Legend Tiger Roll misses Irish National for Aintree challenge

Dublin (AFP) –


Tiger Roll is to miss Monday's Irish Grand National and run at Aintree later in the week at the meeting where he entered racing folklore winning two successive Grand Nationals.

The 11-year-old will run in the Betway Bowl on Thursday seeking to back up his impressive success when winning the Cross Country Race for the third time at last month's Cheltenham Festival.

His owner Ryanair chief Michael O'Leary had said the Irish National would be his target after he called off his bid for a historic third successive Grand National win.

O'Leary withdrew Tiger Roll prior to his runaway Cheltenham success complaining he had been given an "unfair" weight for the iconic race.

O'Leary's brother Eddie, who runs their Gigginstown House Stud operation, said weight was not the reason behind swerving the Irish National for which he was 6/1 favourite.

"He’s come out of Cheltenham great,” said Eddie O'Leary.

“His weight at Fairyhouse had no bearing on this decision.

"Our thinking is let's run him in the Bowl and let the handicapper see."

O'Leary added this year's Cheltenham Gold Cup winning jockey Jack Kennedy would probably ride him for the first time since 2017.

Veteran Davy Russell rode him in his two successes in the Grand National (2018/19).

Last year's edition was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic and this year's renewal will take place without spectators owing to Covid-19 protocols.

“Keith (Donoghue) tends to only ride him in the cross country, so I would imagine Jack Kennedy will be riding him –- but we haven’t confirmed that yet," said O'Leary.

"Mind you, the Bowl doesn’t look a very good race this year and it's likely to be a very small field."