Although we are only in September, and there are months before the Grand National takes place in April 2020, the news we have all been waiting for has finally been confirmed. Tiger Roll, the horse that has lit up Aintree Racecourse when winning the race for the past two seasons will head back to Liverpool next April in an attempt to make history and win his third Grand National.
Trainer Gordon Elliott has revealed that a trip to Aintree is his main target this coming season. And it is also likely to be his last ever run, potentially giving him the greatest send-off possible. Can anyone really win three Grand Nationals? If anyone can, then it is probably this horse, so let the speculation begin.
The plan is in place to keep the horse as fresh as possible for the National. Elliot has three races named as possible targets including the big one. The Boyne Hurdle at Navan is a place where he could start off his campaign in February. This is a race that Tiger Roll won last season even though it was only ever really designed to be a pipe opener for him to get him ready for the big targets in the spring.
Then he will head to Cheltenham for the Cross Country Chase. He has won for the past two seasons before going onto National glory. A win here would give him a hat trick of Cross Country wins, and a total of five Cheltenham Festival wins. If he can do it again, it would make him a great in the eyes of Cheltenham Festival fans.
However, that would all be insignificant compared to the feat he could achieve at Aintree in the Grand National 2020. We have seen double national wins in the past but no horse has ever won three Grand National races back-to-back. It is a race grueling enough to take it out of any horse when they win the race once, let alone three times. But that is exactly what Tiger is trying to do and based on how well he won last season you certainly wouldn’t put it past him to complete the job.
Rated at 172, Tiger Roll is one of the highest-rated horses in training. That has led some people to mention races like the Cheltenham Gold Cup as targets, but Elliott was quick to dismiss that. He sees the Cross Country Chase as one that his horse can win. Plus he also sees it as an ideal prep run ahead of running in the National.
Nothing that happens before those two races will matter too much. Although it would be fantastic to see him win again at Cheltenham, everything during the 2019/20 season will be focused around the Grand National 2020. With the news confirmed so early, before the new season has really got underway, you can expect months of anticipation and excitement building around the race as this horse aims to achieve the impossible.