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Gordon Elliott defends his decision to field eleven Grand National runners

Leading Irish trainer Gordon Elliott has hit back at the criticisms levelled at him for fielding eleven horses at the 2019 Grand National, saying “if you’re not in you can’t win”.

Elliott has aimed eleven horses at the famous steeplechase including 2018 winner Tiger Roll who is currently 4/1 in the betting. The Irishman responded to criticism which claimed that sending out over a quarter of the 40 runners wasn’t good for the race.

“I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth. I don’t come from a horse background,” he said

“Everything I have, I’ve worked very hard for it. I’ve got five or six different owners, they’ve all paid their entry fee, they’re all entitled to have a runner in the race. 

“It’s the biggest National Hunt race in the world and if you’re not in, you can’t win.”

The previous record for most number of horses from a single stable was in 2001 when David Pipe saddled 10 in a race won by Norman Mason’s Red Marauder.

Elliott’s Tiger Roll will look to emulate Red Rum by winning back-to-back Grand Nationals, the trainer of the belief that this horse is in peak condition following a fourth win at the Cheltenham Festival.

Elliott had thirteen horses originally listed in the final forty for the race, however two of these – Outlander and Don Poli – were sold by their owners on Thursday afternoon.

Eliott continued:

“It would be brilliant to do back to back Grand Nationals,” he said. “It would be a big ask to win for a second time but he’s in good form and I couldn’t be happier with him.

“He looks like he’s better this year than he’s ever been. What he’s done this year in the cross-country race at Cheltenham and in the Boyne Hurdle at Navan has been very, very good. 

“He couldn’t be going to Cheltenham off a better preparation. But it’s a Grand National, you’ve got over four miles to go, a lot of fences to jump and 39 other horses to take on.”