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"If he rates him fairly, he'll run" - Handicapper will decide Tiger Roll National bid

  • We bring you the news that Tiger Roll is not certain to run in the Grand National at Aintree
  • Gordon Elliott's star has won the last two Grand Nationals
  • Owner Michael O'Leary has said his new handicap mark would decide where the team go after Cheltenham
  • Tiger Rolls next run will be in the Cross Country Chase
tiger roll aintree
Tiger Roll jumps the last on his way to winning the 2019 Grand National. (Getty)

Michael O'Leary has never been one to mince his words. He's also never been shy to take a swipe at the British Handicapper.

Prior to the 2019 Grand National, O'Leary lamented the handicapper's decision to bump Tiger Roll up to 159, following his first Aintree win. The Tiger then proceeded to win his second National as he pleased, despite O'Leary claiming he was carrying far too much weight.

Gordon Elliott's star has struggled for form since then. Tiger Roll was soundly thrashed by Easysland in last season's Cross Country Chase, and was pulled up on his return to Cheltenham in a handicap last November.

Despite his troubles, Tiger Roll remains one of the highest-rated horses in the sport and Michael O'Leary has claimed that, if the handicapper doesn't loosen his grip on Tiger Roll's rating, then there will be no hat-trick bid at Aintree this season.

"He last won the National off 159." O'Leary said during Nick Luck's podcast on Sunday. 

"He’s run four times since and has not finished in the frame. He was beaten by Easysland by 17 lengths off level weights - Easysland is now rated 167, yet somehow Tiger Roll is still rated around 170 (Actually 168)."

“The plan for Gordon and Eddie (O’Leary racing manager) has always been to take him to the Cross Country at Cheltenham, where I believe he will be kicked out of the way again by Easysland, and then I think the options are possibly retirement or we may look at an entry in the Irish Grand National, where I think he would be more fairly weighted."

michael o'leary aintree
Gigginstown Stud boss Michael O'Leary lifting the Grand National winner's trophy. (Getty)

“I think if he rates him fairly, somewhere in the 150s then he’ll run in the Grand National. If he rates him in the 160s or 170s, he won’t and we’ll take him out after the weights."

“We’ve a responsibility to the horse. He owes us nothing, he’s a four-time winner at Cheltenham and a two-time Grand National winner."

“He’s getting older, he may not run again after Cheltenham. His last couple of runs suggest he’s not in love with the game anymore.”

Meanwhile, Aintree is very much on the agenda for Presenting Percy, who was scratched from the Gold Cup this week. As was Bristol De Mai, who's also heading for the Grand National, and they will top the weights when they are announced a week on Tuesday.

Another to have been removed from the Cheltenham Festival running was Waiting Patiently. Ruth Jefferson has decided Cheltenham just isn't the right track for her stable star, and they've decided to target either the Melling Chase of the Aintree Bowl.

"I took him out of the Champion Chase ages ago and I've now taken him out of the Ryanair Chase and the Gold Cup." Jefferson told the press this week.

"Thinking about it, we felt the King George wasn't the fastest run three-mile race in the world, so maybe the Gold Cup wasn't the right option.

"And, after his last race, he was going to need a little bit of veterinary attention, so we thought we'd leave him for Aintree. He's not had an issue as such, but the longer between his Clarence House run and his next run the better."

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