Ruby Walsh: I have doubts about Tiger Roll’s Irish Grand National chances

Ruby thinks the Tiger’s jumping could let him down at Fairyhouse.

Ruby Walsh Tiger Roll


*Odds quoted on the widget are Future Racing/Antepost prices which means that if your selection does not run in the race for whatever reason, you will lose your stake under traditional antepost rules

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Ruby Walsh is not convinced about the chances of Tiger Roll in the Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse on Easter Monday, despite a recent return to form at Cheltenham.

The two-time English Grand National winner comfortably beat Easysland in the Cross Country Chase at Prestbury Park – his fifth Festival victory – but connections have turned down the chance of a third consecutive Aintree success due to ‘unfair’ handicapping.

The 11-year-old could instead be entered into the Melling Chase at the Liverpool racecourse or target the Irish Grand National, where he currently shares joint-favouritism in the ante-post market, but his eventually destination remains uncertain.

Speaking on the latest episode of Paddy Power’s From The Horse’s Mouth podcast, our resident jockey-turned-pundit Ruby said: “The last time Tiger Roll won a chase over park fences was March 14, 2017.

“The last time he ran in the Irish National, he pulled up. And his last run over park fences was in Clonmel in November 2017 when he pulled up. I know he’s won Grand Nationals and Cross Country races since but he hasn’t taken on birch park fences.

“His style of jumping was the reason Paddy Power took him on when he won his first Grand National. When you mention that Grand National and Tiger Roll all the traders break out in a sweat, but his style of jumping – having not done it for so long – has to be factored in as well. 

Horse Racing tips: Ruby Walsh’s best antepost bets for Irish Grand National

“Whether he runs here or in the Melling Chase at Aintree, there is that chance of him jumping poorly. He gets low, which is why he is so good over the new Grand National fences which are two or three feet of loose spruce, and why he is so good in the Cross County race at Cheltenham, which are basically laurel hedges. It suits the way he jumps, and I’m not certain parkland fences have ever suited the way he jumps.

“Fair play if Tiger Roll takes his chance here with 11st9lbs off a rating of 163, as it would be a Desert Orchid-style performance if he wins.”

Tiger Roll jumping



Our expert trader Frank Hickey priced up the market for the Irish Grand National, and explained why Tiger Roll – if he runs – could go off at short odds despite not being at his fluent best over the Fairyhouse obstacles.

“I priced up the Irish Grand National and offered Tiger Roll at double-figure odds antepost, so on my head be it,” he said.

“But when you’re pricing up this race, you’re taking into consideration what price you think he would go off at and how likely he is to actually run in the race. I made him long odds-on to run in the Melling Chase at Aintree and not to run at Fairyhouse, so I thought he would probably go off at around 5/1 if he does run in the Irish Grand National but he’s 1/3 to run at Aintree.

“That is why we came down on 14/1 or 16/1 initially, but when connections said he was 50-50 between the two meetings, I went 8/1 and then I made another adjustment when I saw Envoi Allen wasn’t running in the 2½m Grade 1, because that increases the chances of Latest Exhibition switching to that race.

Horse Racing tips: Frank Hickey’s best antepost bets for Irish Grand National

“I imagine if Tiger Roll runs they will put Jordan Gainford on him and use his claim. We all know what I think of him as a jockey – he was brilliant at Cheltenham – and that would give Tiger Roll a chance.

“It becomes a completely different race if he doesn’t run though, with every horse getting an extra 10lbs. The couple of horses I fancy would be carrying absolutely nothing if Tiger Roll does turn up, but I’m not certain Galvin will run here either and with Latest Exhibition going for the Grade 1 you could easily find that Court Maid carries top weight.

“When I say that Tiger Roll could go off favourite if he runs, that is not a reflection of his chances of actually winning the race. It is more ‘liability management’ driving that price, because he is such a public horse and people just roll behind him and back him. I wouldn’t be interested in backing him, but I do think he frames the race.”

*Odds quoted on the widget are Future Racing/Antepost prices which means that if your selection does not run in the race for whatever reason, you will lose your stake under traditional antepost rules

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