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Will Tiger Roll run in his third Grand National?

As the great Tiger Roll is only nine years old, you would presume that the answer to this question is yes! Why wouldn’t he run in the 2020 Grand National and attempt to win three in a row, something even the legendary Red Rum didn’t manage? He’s young enough to run as many four further Grand Nationals but the handicapper will have something to say about his chances of winning.

If the handicapper isn’t lenient with Tiger Roll, it is possible that he will not run.

Why should the handicapper be generous with Tiger Roll?

Tiger Roll is owned by Michael O’Leary’s Gigginstown House Stud. Mr. O’Leary’s racing interests are managed by his brother Eddie who is asking the handicapper to be generous with Tiger Roll when allotting weights for next year’s race. He has pointed out that handicappers tend to condense the weights of the top-rated horses in the Grand National. This is done to encourage the best horses to run and on the theory that in such a long and arduous race, each extra pound makes much more of a difference than it would over a shorter distance.

What does the handicapper say?

For his part, British racing’s top jumps handicapper, Martin Greenwood, has said that you can’t give special treatment to the best horses. He feels that the O’Leary’s are trying to blackmail him by threatening not to run Tiger Roll.

Tiger Roll’s official rating is now a massive 172, ensuring that he will carry the top weight in the race. Could he win again with 11st 10lbs on his back? Eddie O’Leary has indicated that he thinks this weight should be reduced by up to 9lbs.

Martin Greenwood has pointed out that weight compression was introduced to tempt horses which do not usually run in handicaps to enter the Grand National. It is not a practice designed to tempt the top-rated handicappers to Aintree. Horses with a good record at Aintree have sometimes even had their ratings raised rather than reduced.

Can you railroad the handicapper?

Greenwood has stated that he won’t be pushed into a corner and that he intends to give Tiger Roll what he considers to be a fair weight. If the O’Learys don’t like it, they can choose not to run the horse. He feels that the Grand National shouldn’t be all about one runner and should be fair for everybody.
The trouble is, with the possibility of an historic treble being achieved, the 2020 race will be all about Tiger
Roll, won’t it?

Going for the treble

Everybody will be hoping that Tiger Roll runs in the Grand National next year, except perhaps the owners of the other horses in the race! He won the last two Nationals with ratings of 150 and 159. Could 172 be a step too far?

Who knows what will happen here? Are the O’Leary’s issuing empty threats or would they really withdraw Tiger Roll if the handicapper isn’t kind to him? It would be a huge shame if we all miss out on the opportunity to watch this undoubtedly amazing horse race for the treble.


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