Gordon Elliott is having a fantastic season yet again and just weeks after his many Cheltenham Festival winners, he is looking towards the Aintree Grand National. Elliott will fire many darts at the world’s most famous steeplechase, but the one that looks his best chance is Tiger Roll.
Just like Elliott himself, Tiger Roll also had a great Cheltenham Festival, cruising to success in the Cross Country Chase to warm up nicely for the National. After a victory in the Triumph Hurdle as a youngster, and a win in the four-mile novice chase last season, Tiger Roll made it three Cheltenham Festival victories with his Cross Country win. He clearly loves the course, but also seems to come to life at this time of year, something which his trainer will be hoping he can keep up going into the Aintree meeting.
As an eight-year-old, the bay gelding is in his prime right now, and is clearly a well-handicapped horse based on what we saw at Cheltenham. He hasn’t been moved in the weights for that race, as the Festival takes place after the cut-off. His victory in the Cross Country Chase looks even better when you consider that one of his main Aintree rivals was behind him. That horse was The Last Samuri, who was backed into favouritism before finishing in third place, 13 lengths behind Tiger Roll. It was the Elliott trained Tiger Roll that proved to be the better jumper and stayer that day, around the quirky course, and based on that evidence there is no reason to think that Kim Bailey’s horse can turn the tables on his rival at Aintree.
Another reason to fancy Tiger Roll is the path that he has taken to the National, which is similar to another horse of Gordon Elliott’s who will not make Aintree this year, Cause Of Causes. He was pulled up at Cheltenham but looking back to last year, he was in a very similar position to where Tiger Roll was before Cheltenham. Cause Of Causes was last year’s talking horse in the Cross Country race, and he went on to win the race. He then went to Aintree where he ran a brilliant race to finish second behind One For Arthur, who won the 2017 Grand National.
While Tiger Roll is strongly fancied in this year’s race, as ever with the Grand National, the race looks to be wide open. He wasn’t the only horse to show up well at Cheltenham either; Total Recall, another strong National fancy also ran a great race at the festival. That may be surprising to say about a horse that fell at the festival, but he was travelling very nicely in the Gold Cup, and would have probably finished third if standing up, form that would give him a huge chance in the National. The tips at Timeform show that this race is wide open, with many different fancies. That is the beauty of the Grand National; there are many different horses that look interesting from a betting point of view, and the hardest part of the race is narrowing your selections down.
Alongside proving themselves to be in good recent form, Tiger Roll and Total Recall have also proven that they can act on very soft ground, something that looks likely to be a factor at Aintree based on the recent rain in the area. With over four miles to negotiate and the possibility of very soft, or even heavy ground, you will certainly need to find a horse that will stay the distance in the National.
With previous wins over four miles, good recent form and signs that the ground will be no problem, there is a lot going for Tiger Roll in the race this season. He will have a whole host of challengers trying to beat him, including Total Recall, who put himself in a great position in the Cheltenham Gold Cup before falling when making his move. There are sure to be many more opinions on the race, but Tiger Roll ticks a lot of boxes and will certainly be a popular choice on the day for punters.