Tiger Roll: When is Grand National winner’s next race? Is he running at Cheltenham?

Tiger Roll is targeting the Cross Country Chase at Cheltenham but it might be the last time we see him in action.

Tiger Roll wins the Grand National 2019

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Legendary back-to-back Grand National winner Tiger Roll could run for the last time at next month’s Cheltenham Festival in the Cross Country Chase, his owner Michael O’Leary has admitted. The 11-year-old disappointed in the Cross Country Handicap Chase at the November Meeting and was pulled up after never looking comfortable.

O’Leary is unhappy with Tiger Roll’s handicap in the United Kingdom and has also admitted his horse might skip the Grand National 2021 and another shot at a record-equalling third win in the race in April. Instead, the Gordon-Elliott trained Gelding might be heading to the Irish Grand National where the handicapper may be more helpful.

However, the Tiger is entered for the Cross Country Chase at the 2021 Festival on Wednesday March 17 and, with age catching up with him, it could be the curtain call on a remarkable career.

“The options are we are possibly looking at retirement or we may look at an entry in the Irish Grand National, where I think he’d be more fairly weighted where his rating should be,” O’Leary said.

Michael O'Leary

“The handicapper has unfairly weighted Tiger Roll for the last two years in the UK. He’s rated around 170 there and last won the Grand National off 159, and he’s run four times since and not finished in the frame.

“He was beaten by Easysland at Cheltenham last year by 17 lengths off level weights – he is now rated 167 and yet somehow Tiger Roll is rated higher than he is. If the handicapper rates him fairly somewhere in the 150s then he’ll run [at Aintree], but if he rates him in the 160s or 170s he won’t. The plan has always been to go for the cross-country.

We feel a responsibility to the horse, he owes us nothing.

“He’s getting older and may not even run again after Cheltenham. His last couple of runs have suggested he’s not in love with the game any more and the priority at this time is minding Tiger Roll. He’s a small horse, we’re not going to ask him to lump huge amounts of weight around Aintree.”

The weights for the Grand National 2021 were announced on February 16 – and Tiger Roll has been allotted a rating of 166 (11st 9lb), which is likely to frustrate O’Leary. But trainer Elliott is hoping to run the popular two-time winner in the race.

“I’m training Tiger Roll for the Grand National and I will be keen to run him,” he said.

14/1
Tiger Roll Grand National - Non Runner Money Back

“I have to concentrate on training the horse and I just hope his owner lets him run in the race for the public. Everyone will be looking forward to seeing him run again in the Grand National but Michael will make that decision.

“It will be disappointing for everyone if he doesn’t turn up but as you know Michael makes the decisions. He is seven pounds higher than what he won off before but it is probably fair enough. I sort of expected that really.

“From the bottom of my heart it is hard to see him having much less weight with him being such a specialist, but we have what we have so we have got to take it and hopefully he can do us proud.

“You are always hoping you are going to get a couple of pounds less than what you have been given, but to be honest we will just smile and take it.”

tiger roll wins cross country

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Tiger Roll finished last of six in the Boyne Hurdle at Navan on Sunday February 21 – his final prep run before heading to Cheltenham.

Despite the poor result, trainer Elliott revealed it remains “all systems go” for Prestbury Park after a post-race debrief with jockey Keith Donoghue.

“Keith said he travelled well to the third-last but it was horrible ground and he just got tired,” Elliott said. “Of course I would have liked him to run better, but Keith said he hated the ground.”

Easysland, who trounced Tiger Roll by 17l at the 2020 Festival, is currently the antepost favourite for the Cross Country, with the 2018 and 2019 Grand National champ the second favourite.

13/8
Easysland Cross Country - Non Runner Money Back

5/1
Tiger Roll Cross Country - Non Runner Money Back

Potters Corner, who finished ahead of Easysland in Cross Country Handicap Chase in November is third in the betting, with Shady Operator also available at 7/1.

7/1
Potters Corner Cross Country - Non Runner Money Back

7/1
Shady Operator Cross Country - Non Runner Money Back

*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change.

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