TIGER Roll will run in the Randox Health Grand National – provided all goes well with the superstar horse’s eagerly-awaited comeback at Navan this weekend and then at the Cheltenham Festival.
His participation in the world famous race had been placed in some doubt after the weights were unveiled on Tuesday and left Tiger Roll having to carry 11st 10lb if he is to become the first horse in history to win three successive Nationals.
Eddie O’Leary, racing manager to his brother Michael’s Gigginstown House Stud, went public with his displeasure that Tiger Roll had been given the same handicap mark as Irish Gold Cup winner Delta Work, who is in the same ownership.
With Tiger Roll already the first horse since Ginger McCain’s legendary Red Rum to win successive Nationals, it was expected to be a nervous wait to see if he would even run in the race, but O’Leary has now said Aintree is the plan.
Before that April 4 contest, the Gordon Elliott-trained Tiger Roll has the chance to add an incredible fifth Cheltenham Festival success to his impressive record in the Glenfarclas Chase.
“He’ll go to Navan this weekend for the Boyne Hurdle that he won last year, he badly wants a run after his setback,” said Eddie O’Leary.
“If he comes out of this fine, it will then be Cheltenham for the cross country (chase) again.
“If all goes well this weekend and then all goes well at Cheltenham, it will then be the National, hopefully.”
Though Tiger Roll won the Boyne Hurdle last year, it would be a major surprise if he was to repeat the success. The diminutive 10-year-old is one of two Elliott-trained runners, along with Cracking Smart.
Last year’s Grand National runner-up the Jessica Harrington-trained Magic Of Light renews rivalry with Tiger Roll following two wins in Britain this winter.