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Tiger Roll only '50-50' to go for third straight National win

 

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Grand feeling: Davy Russell and Tiger Roll win last year’s National

Grand feeling: Davy Russell and Tiger Roll win last year’s National

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Grand feeling: Davy Russell and Tiger Roll win last year’s National

Tiger Roll is no better than "50-50" to bid for an historic third straight victory in the Randox Health Grand National after Gigginstown House Stud's Eddie O'Leary expressed his disappointment following the publication of the weights.

The Gordon Elliott-trained 10-year-old became the first horse since Red Rum to claim back-to-back renewals of the world's most famous steeplechase last April, and is the clear favourite to emulate Ginger McCain's legend by becoming a three-time winner in April.

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.

Tiger Roll is due to make his first competitive appearance since his Aintree heroics in Sunday's Boyne Hurdle at Navan.

O'Leary said: "Hopefully he comes through Navan on Sunday okay, then go on to Cheltenham and hopefully that all goes okay and if he's okay at Cheltenham then we'll make a choice. At the moment it's 50-50.

"It (the weight) is a massive factor - we've said the whole way through this horse is on a very unfair rating.

"He was raised 12lb last year for winning a cross-country race. It was a reaction to the way he won the Boyne Hurdle last year, which was a surprise to all of us."

Meanwhile, Native River - described by his trainer Colin Tizzard last weekend as "the horse of a lifetime" - was allocated 11st 6lb in the Grand National weights.

The locally-bred horse won the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2018 - he will aim for another next month - and has won in excess of £1m for his connections.

However, the focus last night was on Tiger Roll.

O'Leary - whose brother Michael is the Gigginstown chief - added: "I'm very disappointed that they have only compressed him by a single pound.

"We're not going to jump up and down about it as we have said all we wanted to say already, but we will have to have a serious think about whether he will run or not."

Belfast Telegraph