Tiger Roll features amongst Aintree entries
Two-time winner Tiger Roll was amongst a list of 107 hopefuls entered in the Randox Grand National this week.
The world’s most recognisable steeplechase is slated for Saturday, April 9th, and the Gigginstown House Stud-owned 12-year-old could yet bid to add a third Aintree win.
Winner under Davy Russell in 2018 and 2019 – the first horse to win back-to-back Nationals since Red Rum – Gordon Elliott’s star was denied a shot at the hat-trick bid in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic and his owners elected not to run last year, believing his mark was too high.
Well beaten in his runs since, it remains to be seen if the handicapper will give Tiger Roll enough slack for his connections to head for Aintree.
He’s expected to run in the Cross Country race at next month’s Cheltenham Festival – with some predicting that may be his swansong.
Times could be back again
Last year’s winner, the Henry de Bromhead-trained Minella Times, could try to repeat the feat that saw Rachael Blackmore become the first female rider to take the world’s most famous steeplechase, with the JP McManus runner featuring on the entry list.
Elliott also has Galvin in the mix, while Ted Walsh’s Any Second Now is another possible leading Irish raider. He, too, is owned by McManus and finished third last year under Mark Walsh despite meeting interference in the run.
Cloth Cap could go again
The Jonjo O’Neill-trained Cloth Cap couldn’t deliver as a well-backed favourite in 2021, pulled up by Tom Scudamore, but is in line for a possible crack at the race again.
Shock Irish Grand National hero Freewheelin Dylan, Scottish National victor Mighty Thunder and Aintree’s Becher Chase heroine Snow Leopardess are also entered.
Cloth Cap of course won the Ladbrokes Trophy en route to starting favourite last season and Cloudy Glen and Fiddlerontheroof – first and second in the famous Newbury handicap this season – are both National possibles.
Jonjo hoping for better
Jonjo O’Neill couldn’t bag a Grand National victory in his own riding career but the Jackdaws Castle handler famously sent out Don’t Push It in 2010 to end the hoodoo of AP McCoy in the race.
Alongside Cloth Cap, he’s got Cheltenham Festival winner Easysland and Time To Get Up in the mixing bowl for 2022.
He’s certainly not giving up on Cloth Cap’s hopes of winning the National.
“It will be the same as last year for him in that he will either go to Doncaster (Grimthorpe Chase) or to the race he won at Kelso (Premier Chase) first,” confirmed the trainer.
“He does need genuine good ground though, otherwise he will have no chance. Although he does keep galloping he was a little bit free in last year’s race and he didn’t get home as his wind caught him out but hopefully he will get home this year.
“I think the handicapper overreacted to his Ladbrokes Trophy win in 2020 and it was a bit of a false reading. He started this season on a mark of 156 – he is back down to 147 but he will need that to get in.”