott’s entry total with nine contenders. His last and only triumph in the Grand National came in 2005, when Hedgehunter stunned the masses, winning the race by 14 lengths!
Tiger Roll’s nemesis, and last year’s runner-up Magic Of Light (Jessica Harrington IRE) will be looking to seal her first victory in the race. It’s been 69 years since a mare won the Aintree extraordinaire, does she have what it takes to rewrite history and record her name in Aintree folklore?
She’s up against Gordon Elliott’s Shattered Love, Henry Daly’s Atalanta Ablaze and the Willie Mullins-trained Cabaret Queen for the mares.
Arguably this is set to be the highest quality Grand National in modern day history due to the high calibre of runners entered in the race, with the majority being in the handicap.
British Horseracing Authority chase handicapper Martin Greenwood, who allocated the weights for the Grand National spoke out on his decision to give Tiger Roll top weight. He told the Jockey Club: “I have to give Tiger Roll this mark based on his efforts over the national fences at Aintree where he is of course unbeaten.”
“Tiger Roll was rated 172 at the end of last year and obviously there is no recent evidence to go on because of his fitness issues, so his handicap mark has been unquantifiable since.”
Racegoers and fans can only hope that the O’Leary team will let Tiger Roll run in the distinguished race after his attempt in the cross-country chase at Cheltenham. The possibility of Tiger Roll emulating and to put it plainly, succeeding Red Rum has been captivating fans since he stomped to glory in last year’s Grand National.
A three-time winner is stuff of dreams – Aintree Racecourse is definitely on the map this Spring. Don’t miss out on this race taking place on the meetings finale, Grand National Day.