If the entries for the 2020 Grand National opened today, Gordon Elliott says he would have 15 to enter. Of those 15, Elliott says all would make the cut. And, of course, Tiger Roll is still in the mix despite Michael O’Leary’s comments to the contrary.

That’s down slightly on 2019 when the Irish trainer submitted 22 of his charges for consideration. Of those 22, 11 ran in the Grand National and four completed the course. They were Tiger Roll who won the race, A Toi Phil in 12th place, Bless The Wings in 13th and Folsom Blue in 17th position.

For the Grand National 2020 a few of the same names will crop up including Dounikas who pulled up two from home and Jury Duty who unseated Robbie Power at the 18th. But in the mix will definitely be some new runners, all of whom have the credentials to run a good race.

Gordon Elliott said: “Borice could go to Aintree, Dounikos is a very good horse in his own right when things go right. Jury Duty has won an American Grand National, Alpha Des Obeaux is a graded winner, The Storyteller and Shattered Love are Cheltenham Festival winners.”

We could also see Ravenhill, Roaring Bull, Champagne Classic and Prince Of Scars get the green light at the end of January 2020. So will they all get in? On their current handicap marks, the vast majority would. But a lot can happen between now and April 4th. Quite a few will no doubt go to Cheltenham and depending on how they come out of that festival will ultimately determine their Aintree chances.

Can Any Of Them Beat Tiger Roll?

Of all those mentioned by Gordon Elliott, Borice is the shortest in the Grand National 2020 odds at 25/1 ante-post. The Galway Plate winner is a formidable runner and on his current OR would only be expected to carry around 10-06 which is an ideal weight for a course that long.

Jury Duty was very unlucky in 2019 when he was hampered at the 1st. That threw him a little and yet he was still running a good race in mid-division before he blundered at the 18th. The only real concern is that he then went on the Irish Grand National but pulled up so his record in races longer than 3m2f is not great. I include the 4m National Hunt Challenge Cup at Cheltenham in 2018 when he also unseated his rider. So maybe, just maybe, these races are just too long for him.

Ravenhill was second in the Kerry National in September 2019 but that was over 3m. It was also his first attempt at that distance. He has been seen once since then, at the Troytown Handicap Chase at Navan on November 24th, also a three-miler but fell. So whether or not he has the stamina to go more than 4m is debatable.

Roaring Bull may get an entry but will only be 7-years-old by the time the race rolls around. And we all know how difficult it is for a seven-year-old to win this race! Currently, his Official Rating is only 135 so on that basis he wouldn’t qualify. Elliott may have plans to race him enough to get that boosted but to put it in context, six of the top seven finishers in 2019 had ratings of 151 or higher. Only Walk In The Mill, who finished in 4th spot was rated lower on 144.

Tiger Roll’s Potential Third Win

Personally, as good as all of Gordon Elliott’s potential runners are, none hold a candle to Tiger Roll. He is a superior horse who will undoubtedly carry top weight if he runs. Elliott said: “He’s a great horse and we’re very lucky to have him.

“He has a great name and a great character. He’s a legend and he knows it.

“Everyone that comes into the yard wants to see him. They don’t ask for any other horse, it’s him. He’s not the old-fashioned Grand National horse but he’s not as small as people say he is. He’s compact and has the right bits in the right places.

“The dream is to get this horse back to the Randox Health Grand National. It would be some atmosphere at Aintree if he’s in there with a live chance on the second circuit.”

So will we see him run again in 2020? That’s up to Michael O’Leary. If he thinks the handicapper will give him less than 11-10 he is dreaming. So it’s either top weight or we don’t see him at all. Personally, Tiger Roll doesn’t need to prove anything to anybody and should be allowed to go retire in a blaze of glory. I wouldn’t risk it and I’m not sure Michael O’Leary should either.