Aintree hero Tiger Roll tops 112 Grand National contenders

2018 victor leads record Irish entry in the marathon feature

  • Wednesday 30 January
  • News
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Last year’s winner Tiger Roll is one 112 initial entries for the Randox Health Grand National.

With a total prize fund of £1million, the four-mile-two-furlong Aintree spectacular is the most valuable jumps race in the world.

Last season Tiger Roll provided Gordon Elliott with a second Grand National triumph, narrowly denying the Willie Mullins-trained Pleasant Company in a thrilling and Irish-dominated finish.

There is likely to be a strong raiding party once again, with Tiger Roll and Pleasant Company among a record 47 Irish-trained entries for this year’s renewal – up from the previous highest number of 40 in 2018.

Tiger Roll is a best-priced 25-1 joint-favourite to become the first horse since the legendary Red Rum to win back-to-back renewals.

Elliott, who first claimed National glory with Silver Birch in 2007, is the trainer with the most entries this year – with last year’s third Bless The Wings, recent Thyestes Chase runner-up Alpha Des Obeaux and 2018 Irish Grand National hero General Principle among his 22 contenders.

In addition to Pleasant Company, Mullins has nine other entries. These include Irish National runner-up Isleofhopendreams, Rathvinden – winner of the National Hunt Chase at last year’s Cheltenham Festival – and Total Recall.

Jessica Harrington has two entries – useful dual-purpose mare Magic Of Light and Sandymount Duke, who is owned by Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood.

The latter has won 10 of 30 races in 71-year-old’s Wood’s red and white silks and organisers of the National hope the legendary musician might be in attendance on Merseyside should Sandymount Duke line up on April 6, with the Rolling Stones not beginning their tour of the United States until April 20.

Harrington said: “I’ve entered Sandymount Duke for Aintree, so we’ll see. He’s a summer horse really, so he would need good ground.

“He chipped a bone when he fell on his last run at Down Royal (in early November), so he’s had to have a bit of time off.

“It’s been a bit annoying actually because the way the weather has been he could have run all winter, no problem at all.”

The most successful current British trainer in the National is Nigel Twiston-Davies, who has won the great race twice courtesy of Earth Summit (1998) and Bindaree (2002).

The Gloucestershire handler has nine contenders this year – more than any other British trainer – including last Saturday’s Sky Bet Chase winner Go Conquer, Bristol De Mai, Blaklion and Ballyoptic.

Twiston-Davies said: “Go Conquer came out of the Sky Bet Chase well.

“It was a really good performance at Doncaster and we have always thought a lot of him.

“Go Conquer jumps and stays well. He has been entered in the Grand National and I think that is something we will consider.

“Others who are under consideration for the Grand National include Blaklion, Ballyoptic and a few others.”

The 2017 Grand National went to Lucinda Russell’s One For Arthur, who became only the second winner of the Aintree spectacular to be trained in Scotland after Rubstic (1979).

However, he missed the whole of last season through injury and has failed to complete on either of his two starts since returning to action.

Russell said: “One For Arthur is in good form. He has been fine since the Peter Marsh at Haydock and he will either run again at Haydock in the Grand National Trial (February 16) or go to Kelso. We are yet to make a decision.

“Obviously, the long-term plan is to return to Aintree in April.”

The other Scottish-trained entry is Nick Alexander’s Lake View Lad , who has registered impressive successes this season in the Rehearsal Chase at Newcastle and the Rowland Meyrick at Wetherby.

Entries with proven form over the Grand National fences include Robert Walford’s Becher Chase winner Walk In The Mill and the Colin Tizzard-trained Ultragold, who has won Aintree’s Topham Chase in each of the last two years.

Tizzard has five entries in total, with his quintet also including Welsh Grand National victor Elegant Escape, who is disputing favouritism.

Weights for the Grand National are unveiled at the iconic Cunard Building in Liverpool on Tuesday, February 12, for the first time.

Aintree hero Tiger Roll tops 112 Grand National contenders
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