EQUINE superstar Tiger Roll has been allotted 11st 9lb as he attempts to follow in the hoof steps of the brilliant Red Rum (successful in 1973, 1974 and 1977) and become the second triple winner of the Aintree Grand National.
Successful in 2018 and 2019, 11-year-old Tiger Roll was denied the chance to attempt the treble last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic and has made two racecourse appearances so far this term. He is set to run next in the Grade Two Boyne Hurdle at Navan this Sunday a contest he won en route to his second Grand National success in 2019.
Tiger Roll’s trainer Gordon Elliott is responsible for 16 entries in this year’s Grand National, the most of any handler. If successful again this year he would join Fred Rimell and Ginger McCain as the most successful trainer in the world-famous race’s history.
Tiger Roll is 16-1 joint-favourite for the National. The other 16-1 joint-favourites are Kimberlite Candy (10st 10lb), twice runner-up in the Becher Handicap Chase over the Grand National fences at Aintree, and Cloth Cap (10st 5lb), impressive when winning the Grade Three Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury in November.
Elliott, who is based in Meath, said: “Tiger Roll is in good form and we are very happy with him.
“From the bottom of my heart it is hard to see him having much less weigh with him being such a specialist, but we have what we have now so we have got to take it and hopefully he can do us proud. Michael must make the decision, but we will see what happens."
Cloth Cap is trained by Castletownroche native Jonjo O’Neill and owned by Trevor Hemmings, the joint most successful owner in the history of the Grand National with three victories – Hedgehunter (2005), Ballabriggs (2011) and Many Clouds (2015).
In addition to Cloth Cap, Hemmings could also be represented by Lake View Lad (11st), winner of the Grade Two Many Clouds Chase over the Mildmay Course at Aintree in December, and Deise Aba (9st 13lb), who returned to form when landing a handicap chase at Sandown Park on February 6.
Trevor Hemmings has close connections with Cork and his famous colours are seen regularly on the point to points fields across the county.
Isle of Man-based Hemmings said: “The Grand National is the ultimate in my life as far I am concerned. I built a holiday village next to where Ginger McCain used to bring Red Rum, the beach at Ainsdale.
“If you look at the Blue Riband, which is the Cheltenham Gold Cup, it is probably the ultimate in Ireland and the UK and you look at the Grand National which is worldwide, it’s the Wembley of all of racing. That’s why I cherish Liverpool and that wonderful few days you can have in Grand National week.
“My most precious moment is winning the Grand National with Hedgehunter in 2005 in what I call the old stadium – the previous winner’s enclosure to what is used today. I was there with Willie and Jackie Mullins, his father Paddy and mother Maureen and his son Patrick, who we know now as a grown mature jockey, but was a kid back then.
"I will remember the passion of everybody.”
The octogenarian has another cracking chance of landing the spoils this year, he has a strong team of contenders, but Hemmings really fancies one.
"It usually goes down to about 80 to get a run and Deise Aba is 71. All being well, they should get in. I would say Cloth Cap is fair weather as likes to leave a footprint, Lake View Lad is heavy weather, and Deise Aba is any sort of weather.
“Catherine who looks after my business came up with the name Cloth Cap. Everybody knows me in this cloth cap although I have had to change it as my last one had a hole in it. I really fancy the chances of Cloth Cap and feel that he can run a big race.”