Ruby Walsh: A National hat-trick looks well within Tiger Roll’s grasp

Clsoe but no cigar in the Grand National aboard Rathvinden but there's plenty for top jock Ruby Walsh to look forward to...



We’ve three runners at Limerick today but travel more in hope than confidence.

In the opener at 14.05, Paul Townend rides Prince of China. She’s a point-to-point winner and makes her first start for us in the mare’s maiden hurdle over 2m 3f and. She’s a good jumper and will probably want every yard of the trip as she’s not the quickest mare in the world, but she stays well.

Mags Mullins saddles the favourite Debuchet in the maiden hurdle that follows at 14.35. While he’s been a little disappointing since finishing second in the Champion bumper at Cheltenham bumper two seasons ago, he has still achieved more than our pair of Poker Dainay and Future Monarch.

Poker Dainay was placed in two ordinary bumpers last summer and jumps well, while Future Monarch is making his racecourse debut over hurdles, having dodged the bumper route.

Incidentally, the the Punchestown Gold Cup at the start of May is shaping up into some race to round off the season, should Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Al Boum Photo, Aintree winner Kemboy, and last season’s victor Bellshill all line up. Kemboy got into a lovely rhythm at Aintree and won very well.

It’s probably harder to gauge that from as a lot of his opponents had tough races at Cheltenham, but Kemboy jumped pretty well and sprinted away from a top-class field impressively.

Tiger Roll Grand National

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Aintree Grand National review

I got a great spin off Rathvinden in the Grand National last Saturday but ironically, he did the opposite of what I thought he’d do. I was expecting him to be a much more careful jumper.

But he was way braver than I thought he’d be and once or twice he was over-brave. He was too brave at the water jump, he took a chance at the Canal Turn and when I wanted him to be a little braver at Valentine’s – he changed his mind and was lucky to stay standing. Watching a replay of the race later, I wondered if Valentine’s had cost me the race. I was travelling really well until the mistake at Valentine’s but from them I was just hanging on.

But when you see Magic of Light at the Chair and the last – Paddy Kennedy must have been thinking the same and Davy Russell must have thought he was gone at the fourth last, when Tiger Roll pecked on landing.

I wasn’t overly aware where Tiger Roll was during the race but every time I did catch sight of him, Davy Russell was slowing him down and conserving his energy for the final drive.

I was never doing that on Rathvinden so on the law of averages, the best horse won on the day.

He’ll probably have 11-12 to carry next season and that will be a big task. But he’s very nimble, has a huge liking for Aintree and connections know he can be prepared with a very light campaign. He didn’t appear until February this season and just got better and better.

He was even more impressive than last year, is a brilliant little racehorse and a great ambassador for jumps racing. If he was in the same sort of form next season, there’s no reason why he shouldn’t take his chance of going for the Grand National hat-trick.

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Min was in total control in his victory and was arguably more impressive than Kemboy. I never had to move on him and he’s won 20 lengths. I don’t know why he’s not rated closer to Cyrname, but maybe because he’s been beaten a few times by Altior, the handicapper can’t rate him above him.

You’d have to question then whether Altior is rated too low or is Cyrname rated too high?

Those two may meet at Sandown and we’ll see then whether Cyrname should be rated 3lbs higher than Altior. Personally, I don’t think he should be. It could be a bit early to start talking about next season, but Min definitely appreciated the flatter track at Aintree and could have the King George VI Chase on his radar next Christmas.

He’ll have to prove he stays another half mile which is a different ball game, but he would appreciate the flat track at Kempton.

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