Tiger Roll withdrawn from the Grand National due to "unfair weight"
- We bring you the news that Tiger Roll has been removed from the Grand National field
- Michael O'Leary said last month that the two-time winner would only run if he got a fair weight
- The British Handicapper decided to hand Tiger Roll a rating of 166
- "The handicapper has decided to rate him on his reputation rather than his form"
Tiger Roll and Davy Russell celebrating their Grand National success in 2019. (Getty)
A terrible few days for National Hunt racing fans got even worse on Tuesday, when Gigginstown Studd withdrew Tiger Roll from the 2021 Grand National.
Tiger Roll's exploits at Aintree, and at the Cheltenham Festival, had turned Gordon Elliott's star into the poster boy for the sport. The fan's favourite has won four times at the Cheltenham Festival, and became the first horse since Red Rum to win back-to-back Grand Nationals in 2018 and '19.
Since that second Grand National triumph, Tiger Roll has failed to win any of his five starts. Last month, Michael O'Leary of Gigginstown Stud threatened to removed Tiger Roll from the Grand National, if the British Handicapper didn't rate him fairly "in the 150s".
Martin Greenwood ignored those threats, rating Tiger Roll at 166 - seven pounds higher than his last winning mark, and that rating would have seen Tiger Roll carry 11-09 into his third National.
True to his word, O'Leary has this week withdrawn Tiger Roll from this year's Grand National.
“The horse is now 11 years old." A spokesman for Gigginstown said when the news broke. "He was beaten by 17 lengths in last year’s Cheltenham Cross Country and by 75 lengths in last month’s Boyne Hurdle."
"His form over an extended 2-year period suggests he is clearly not as good as he was when he won the National in April 2019."
“Despite this pretty obvious decline, the handicapper has given him a mark of 166, which is 7 pounds higher than when he won his 2nd Grand National in April 2019."
“We made it clear that if Tiger Roll was rated in the 150s, which is what his form and age now warrants, he would be allowed to run this year’s National and go for a historic 3 in a row."
“However, the handicapper has decided to rate him on his reputation rather than his form – which we fully accept is his prerogative – but we have a duty of care to Tiger, and so we will not ask him to carry an unfair weight burden.”
With the two-time defending champion out of the picture, Cloth Cap has risen to the top of the 2021 Grand National betting.
Jonjo O'Neill's Ladbrokes Trophy winner has been clipped into 14/1 with bet365, ahead of Kimberlite Candy, Burrows Saint and Secret Reprieve, who all sit on 16/1.
2019 runner-up, Magic Of Light is a 20/1 shot. Top-weight Bristol De Mai can be found at 25s, along with Acapella Bourgeois and Potters Corner.