O’Leary withdraws Tiger Roll from Grand National

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LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - APRIL 14: Davy Russell riding Tiger Roll clear the last to win The Randox Health Grand National Handicap Steeple Chase at Aintree racecourse on April 14, 2018 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images)

Tiger Roll owner Michael O’Leary has withdrawn the horse from the Grand National due to his handicap mark; he was handed a mark of 161 and to carry at least 11st 4lb.
The 12 year was bidding to become only the third horse to win three Grand Nationals after claiming success in 2018 and 2019. Red Rum achieved that in 1973, 1974 and 1977.
O’Leary told the Racing Post: “This rating is absurd, and unfair on a 12-year-old chaser. It is a pity that the handicapper won’t give Tiger Roll either a fair rating, or a fair weight in the Aintree Grand National, where he could at least try to emulate Red Rum’s three Grand National wins.
“However, the handicapper sets the weights, and even if he is manifestly wrong in the case of Tiger Roll, there is nothing we can do about it other than remove him from the race, since we don’t believe it is safe or fair to ask him to carry close to top weight at the age of 12.
“Since we are responsible for the welfare of Tiger Roll, we must protect him from the idiotic opinion of this handicapper. We therefore regret to announce that he will not run in this year’s Grand National.”
O’Leary admitted that Tiger Roll will be trained for the Cross Country race at Cheltenham and there is a possibility that no matter how the race goes it could be his last course appearance.
Handicapper Martin Greenwood gave his reasoning for the handicap mark given to Tiger Roll. He said: “I have relented a bit with Tiger Roll and he is down to 161 from 166 last year, which is 5lbs lower. As I keep telling people, you can’t just ignore his win in the Cross Country at Cheltenham last season which was less than 12 months ago when he easily defeated two good horses in Easysland and Some Neck. He and Minella Times – the two previous winners among the entries – are both on 161.”