Tiger Roll runs at Aintree as Grand National meeting starts

Tiger Roll runs at Aintree as Grand National meeting starts thumbnail
Tiger Roll won the Cross Country Chase at Cheltenham last month by 18 lengths

Two-time Grand National winner Tiger Roll will return to the scene of his biggest triumphs on Thursday – but in a different race at Aintree.

The 11-year-old runs in the Betway Bowl, where rivals will include Clan Des Obeaux and Native River.

It is the feature race on day one of the fixture, which culminates with Saturday’s National, for which the line-up will be confirmed on Thursday.

The 2018 and 2019 winner Tiger Roll was withdrawn from the National last month.

Owners Michael and Eddie O’Leary said they were unhappy with the weight the horse had been allocated.

Tiger Roll became the first horse since Red Rum in the 1970s to win consecutive runnings of the Grand National when triumphing in 2019.

Currently trained by Denise Foster while Gordon Elliott serves a suspension, he recorded a fifth Cheltenham Festival victory in March.

Thursday’s race is a three-mile contest with level weights, compared to the four-and-a-quarter miles of the National, which is a handicap where the 40 runners carry different weights.

Clan Des Obeaux is a two-time King George VI Chase winner and Native River won the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2018.

Rivals include this season’s King George runner-up Waiting Patiently, along with Aso, Mister Fisher, Clondaw Castle, Real Steel and 100-1 outsider Militarian.

Former champion hurdler Buveur D’Air, trained by Nicky Henderson, runs in the Aintree Hurdle after missing last month’s Cheltenham Festival.

Billaway, Cat Tiger and Dashing Perk are among the runners in the meeting’s first race over the National fences as amateur jockeys tackle the Foxhunters Chase.

The race is being run in the name of former Aintree chairman Rose Paterson, who took her own life last year.

On Saturday her husband, North Shropshire MP Owen Paterson, is launching the Rose Paterson Trust, a charity supporting suicide prevention projects.

Grand National field to be named on Thursday

Last year’s Grand National was called off because of the Covid-19 pandemic, while this year’s contest will be held without spectators.

Police are stepping up patrols around the meeting, with residents close to the Merseyside track warned not to gather in groups larger than six in their gardens during the races.

A final field of 40 runners, and four reserves, will be named for Saturday’s big race at about 10:00 BST on Thursday.

Cloth Cap, trained by Jonjo O’Neill, is the 4-1 favourite to give owner Trevor Hemmings a record fourth win in his green, yellow and white colours.

There will be an anxious wait for owners and trainers of several horses, who require withdrawals to be guaranteed a run.

Welsh Grand National winner Secret Reprieve, trained by Evan Williams, is one of the leading fancies at about 14-1.

But the seven-year-old is number 43 on the list of entries and needs three horses to pull out to be guaranteed a run.

Reserves can run in the race if any other horses pull out before 13:00 BST on Friday.

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