Thursday, May 30, 2024

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Should Tiger Roll give rivals a Grand National head start this year?

Two-time Grand National winner Tiger Roll looks set to feature in the Grand National at Aintree for a third time in April. Success in the world’s most famous steeplechase will help him match the record for the most wins in the race, currently held by Red Rum.

Given how dominant Tiger Roll has been in the marathon contest, it could be good if the organizers considered the Irish horse giving the rest of the field a lap start, to make it more interesting this year.

The 2018 and 2019 winner has racing odds of +2500 for the 2022 Grand National. His form so far this season has been below his best, however, this horse often produces his best performances at Cheltenham and Aintree.

Tiger Roll is one of the most popular chasers of his generation. He is a horse who is much smaller than many of his rivals in structure, but what he lacks in size, he more than makes up for in his determination to outbattle his rivals.

Connections not afraid to go against public wish

Gordon Elliott’s runner missed the chance to match Red Rum’s record of three Grand National wins in 2021. His owner opted to pull the horse out of the race after a row over the weight allocation he was handed.

The decision for the horse to miss the steeplechase was met with disappointment by Tiger Roll’s army of fans. To add further salt to the wound, he appeared at the Cheltenham Festival a month earlier where he looked back to his best, prevailing in the Cross Country Chase for the third time.

Although Tiger Roll does have an entry in this year’s 40-runner contest, a final decision is likely to be made much closer to the race. Unless the terms are acceptable to his connections, it would be no surprise if they disappointed the racing public who want to see their favourite horse have a shot at history.

Tiger Roll status should be commissioned now

Given what he has already achieved at Aintree, now may be the time for a statue of the horse to be commissioned. Red Rum was buried near the winning line at the Merseyside racecourse at the age of 30. A great way of honouring the latest Grand National star would be with a statue.

In the age of social media, this statue would be very popular with racegoers who would take selfies with the bronze sculpture on their visits to Aintree. It would also give racing fans another reason to visit the racecourse in Liverpool.

Another way of honouring Tiger Roll would be for Aintree to name a fence after the dual winner of their feature race. Foinavon and Valentine are two former horses who have obstacles named after them on the Grand National course.

Whether Tiger Roll does appear in 2022 from a level start or by giving his rivals an advantage, he does not need another victory to cement his place as a Grand National legend. When it finally comes, his retirement will be deserved as he has set the standard for so many future Grand National contenders to live up to.

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