Last Updated: 11/02/20 3:42pm
Tiger Roll’s Randox Health Grand National weight has been compressed by a solitary pound ahead of his bid for a historic third successive win in the race.
Tiger Roll and stablemate Delta Work, with respective ratings of 170, have been allotted top weight of 11st 10lb for the 2020 Randox Health Grand National at Aintree on Saturday, 4 April, details of which are revealed today.
With a prize fund of £1 million, the Randox Health Grand National is the world’s richest Jump race and takes place for the 173rd time this year at 5.15pm on day three of the Randox Health Grand National Festival.
Tiger Roll, who is trained by Gordon Elliott and owned by Gigginstown House Stud, is aiming to emulate the legendary Red Rum as a three-time winner of the Randox Health Grand National and, if victorious, would become the first horse to do so in consecutive years. He is the 13/2 favourite with Betway, official betting partner of the Randox Health Grand National.
The 10-year-old had an official rating of 150 in the 2018 Randox Health Grand National and defied a rating of 159 in last year’s edition.
Delta Work, who like Tiger Roll is owned by Gigginstown House Stud and trained by Gordon Elliott, is among the leading contenders for the G1 Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup, following his victory in the G1 Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown on 2 February.
Ten horses have been given 11st or more. They include Bristol de Mai (11st 8lb), one of seven contenders for dual Grand National-winning handler Nigel Twiston-Davies, 2018 Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup hero Native River (Colin Tizzard, 11st 6lb) and J P McManus’ Anibale Fly (Tony Martin IRE, 11st 2lb), fourth in 2018 and fifth in 2019.
Elliott has 18 entries in total, more than any other trainer, as he chases a record equalling fourth Grand National, with his team also featuring promising novice Champagne Classic (10st 6lb) and 2019 Galway Plate victor Borice (10st).
Fellow Irish handler Willie Mullins, successful with Hedgehunter in 2005, has impressive Irish Grand National victor Burrows Saint (10st 10lb) among his nine contenders.
Last year’s runner-up Magic Of Light (Jessica Harrington IRE) has been handed 10st 12lb. Nickel Coin in 1951 is the most recent mare to win the Aintree spectacular. The other mares engaged are Shattered Love (Gordon Elliott IRE, 10st 6lb), Atalanta Ablaze (Henry Daly, 9st 13lb), Cabaret Queen (Willie Mullins IRE, 9st 13lb).
Fourth-placed Walk In The Mill (Robert Walford, 10st 4lb) fared best of the British-trained runners in 2019. He continued his excellent record over the famous fences by winning the Randox Health Becher Handicap Chase for the second successive year in December.
The 2017 victor One For Arthur (Lucinda Russell, 10st 2lb) is the other previous Grand National winner among the entries. His rating of 148 is the same as he carried in 2017.
Welsh Grand National victor Potters Corner (Christian Wiliams) has been given 10st 6lb, while Scottish Grand National scorer Takingrisks (Nicky Richards) has been handed 10st 1lb.
Other names to note are Kimberlite Candy (Tom Lacey, 10st 4lb), winner of the G3 Classic Handicap Chase at Warwick, and Listed Sky Bet Chase victor Ok Corral (Nicky Henderson, 10st 9lb). Both horses are owned by J P McManus.
British Horseracing Authority chase handicapper Martin Greenwood, who framed the weights for the second time this year and has total discretion for the Randox Health Grand National, said: “I have made Tiger Roll and Delta Work joint top-weights for the Randox Health Grand National.
“This decision was made essentially on two factors – historical compression which was brought in by Phil Smith and has been used for the last 10 years or so. On the other hand, I have to give Tiger Roll this mark based on his efforts over the national fences at Aintree where he is of course unbeaten.
“Tiger Roll was rated 172 at the end of last year and obviously there is no recent evidence to go on because of his fitness issues, so his handicap mark has been unquantifiable since. He is therefore coming down 2lb and carries the same weight as Suny Bay did when he was second in the 1998 Grand National. No other horse has carried that rating since. Many Clouds won off 11st 9lb, but he did not have as high a rating.
“It must be remembered that Tiger Roll ran in the race off a rating of 159 but was actually rated 167 at the time due to his win in the Cross Country at Cheltenham.
“Tiger Roll has also not yet qualified for this year’s Grand National. Whilst he may run in the Boyne Hurdle at Navan (Sunday, 14 February), he still has to run in a chase to qualify. There are about 15 horses overall who currently do not qualify because they have either not run over fences this season or not yet finished in the first four in a race over 23 and a half furlongs in their career. A high-profile example would be Cadmium, a Topham Chase winner.
“Delta Work is a potential Cheltenham Gold Cup contender and, in order to keep as many of the horses in the handicap, he is also off 170. Other horses towards the top include Bristol de Mai and Native River. Bristol de Mai was rated 173 when entered last year and that figure has been downgraded since to 168. I have dropped Native River 2lb to 166 as Bristol De Mai has finished in front of him the last couple of times they have met, and I thought he was workmanlike when winning at Newbury on Saturday.
“This year, 73% of the horses entered are in the handicap. Similarly, from a starting rating of 140, there are more horses than ever in the modern era entered for the race – 92 in total.
“The race is full of top-class individuals and boasts the winners of races such as the Grand National, Irish National, Welsh National, Rowland Meyrick Chase, Cheltenham Gold Cup and much more. It is as good a staying handicap as would be run anywhere.
“You could argue that it is the highest quality Grand National in modern history.”
Source : Sky Sports