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The Randox Health Grand National is the world’s richest Jump race and takes place for the 173rd time this year at 5.15pm on day three of the Randox Health Grand National Festival, Saturday, 4 April.
In 2019, Tiger Roll became the first horse since Red Rum to win back-to-back Grand Nationals and the 10-year-old now has the chance to become only horse to land three consecutive runnings of the world’s greatest chase.
Trained in Ireland by Gordon Elliott and owned by Michael O’Leary’s Gigginstown House Stud, Tiger Roll is due to begin his campaign in either the G2 Boyne Hurdle at Navan on 16 February or in the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase at the Cheltenham Festival on 10 March, where he was won four times previously.
Tiger Roll is the 7/1 clear favourite with Betway, official betting partner of the Randox Health Grand National Festival.
Elliott accounts for 18 of the 45 Irish-trained entries in total, the most of any handler, as he chases a fourth success in the race. If victorious, he would emulate Fred Rimmell and Ginger McCain as the most successful trainer in Grand National history.
Elliott’s team also features leading Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup fancy Delta Work and the exciting novice Champagne Classic. Both horses are owned by Gigginstown House Stud.
Other G1 performers among the entries are Cheltenham Gold Cup heroes Native River (Colin Tizzard) and Sizing John (Jessica Harrington IRE), plus two-time Betfair Chase victor Bristol de Mai, one of seven contenders for dual Grand National-winning trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies.
Irish Grand National victor Burrows Saint is one of 10 entries for Willie Mullins, who landed the spoils in 2005 with Hedgehunter. The Mullins contingent also includes last year’s impressive Randox Health Topham Chase victor Cadmium and recent Thyestes Chase scorer Total Recall.
Last year’s runner-up Magic Of Light (Jessica Harrington IRE) and impressive Munster National heroine Cabaret Queen (Willie Mullins IRE) are the pick of four mares engaged. No mare has won the Grand National since Nickel Coin in 1951.
Tiger Roll is not the only previous Randox Health Grand National winner among the entries, with that honour also held by One For Arthur (Lucinda Russell) who in 2017 became only the second Scottish-trained scorer after Rubstic in 1979. Only four horses have regained the Grand National – Red Rum (1973, 1974, 1977), Manifesto (1897 & 1899), The Lamb (1868 & 1871) and Peter Simple (1849 & 1853).
Walk In The Mill (Robert Walford) has an excellent record over the Grand National fences and fared best of the British-trained contenders in the 2019 Randox Health Grand National, finishing fourth. Walk In The Mill is a 20/1 chance with Betway.
The 10-year-old, who carries the colours of Baroness Dido Harding, captured the G3 Randox Health Becher Handicap Chase for the second time at Aintree in December, making him the first back-to-back winner of the race.
Trainer Robert Walford said: “Walk In The Mill came out of the Becher in great form and the intention now is to run him over hurdles at Chepstow on Friday.
“It will be good just to get him out on the course and that is why we are going to run at Chepstow.
“This will probably be his last fun before the Grand National. There are other races that we could run in, but I would like to go to Aintree with a fresh horse, so to run now suits our schedule.
“He has been a brilliant horse for me. He just seems to love those fences at Aintree and it is exciting to have a live Grand National contender on our hands.”
Sue Smith, who tasted Grand National success in 2013 with Auroras Encore, has given Vintage Clouds an entry after his impressive victory in the G2 Peter Marsh Handicap Chase at Haydock Park on 18 January. He is a 25/1 chance with Betway.
Vintage Clouds fell at the first in the 2019 Randox Health Grand National and was pulled up in the Randox Health Becher Chase following a bad mistake.
His owner Trevor Hemmings is the joint most successful in Grand National history with three wins – Hedgehunter (2005), Ballabriggs (2011) and Many Clouds (2015).
Smith said: “After consideration we have decided to enter Vintage Clouds for the Grand National.
“Having discussed it at length with Trevor Hemmings [owner], we decided that having won so well in the Peter Marsh Chase, it was worth keeping our options open until nearer the time.
“He has slightly struggled over the Aintree fences, particularly in the Becher, but we want to keep all options on the table for the time being.
“He jumped superbly in the Peter Marsh and has come out of the race very well.”
Hemmings also has Lake View Lad (Nick Alexander) and Warriors Tale (Paul Nicholls), winner of the 2018 Grand Sefton Handicap Chase over the Grand National fences, engaged.
Champion trainer Paul Nicholls ended his wait for Grand National glory in 2012 with Neptune Collonges. The Somerset handler’s six entries include Listed Badger Beers Silver Trophy victor Give Me A Copper, who is part-owned by Sir Alex Ferguson.
Other high-profile entries include the JP McManus-owned pair of Kimberlite Candy (Tom Lacey)and Ok Corral (Nicky Henderson), who have started 2020 with coveted handicap chase successes at Warwick and Doncaster respectively, plus Welsh National hero Potters Corner (Christian Williams), who is part-owned by Wales rugby union international Jonathan Davies.
The two French-trained entries are Balko Moriviere (Jerome Larrigade) and Disco d’Authie (David Cottin). The two French-trained winners of the Grand National are Huntsman in 1862 and Cortolvin in 1867.
Weights for the Randox Health Grand National are unveiled before an invited audience at St George’s Hall in Liverpool on Tuesday, 11 February.
The Randox Health Grand National is the only race for which senior BHA chase handicapper Martin Greenwood is able to deviate from official ratings in allotting weights.
Betway’s Alan Alger said: “Since crossing the line first in last year’s race, the extraordinary Tiger Roll has been perched at the top of the betting for the 2020 renewal and we are currently offering a top price of 7/1. Could he be the first horse to win the race three years in a row?
“Native River, the 2018 Gold Cup Winner, looks to have been campaigned for a crack at the Grand National and the Colin Tizzard trained gelding is available at 20/1 with us at Betway.
“Despite winning almost all there is to win in horse racing, the Grand National still eludes Nicky Henderson. This year, he has four horses entered in an attempt to break his duck and for the master trainer to win the race with any of his entrants is 10/1.”
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