by Andy Bell
TIGER ROLL has been left generally unchanged at 5/1 to land his third successive Grand National after finishing fifth on his seasonal reappearance over hurdles at Navan, looking in need of his first run back
It’s the Cheltenham Festival up next for Gordon Elliott’s tiny ten-year-old, who will be bidding to equal the feat achieved by Quevega and Golden Miller by recording five festival victories in the Cross Country Chase, a race he won last year by 22 lengths.
Should he get the job done there – he’s currently a best-priced 6/4 – it’ll be all systems go for his hat-trick bid at Aintree and, given that he has captured the nation’s hearts and minds, it wouldn’t surprise to see him sent off at a very short price, with plenty of fivers and tenners on flying around the day.
Can he win again? Of course he can. But sentiment is best kept aside when it comes to betting and while he’s proved himself a remarkable little horse, his task has been made considerably tougher this time around with a mark of 170 and top weight of 11st 10lb. The extra 5lb on his back could well make the difference between winning and losing.
Last year’s runner-up Magic of Light has been handed 10st 12lb (just 1lb more than in 2019) and this Irish-trained mare, who will be bidding to become the first of her sex to triumph since Nickel Coin in 1951, should give Tiger Roll plenty to think about in the 2020 Grand National and she’s 20/1.
Horses trained across the Irish Sea have dominated the last two Grand Nationals, filling seven of the first eight places in each renewal, and Willie Mullins’ Irish Grand National winner, Burrows Saint, looks a major player. Aged just seven, it’s likely we haven’t seen the best of him yet, although he’s also relatively inexperienced for a National.
The County Kildare-based Ted Walsh, who won this with Papillon in 2000 and almost repeated the trick with Seabass (third in 2012), is represented by Any Second Now. The eight-year-old looked every inch a National type when winning the Kim Muir at last year’s Cheltenham Festival and will carry just 10st 6lb. His most recent staying on third over an inadequate trip was a fine prep for the big one and 25/1 looks huge value.
With regards the British contingent, there’s a lot to like about Tom Lacey’s Kimberlite Candy. The eight-year-old has taken his form to a new level this season, finishing second in the Becher Chase run over the National fences before producing a powerful staying performance to go one better at Warwick.
Should the ground come up genuinely soft, which seems important to him, he could well be the one, while David Pipe’s Ramses De Teille is another mudlark who could make his presence felt if getting his conditions. He has been making hay over hurdles of late and looks a more complete horse than the one pulled up in last year’s National after his reigns broke.
Others to consider include Walk In The Mill, who has a cracking record over the big fences, and 11-year-old Definitly Red. Brian Ellison’s charge is certainly no back number, as he showed when chasing home Vintage Clouds at Haydock in January, and is on a good mark of 156, meaning he’s getting a stone from Tiger Roll. The current 25/1 looks on the big side.
Any Second Now each-way @ 25/1 William Hill (1 /4 odds, 126.96.36.199)
Definitly Red each-way 25/1 Betfair (1/5 odds, 188.8.131.52.5)