Grand National champion Tiger Roll is still on course to attempt a hat-trick of wins at the Grand National at Aintree next April even amid the difficulties posed by a recent fitness setback.
The nine-year-old is the first horse to win the Grand National back to back since Red Rum completed the feat in 1973 and 1974; another win will see him make history as the first to win the competition for three consecutive years, as well as match Red Rum’s three-time triumph in the 1970s, with the latter also winning again in 1977.
Tiger Roll is currently on box rest after undergoing a procedure to remove a chip in a joint earlier this month but trainer Gordon Elliot is pretty confident in the horse’s chances as it relates to an attempt at a third Grand National win.
The thoroughbred will resume racing at the Boyne Hurdle at Navan in February if recovery goes to plan, a race his trainer will be feeling pretty upbeat about given that he won it last year. The Cheltenham Festival, also on the agenda as a fifth victory, is also a huge possibility.
“The procedure he had went well. He’s on box rest until Thursday week, when the bandage will come off and he’ll start back walking,” Elliot revealed, via Racing TV.
“He’ll be walking for three weeks then, all being well, he’ll be back cantering after that. He was in full fitness and almost ready to run when it happened. It’s not ideal, but if it had happened in January or February it would have been a lot worse.
“The Boyne Hurdle is where we’d love to go, but if he doesn’t get there then he could just go straight to Cheltenham for the Cross Country.”
Owner Michael O’Leary isn’t as optimistic as Elliot is, though, recently stating that Tiger Roll might be kept out of the Grand National if the handicapper is perhaps too rough but the trainer remains unmoved.
“The Randox Grand National is the plan. Obviously Michael O’Leary owns him and will make the final decision, but in my mind, this is the race I’ve been training him for since last year,” he added.
The Irish-bred star is the bookmakers’ favourite to win at Aintree on April 4, 2020, and Betfair are offering 8/1 odds (at time of publishing) on him besting all chasers to snag the triple.
Betfair are one of the best bookmakers in the UK – click here to find out why – you could also find a race guide here. Said bookies are also handing out odds of 20/1 on both Burrows Saint and Rathvinden, and 25/1 on Native River. They also have 33/1 odds running on Anibale Fly, Pleasant Company and Any Second Now but have shorter odds than other sportsbooks on Borice at 25/1. The likes of Bet365 and Skybet are going with 33/1 bets at the moment.
“Borice could go – he runs in the Ladbroke at the weekend,” Elliot said as it pertains to the latter.
“We’ve got Dounikos who is a good horse when things go right, we’ve Jury Duty who won an American National, Alpha Des Obeaux is a graded winner, The Storyteller is a Cheltenham Festival winner, so is Shattered Love.”
With regards to Cheltenham, Saldier is 11/2 to win the Championship Hurdle with Bet365 while Klassical Dream is 6/1. Skybet are offering 5/1 odds on Buveur DAir, 10/1 on Pentland Hills and 11/1 on Fusil Raffles. Couer Sublime is 20/1 with William Hill, who are also handing out odds of 25/1 on Sharjah and 33/1 on Silver Streak.