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With just a few months to go, everyone is starting to talk about the Grand National. Last year I was all geared up for seeing Tiger Roll take on the challenge of achieving a 3rd Grand National win. He was looking good in the build up before Covid hit, although perhaps not at his best, and I was disappointed that he didn’t get a chance to show us what he could do. But a year later, his recent runs haven’t shown much promise, begging the question of should he run in the Grand National?
Nothing to prove
Since the Grand National started in 1839 there have only been 7 horses who have won it more than once and Red Rum is the only horse to have won it 3 times. Most will say that winning 1 Grand National puts a horse into the history books, winning 2 makes them a legend. I would love Tiger Roll to get another chance in the Grand National, but he really doesn’t have anything to prove. There would be absolutely no shame in him retiring now.
Expecting top weight
The Grand National is a handicap, meaning that the best horses carry more weight. Being a dual winner, Tiger Roll is expected to be carrying top or near top weight with 11 stone 9. Which I think is fair of the handicapper, even if his recent performances haven’t been as strong.
Is it asking too much?
Since the resumption of racing after Covid hit, Tiger Roll has run 3 times and has been disappointing. 6th of 9 in October, pulled up in November and 6th of 6 in February. It’s been nearly 2 years since his last win and a year since we saw a promising run. Maybe he is passed his peak and the Grand National might be a step too far.
We don’t want to see him flop
As I have already mentioned, I would love to see him succeed in another Grand National. I think he is a fantastic little horse and while horses don’t understand the idea of becoming a legend, he completely deserves it.
But I personally don’t want to see him carrying top weight around Aintree and having a bad run, or worse suffering an injury. Not only would it be incredibly sad for everyone involved and for the racing industry as a whole. But I fear it will also encourage the idea from the general public that racing is greedy and it’s never enough.
On the back of his most recent run, I personally don’t want to see Tiger Roll entered in the National this year. Even if he is given less weight from the handicapper, it just feels like too big an ask to get round. If he doesn’t retire after this season and looks back to his best next year, then maybe he could have another shot then. But I would be disappointed to see him run this year.
UPDATE: Since writing this article it has been announced that Tiger Roll will not be running in the Grand National due to “unfair weight.”