Tiger Roll will be bidding for an historic third successive victory in the Grand National on April 4th although his chances of achieving this hang in the balance and connections eagerly await the unveiling of the weights for the big race, these being announced in just over a week’s time. The owners certainly won’t be given everything they have been asking for by the official handicapper and as such there remains a possibility that Tiger Roll might be withdrawn from the race.
Michael O’Leary’s brother, Eddie, runs the ownership operation and he made it clear that the weights may determine whether the two-time winner lines-up on April 4th.
He said: “I have a figure in my head but I’m not going to mention it. If he hits that figure, he runs, and if he doesn’t he won’t be running.”
O’Leary is looking for Tiger Roll to run off a lower rating than would be the norm and while this might sound like an unreasonable request, it does actually follow the handicapper’s well-established ‘compression’ policy which has been in place for over ten years, this aimed at tempting better horses to the race.
O’Leary has stated that the handicapper has compressed the race by an average of 8lb for the past decade, however the BHA have made it clear that the policy has done its job and should be slowly tapered away over the next few years.
When the weights were set for the 2019 Grand National, 173-rated Bristol De Mai was compressed by just 5lb with the handicapper stating quite correctly that if he didn’t compress the rating for that runner, then half the field may be running from out the weights. Tiger Roll is currently rated 172 and as such he can surely expect similar treatment, however will a 5lb compression tempt the owners into letting Tiger Roll make a bid for a third successive win? We can only hope!