My Account Login | Contact Us
The Earl of Derby Stand at Aintree Racecourse, Liverpool, England
The Earl of Derby Stand at Aintree Racecourse, Liverpool, England

Grand National legend Tiger Roll has once again been withdrawn from the Grand National by his owners in protestation at the “absurd” rating and subsequent weight handed to him by the race handicappers. Owner Michael O’Leary was vociferous in his criticism of the handicappers despite them cutting Tiger Roll’s weight by 5lb from last year. O’Leary believes the rating and weight – despite his back-to-back wins around Merseyside’s iconic Aintree Racecourse – to be “unfair” on a chaser that’s now 12 years old and in the twilight of his career.

Tiger Roll made history with back-to-back Grand National victories in 2018 and 2019 respectively. He was the first thoroughbred to capture the imagination of the British public so much since Red Rum. Tiger Roll’s gutsy displays saw even the most casual of punters take him to their hearts, with many hoping to see him in action in 2021 only to be denied that opportunity by unrealistic weight and ratings from the handicappers.

Ahead of the 2022 National, Tiger Roll was given a rating of 161, which bemused O’Leary who issued a statement within hours of the weights being published. O’Leary stated that Tiger Roll is “clearly not as good” as he was in his prime, aged “eight or nine”. Despite his ageing limbs, O’Leary revealed the handicappers rate Tiger Roll “2lb higher” than his rating in April 2019, when he came into the race as the defending champion. O’Leary believes it is “a pity” that the handicappers have not given Tiger Roll a fair crack at emulating Red Rum’s historic hat-trick of wins.

Martin Greenwood, senior chase handicapper for the British Horseracing Authority (BHA), was clear in his reasoning following the publication of the 2022 Grand National weights. Greenwood insisted that he could not “just ignore” Tiger Roll’s hugely impressive victory in the Cross Country Chase at the 2021 Cheltenham Festival. Greenwood said that he “easily defeated” the likes of Some Neck and Easysland, who he described as “good horses”.

The absence of Tiger Roll means that many casual sports bettors will not have their favorite thoroughbred to bet on at the 2022 Grand National. With the race carrying a monstrous field size of up to 40 horses, it can seem almost impossible to predict the winner at Aintree. Those unfamiliar with betting on the Grand National should size their bets accordingly. In many ways, you have to treat the Grand National like you would a poker tournament, where the sheer number of players reduces the chances of victory in the biggest events like the World Series of Poker Main Event for even the most talented of poker professionals. Spreading your risk by placing each-way Grand National wagers is one way of negotiating bigger fields and ensuring your picks can land you a return even if they don’t cross the finishing post first.

Consequently, there is likely to be only one former Grand National winner in the 2022 field. Rachael Blackmore and Minella Times will be looking to create their own slice of history by winning back-to-back Nationals themselves after winning in 2021 in front of empty Aintree stands.

Devil's Chimney, Cheltenham, UK
Devil's Chimney, Cheltenham, UK

Is the 2022 Cheltenham Festival a last hurrah for Tiger Roll?

With time by no means on Tiger Roll’s side, the likelihood of him appearing in a Grand National again now seems remote. Instead, his connections have lined him up to appear at the 2022 Cheltenham Festival, a racecourse he has performed so impressively at in recent years. He looks set to feature in the Cross Country Chase to try and win at the festival for a sixth time. O’Leary intimated that this would probably be his “last racecourse appearance” before a “well-earned retirement”. He’s said to have been in impressive form in his recent run-outs, according to trainer Gordon Elliott.

Although Tiger Roll will be best remembered for his National successes, his Cheltenham achievements should not be forgotten. If he can land a sixth victory, it would equal the performance of Quevega, but even that horse won all six of his races in the same race at the festival. Meanwhile Tiger Roll has the Triumph Hurdle and the Chase Challenge Cup to his name as well as the Cross Country Chase.

There are more interesting articles in our section on Horse Racing.

Our Mission — Serving the professional horse person, amateur owners, occasional enthusiasts and sporting interests alike, the goal is to serve all disciplines – which often act independently yet have common needs and values.

Equine Info Exchange is totally comprehensive, supplying visitors with a world wide view and repository of information for every aspect related to horses. EIE provides the ability to search breeds, riding disciplines, horse sports, health, vacations, art, lifestyles…and so much more.

EIE strives to achieve as a source for content and education, as well as a transparent venue to share thoughts, ideas, and solutions. This responsibility also includes horse welfare, rescue and retirement, addressing the needs and concerns of all horse lovers around the world. We are proud to be a woman-owned business.