Tiger Roll shares top weight for Grand National but is yet to qualify for Aintree

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  • Aintree hero Tiger Roll has been allotted top weight of 11st 10lb for the Randox Health Grand National on 4 April if he attempts to make history by winning the famous race for three consecutive years.

    The 10-year-old, who is trained by Gordon Elliott and owned by Michael O’Leary’s Gigginstown House Stud, shares the top weight in the 2020 renewal with his stablemate, Delta Work. The latter is a leading contender in the Grade One Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup at the Festival three weeks before.

    Ten horses have been given 11 stone or more for this year’s Grand National. They include Bristol De Mai (11st 8lb) — one of seven contenders for dual Grand National-winning handler Nigel Twiston-Davies — 2018 Gold Cup victor Native River (11st 6lb) and Anibale Fly (11st 2lb).

    Tiger Roll has not yet qualified for the 2020 Grand National. He is entered to run in the Boyne Hurdle at Navan in Ireland on Sunday (16 February), but he has to run in a chase to qualify for Aintree. He is expected to head to the Cheltenham Festival for the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase.

    The gelding’s trainer has 18 entries in total — more than any other handler — as he chases a record-equalling fourth Grand National title.

    Last year’s runner-up Magic Of Light, trained by Jessica Harrington, has been handed 10st 12lb. While Walk In The Mill, who finished fourth and was the best British-trained runner, will carry 10st 4lb. The Christian Williams-trained Welsh National victor Potters Corner has been given 10st 6lb.

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    “The decision to make Tiger Roll and Delta Work joint-top weights was made essentially on two factors; historical compression [when weight is dropped], which was brought in by Phil Smith and has been used for the last 10 years or so. On the other hand, I have to give Tiger Roll this mark based on his efforts over the national fences at Aintree where he is of course unbeaten,” said British Horseracing Authority chase handicapper Martin Greenwood.

    “Tiger Roll was rated 172 at the end of last year and obviously there is no recent evidence to go on because of his fitness issues — so his handicap mark has been unquantifiable since.

    “Tiger Roll is therefore coming down 2lb and carries the same weight as Suny Bay did when he was second in the 1998 Grand National. No other horse has carried that rating since. Many Clouds won off 11st 9lb, but he did not have as high a rating. You could argue that it is the highest quality Grand National in modern history.”

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