Gordon Elliott enjoyed basking in the limelight at the 2018 Grand National with Tiger Roll romping home to victory in the famous steeplechase, however this runner has been saddled with 11st 1lb for the 2019 renewal and as such the likelihood is that we won’t see this horse repeating the success of Red Rum by winning the big race on more than one occasion. The bookmakers still make Tiger Roll ante-post favourite to win on April 6th but it should be remembered that he only had a head to spare against second-placed Pleasant Company last year and that runner is only off a mark of 7lb higher giving it a starting point of 10st 1lb.
Mullins and Elliott are well represented as things stand, the former having amongst his entries Up For Review (10st 2lb) and Rathvinden (10st 10lb). Elliott has no less than 22 runners entered at this stage, these including General Principle (10st) and The Storyteller (11st 3lb). Clearly Elliott won’t get all of his entries into the big race but he intends to run as many as he possibly can in the famous steeplechase.
The trainer said: “I’ll run as many as I can. I’ve won it before and it would be nice to win it again.
“Basically I’ll run whatever gets in. If I can get 10 to 15 in, I’ll run them all.
“We look forward to it. Obviously it’s a race we target and want to win.
“It will be very hard for Tiger Roll. He’s got a lot more weight this year, but we’ll see what happens.
“He’s very good. He’ll run in the Boyne Hurdle in Navan this weekend and then go to Cheltenham for the cross-country again.
“Obviously we have Dounikos and General Principle, who ran well in the trial at Punchestown. They’ll be going.
“We’ll try to get them all in because if you’re not in, you can’t win.”
Bristol De Mai tops the weights, the Grade One winner receiving 11st 10lb with a lowered rating of 168. Trainer Nigel Twiston Davies will also look to Go Conquer (10st 13lb) and Blaklion (10st 12lb) to give him a third Grand National winner after triumphing in 1998 with Earth Summit and 2002 with Bindaree.
The Naunton trainer said: “I’d love Bristol De Mai to have a go. The Gold Cup is his main objective, but if he comes out of that with flying colours, then why not have a go at the National?
“Then we’ve got Blaklion, who was brought down at the first last year. He’s now got a more manageable weight, so let’s hope for him.
“Go Conquer did nothing wrong at Doncaster the other day and Ballyoptic is a lovely horse, so we’ve got a strong team.”