Tiger Roll on course for historic bid after headlining National entries
Tiger Roll remains on course for his bid at creating Grand National history after featuring among 105 entries for this year’s contest.
The ten-year-old became the first horse since Red Rum to win back-to-back victories in the Aintree spectacular with a heart-warming success last year, but Gordon Elliott’s charge has yet to be seen on the track this term due to a leg injury.
There were rumours and concerns from his owner, Gigginstown House Stud, that his participation in this year’s marathon contest may be in doubt, however he looks likely to take up his National engagement, with a pit-stop in bidding to win Cheltenham’s Cross-Country Chase for the third year in a row also on the agenda.
Should he make it to the race, for which he is the 13/2* favourite, Tiger Roll will bid to become an immortal by becoming the only horse to win three Grand National’s in a row.
While it is likely there will be a 40-strong field at Aintree in April, the initial entries are down by seven runners this year, with 112 horses entered at this stage in 2019.
Tiger Roll heads huge Irish battalion
The limelight will certainly be on Tiger Roll, but there is set to be a strong representation of Irish runners in the marathon contest too as the emerald isle look for their fourth victory in five years.
Gordon Elliott’s number one hope is Tiger Roll, however the Cullentra handler has made a total of 18 entries – more than any other trainer – and will become the joint-most successful trainer in Grand National history if one of them were to succeed.
Other notable members that could be a part of Elliott’s team include Cheltenham Gold Cup hopeful Delta Work and National Hunt Chase fancy Champagne Classic, with the 50/1* shot more likely to turn up to Liverpool than the former.
Willie Mullins is yet to add to his 2005 success with Hedgehunter but has a formidable 10 entries to choose from, including last year’s Irish Grand National hero and 20/1* second-favourite Burrows Saint and this year’s Thyestes Chase winner Total Recall, who pulled up in the contest two years ago.
One horse who won’t be crossing the Irish sea is former Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Sizing John, who had sadly been ruled out for the rest of the season. But Jessica Harrington will still be represented by last year’s second, Magic Of Light.
Home team headlined by former Gold Cup winner
As expected, English-based trainers dominate the entries as they look take back the National crown for the first time since 2015.
They are led by 2018 Gold Cup winner Native River, whose bold jumping and front-running tactics could be a sight to behold on Merseyside and alongside Elegant Escape, is one of two entries for the in-form Colin Tizzard.
At 20/1*, recent Classic Chase winner Kimberlite Candy is the highest in the betting of English runners, while the likes of dual Becher Chae hero Walk In The Mill, Le Breuil and last weekend’s Sky Bet Chase winner Ok Corral have all been given an entry.
An intriguing entry is recent Peter Marsh Chase winner Vintage Clouds, who was unlikely to head to Aintree but after a change of heart from trainer Sue Smith, may now bid to give owner Trevor Hemmings yet another National success.
Previous hero back for more
One For Arthur hasn’t had the easiest of times since his 2017 success in the race, but is set to reappear once again and try to regain his crown.
The 11-year-old has only raced five times since without success but showed signs of recapturing his old form when fifth in the Becher Chase last time out.
There is already another National winner set to contest the race, with Christian Williams reporting his Welsh Grand National hero, Potters Corner, is fully on target for the contest.
If he was to add another National success to his name, he will emulate the likes of Bindaree and Silver Birch who have won both English and Welsh versions in recent times.
*Odds subject to change.