Tiger Roll withdrawn from Grand National due to 'unfair weight'

Tiger Roll: will not run in the Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse
Tiger Roll: has been withdrawn from next month's Grand NationalCredit: Edward Whitaker

Tiger Roll will not be given the opportunity to try to win a third Grand National after owners Gigginstown withdrew him from next month's race at Aintree.

In a statement, Gigginstown announced Tiger Roll had been removed from the National at today's forfeit stage due to an "unfair weight burden".

The Gordon Elliott-trained Tiger Roll won his first Grand National in 2018, beating Pleasant Company by a head carrying 10st 13lb, and followed up in the 2019 running when winning by two and a three-quarter lengths carrying 11st 5lb.

The weights for this season’s Grand National on April 10 were unveiled last month, with BHA handicapper Martin Greenwood raising Tiger Roll 7lb from the 2019 running, a weight of 11st 9lb. Last year’s race did not take place due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Owner Michael O’Leary and his brother Eddie have been outspoken in their view that they would not allow Tiger Roll to take his chance unless he was “fairly treated at the weights” for the £750,000 handicap, threatening to divert him elsewhere, and on Tuesday they stuck by their word when withdrawing the 11-year-old from the race.]

Read more on Tiger Roll and the Grand National:

'Tiger Roll's rating is very fair' – Ruby Walsh on the Grand National weights

Tiger Roll on course for Cheltenham despite trailing in last in Boyne Hurdle

Tiger Roll may skip historic Grand National bid and take in Irish version

Martin Greenwood: 'I'm perfectly entitled not to listen to their opinion'

The statement read: “We made clear that if Tiger Roll was rated in the 150s which is what his form and age now warrants, he would be allowed to run in this year’s National and go for a historic three in a row.

"However, the handicapper has decided to rate him on his reputation rather than his form – which we fully accept is his prerogative – but we have a duty of care to Tiger, and so we will not ask him to carry an unfair weight burden especially as he gets older and his form declines.

“We therefore regret to announce that Tiger Roll will be removed from the Grand National entries at Tuesday’s forfeit stage. We hope he will run next as planned in the cross-country race at Cheltenham, where we hope he will enjoy himself and run well.

“After that, we will consider his future wellbeing, which may involve retirement if his handicap mark is not adjusted to more fairly reflect his age and form over the past two seasons.”

Cloth Cap new Aintree favourite

Tiger Roll had been the ante-post favourite with some bookmakers for the Grand National, available at prices from 8-1 to 25-1 on Tuesday morning.

Ladbrokes Trophy winner Cloth Cap is now 12-1 favourite with Paddy Power and Betfair Sportsbook, with Kimberlite Candy, Burrows Saint and Welsh National victor Secret Reprieve all prominent in the betting.

The statement continued: “We all look forward to this year’s Grand National, which we hope can now proceed without any further speculation over Tiger Roll’s participation. We fully respect the handicapper’s right to determine the Grand National weights as he so chooses, but we respectfully believe that he is mistaken in allocating an unfair and unwarranted weight to Tiger Roll.

“In these circumstances, as we previously advised, Tiger Roll will not run.”

Tiger Roll’s trainer Elliott has been banned from having runners in Britain by the BHA while an investigation by the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board (IHRB) into an image of the trainer sitting on a dead horse takes place. A date for a hearing into the Elliott case has been set for Friday, March 5.

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Matt ButlerDeputy news editor