Grand National: Michael O’Leary wrong to rule Tiger Roll out of Aintree, according to Paddy Power poll

The Tiger won't be roaring at Aintree this year...

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Now, we all know that budget airline boss Michael O’Leary has a bee in his bonnet when it comes to carrying extra hand luggage, so it’s little wonder he threw an absolute wobbler when the British handicapper gave the legendary Tiger Roll more weight to carry than his owner had hoped for the Grand National.

And it turns out a bumper majority of horse racing fans are eager to see the dual winner go for a hat-trick in the Aintree spectacular, according to a poll commissioned by yours truly.

In a survey of more than 1000 people we got a definitive answer on who Irish and British racegoers blame for the Tiger being denied a shot at equalling Red Rum’s record in the world’s greatest steeplechase this April.

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Owner O’Leary, boss of budget airline Ryanair, unceremoniously yanked his charge out of the £1million contest due to his handicap rating. Just in case you’ve got a sense of deja vu, yes, he did exactly the same thing last year…

An extraordinary 92 per cent of Irish race fans want to see the 12-year-old take on Aintree’s famous fences like Becher’s Brook on Saturday, April 9. In fact, putting territorial allegiances aside, almost the same number of British fans (90 per cent) would like the Irish raider to attempt the history-equalling feat too.

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Quite frankly, Tiger Roll being pulled from the showpiece has gone down like a cup of cold sick, with only 28 per cent of the Irish racing public supporting O’Leary’s decision. An overwhelming 45 per cent believe he is ‘throwing his toys out of the pram because he didn’t get the weight he wanted for his horse’. The remaining 27 per cent were on the fence.

And when UK followers of the sport were asked who they would prefer to see turn up at the Grand National, 55 per cent admit they would rather see Tiger Roll there ahead of Queen Elizabeth (36 per cent), with Boris Johnson and U2 frontman Bono tied at 5 per cent.

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It wouldn’t be a Paddy poll without taking a wry look at the big picture so we asked Irish racing fans who they’d rather see personally tackle the overwhelming obstacles at Aintree. Unsurprisingly, the vast majority opted for O’Leary (63 per cent) as opposed to the British Handicapper (37 per cent).

It’s pretty clear who the public blame for denying them the sight of Tiger Roll having another crack at the Grand National!

Connections have indicated that Tiger Roll could retire from racing after the Cross Country Chase at next month’s Cheltenham Festival. The five-time Festival scorer is the favourite in Paddy’s Non Runner Money Back betting market for the race he won in 2018, 2019 and 2021.

*Odds quoted on the widget are Non Runner Money Back prices which means that if your selection does not run in the race for whatever reason – you’ll get your stake back

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