Tiger Roll will not seek a record third victory in the Aintree Grand National after owner Michael O’Leary withdrew the horse from the race, citing his handicap mark as “absurd”.
The two-time Grand National winner received a handicap rating of 161 at Tuesday’s weight lunch in Liverpool, the same rating given to 2021 winner Minella Times.
This meant Tiger Roll would have had to carry at least 11lbs and 4lbs, a weight that could increase if the above horses withdrew from the race, such as stablemates Galvin and Conflated, both of whom are expected to compete in the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Owner O’Leary – who also withdrew the horse from racing in 2021 because of his 166 score which he called “grossly unfair” – took aim at BHA Jump Handicappers team leader Martin Greenwood, following the announcement of the weights.
“This rating is absurd and unfair for a 12-year-old hunter,” the Gigginstown House Stud supremo told The Racing Post.
“It’s a shame the handicapper doesn’t give Tiger Roll a fair rating or fair weight in the Aintree Grand National, where he could at least try to emulate Red Rum’s three Grand National wins.
“However, the handicapper sets the weights, and even though he is obviously wrong in the case of Tiger Roll, there is nothing we can do about it other than to remove him from the race, as we don’t think it’s safe. or just ask him to carry near the maximum weight at the age of 12.
“Since we are responsible for the welfare of Tiger Roll, we must protect him from the foolish advice of this handicapper.
“We therefore regret to announce that he will not be competing in the Grand National this year.
“Instead, Tiger Roll will be trained for the cross-country race at Cheltenham, and there’s every chance that win, lose or draw it will be his last appearance at the racecourse.”
Tiger Roll would have gone in search of a third victory in the race, equaling Red Rum who won the race in 1973, 1974 and 1977.
Earlier today, Greenwood gave his reasoning on the handicap rating given to Tiger Roll.
“I gave in a bit with Tiger Roll and it’s down to 161 from 166 last year, which is 5 pounds lighter,” he said.
“As I keep telling people, you can’t just ignore his cross country win at Cheltenham last season, less than 12 months ago, when he easily beat two good horses at Easysland and Some Neck.
“He and Minella Times – the two previous winners among entries – are both on 161.”