Gordon Elliott has spoken of his disappointment at the cancellation of the Randox Health Grand National – but he still hopes his dual winner Tiger Roll can bid for a third success in the famous race next year.
Jockey Club officials announced on Monday evening that even plans to stage Aintree’s three-day meeting behind closed doors were not feasible because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Tiger Roll became the first horse since Red Rum in 1973-74 to win back-to-back renewals last year, and was on the verge of history if he could manage a third successive win.
The unprecedented circumstances have denied him that opportunity, but Elliott totally understands the decision that has been taken.
The trainer told BBC Radio Four: “It is disappointing, but everyone from Aintree and involved in it has to do what’s right to get everything back on track.
“So listen, we’re all on the one team, you know.
“This is the Grand National, how can you be confident of victory? But we like to have a few runners in the race, and we were really looking forward to it.
“From Rose Paterson, the chairman of Aintree, to everyone underneath her, they all have to make the right decision – and we’ll be backing them up 100 per cent.”
Tiger Roll will be 11 next year, and suffered an odds-on defeat at the Cheltenham Festival behind French raider Easysland last week, but Elliott holds every hope he will be back at Aintree in 2021.
“There is every chance of him competing,” he said.
“He hasn’t got that many miles on the clock, and we will be training him back for the Grand National again.
“You’re training horses day by day, never mind year by year, so I’ll be taking things day by day – and there’s a lot of water to go under the bridge by then.
“He’s in good form and he was all set for the National, but unfortunately we’re only one of 40 horses – and so we’ve just got to keep going.
“All we can do it dream – so you never know what might happen.”