Gigginstown Stud-owned Tiger Roll should be fit to contest the 2020 Randox Health Grand National, according to trainer Gordon Elliott who is optimistic as to the nine-year-old’s chances of bidding for an historic hat-trick of consecutive wins.
Tiger Roll powered to victory for a second successive time in the 2019 renewal of the famous steeplechase, beating second-placed Magic Light by two-and-three-quarters of a length. He will be aiming for an unprecedented three on the bounce when he heads to Aintree on April 4th.
Tiger Roll is having a ten-day rest following surgery to rectify a chip which was found in a joint recently and his handler predicts that he will be back in action around February in preparation for another date with destiny at the 2020 Grand National.
Elliott said: “The procedure he had went well. He’s on box rest until Thursday week, when the bandage will come off and he’ll start back walking.
“He’ll be walking for three weeks then, all being well, he’ll be back cantering after that. He was in full fitness and almost ready to run when it happened. It’s not ideal, but if it had happened in January or February it would have been a lot worse.
“The Boyne Hurdle is where we’d love to go, but if he doesn’t get there then he could just go straight to Cheltenham for the Cross Country.”
Elliott remains cautiously optimistic that should Tiger Roll be fit and well, then he will almost certainly be bidding for that third consecutive Grand National win.
The trainer continued: “The Randox Grand National is the plan. Obviously Michael O’Leary owns him and will make the final decision, but in my mind this is the race I’ve been training him for since last year.
“To be honest, he carried 11st 5lb last year, we know he’s going to have top weight, we’re not stupid. It’s just how much the weights are compressed. The handicapper has a job to do, but I’m sure he’s going to be fair with everyone.
“We’re almost certain he’s going to have to carry 11st 10lb, but would he have won with another 5lb last year? I think he probably would.
“It’s the Grand National, I know what can happen in a Grand National. When you go to Cheltenham there’s a lot of pressure, but going to Aintree, it’s just great to be there. There’s pressure but of a different kind.
“Anything can happen in the National, that’s what makes it the race it is, but the build up to the race will be second to none.”