Tiger Roll could line up in the Irish Grand National if connections decide not to bid for a famous hat-trick at Aintree.
The Gordon Elliott-trained 11-year-old won the Randox Grand National in both 2018 and 2019, but was denied the chance to emulate Red Rum as a three-times winner when last year’s renewal was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Michael O’Leary, who owns Tiger Roll through his Gigginstown House Stud outfit, has made no secret of the fact he is dissatisfied with the gelding’s current British handicap mark of 168, particularly as he has been well beaten in his four starts since his Aintree verdict two years ago.
With the National weights due to be announced later this month, O’Leary wants to see a reduction in Tiger Roll’s mark if he is to have any chance of lining up at Aintree.
He told Racing TV’s Luck On Sunday programme: “He last won the National off 159. He’s run four times since and has not finished in the frame. He was beaten by Easysland by 17 lengths off level weights — Easysland is now rated 167, yet somehow Tiger Roll is still rated around 170.
“I think if he rates him fairly, somewhere in the 150s then he’ll run in the Grand National. If he rates him in the 160s or 170s, he won’t and we’ll take him out after the weights.
“The plan for Gordon and Eddie (O’Leary racing manager) has always been to take him to the Cross Country at Cheltenham, where I believe he will be kicked out of the way again by Easysland, and then I think the options are possibly retirement or we may look at an entry in the Irish Grand National, where I think he would be more fairly weighted.
“We’ve a responsibility to the horse. He owes us nothing, he’s a four-time winner at Cheltenham and a two-time Grand National winner.
“He’s getting older, he may not run again after Cheltenham. His last couple of runs suggest he’s not in love with the game anymore and the priority at this point is minding Tiger Roll.”