2021 presents opportunity of Tiger Roll vs Easysland
The 2021 Randox Health Grand National cannot come quick enough for many horse racing fans, with the loss of the world’s most famous steeplechase in 2020 a huge blow to the sport.
Speculation has already begun about who could line up in 2021 and one of the possibilities is a rematch between Tiger Roll and Easysland, the front two from the 2020 Cross Country Chase at Cheltenham.
Easysland got the better of the 2018 and 2019 Cross Country winner Tiger Roll in an impressive display last week from the six-year-old, who is clearly a horse with a huge future in the sport.
It was the first time Tiger Roll had been beaten in the Cross Country at the Festival. Although he had to settle for second place, he was still a long way clear of the rest of the pack in the 3m6f race on day two of the meeting.
Easysland did not hold an entry in the 2020 Grand National but will be seven by the time the race comes along in 2021. With more experience on his side, connections may take their chance at Aintree.
The 2020 Cross Country winner jumped well at Cheltenham and stayed on strongly at the finish, two attributes that will stand him in good stead.
Although Tiger Roll was no match for the younger horse at Cheltenham, the result could be much different over the long trip of 4m2½f on Merseyside. The Irish horse was expected to peak for his history-making attempt. A similar path is expected for the two-time winner in 2021.
Interestingly, Tiger Roll has opened up as the 10/1* favourite with some bookmakers to record his third success in the race in 2021. Easysland, on the other hand, have been given a quote of 33/1*, odds which would surely shorten if he was confirmed for the world’s most famous steeplechase.
There is also the possibility the two horses could meet again before Aintree around the Cross Country Course at Cheltenham. Easysland was two from two at Cheltenham in the 2019/20 campaign, while he also had a host of other wins in France.
Shades of Red Rum vs Crisp
The rivalry between Tiger Roll and Easysland has shades of Red Rum and Crisp all over it. The latter two horses fought out the finish in the 1973 Grand National when Red Rum just found more in the run in to the finish line.
Crisp went into that race in 1973 with a huge reputation. The Australian horse, who was nicknamed the “Black Kangaroo”, was the 9/1 joint-favourite with Red Rum, as the bookmakers could not separate the two runners in the betting.
Like Crisp, Easysland is also trained outside of the UK. He is based in David Cottin’s stable in Chantilly, France. Given how prestigious a lot of the races are on the National Hunt calendar this side of the Channel, we are likely to see much more of the French horse over the next few years.
Unfortunately, racing fans only saw Red Rum and Crisp face off once in the Grand National. Tiger Roll is only 10 years old, so this new rivalry in the sport could see the pair meet more than once at Aintree.
*Odds subject to change.