TIGER Roll was denied the opportunity to win his third straight Grand National in 2020. However, his connections have confirmed the 2021 renewal of the world’s most famous steeplechase will be a target of his.
The 2019/20 campaign was far from straightforward for the dual Grand National winner. A couple of setbacks at home meant he did not see a racecourse until February. He finished fifth in the Boyne Hurdle at Navan on his reappearance.
A month later, Tiger Roll had to settle for second place in the Cross Country Chase at the Cheltenham Festival behind Easysland. Connections were delighted with his performance in that contest. Elliott will be keen for his horse to feature much earlier in the 2020/21 campaign. This is likely to be the case as long as he is fit and healthy. The Open Meeting at Cheltenham in November could be his first assignment.
The 10-year-old has appeared over fences at Clonmel and Wexford early in previous seasons. He is now rated as high as 168 by the handicapper though, which limits the options available to Elliott.
Could the Gold Cup be an option in 2021?
Connections of Tiger Roll have turned down the temptation of running their horse in the Cheltenham Gold Cup. His chase mark suggests he merits a place in the Blue Riband event of National Hunt racing.
The dilemma Elliott has is the short distance of time between the Gold Cup and Grand National. The former would take so much out of the horse that it would hinder his chance of coming out on top at Aintree where he is 20/1 in the horse racing betting and odds.
Only one horse in history has been successful in both the Gold Cup and Grand National in the same year and that was Golden Miller in 1934. That fact alone is likely to put Tiger Roll’s team off attempting the big race double in 2021.
The Cross Country Chase has been a race that Tiger Roll has done extremely well in over the last few years. Although he was unable to win the 3m6f contest for a third straight year in 2020, he ran an excellent race in second place and he will likely be back in the race once again in March.
Who will challenge Tiger Roll at Aintree in 2021?
Although the next year’s Grand National will likely feature many of the prominent runners who were set to line up in 2020, there will also be new challengers to Tiger Roll’s crown.
One of the fancied horses expected to be in the race is Easysland who got the better of Tiger Roll earlier this year at Cheltenham. The French raider is proving to be a specialist in Cross Country races; however, the Grand National is a contest that could suit the French horse.
Another chaser who may have his first shot at the steeplechase in 2021 is The Conditional. David Bridgewater’s runner won the Ultima Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival this year. The winner of that race often goes on to run at Aintree the following year.
When it comes to former Gold Cup contenders, the weights issued by the handicapper dictate if they have a shot at the marathon race. Santini is a horse who now has lots of experience over fences and could also be in the field, if he is not too harshly treated with his allocation.
It is sure to be an exciting season for fans of Tiger Roll. They will be hoping he caps it off with another victory at Aintree. A success which will help him cement his name into the history books alongside Red Rum as a three-time winner.