Horse Racing

Tiger Roll to still get Grand National 2020 hat-trick chance – in virtual race

Tiger Roll, who has won the last two Grand Nationals, will get a chance to make it a hat-trick despite the Aintree race being cancelled.

The famous race, which was due to take place on April 4, has been called off due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Tiger Roll had won the last Grand National races, beating Pleasant Company in a photo finish in 2018 before strolling over two lengths clear from Magic of Light 12 months ago.

And though he has been denied the chance to equal Red Rum, who is the only horse to have won three Nationals, for now, it could still be a hat-trick of sorts for Tiger Roll.

The virtual version of the race will still take place next Saturday with ITV viewers getting the chance to see Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary’s 10-year-old in virtual action against 39 opponents.

ITV won the rights to show the Aintree spectacular in 2017, and has broadcast a virtual National for the past three years.

Tiger Roll was victorious in the virtual race in 2018 though finished behind Rathvinden in 2019.

“I’d rather that we were going for the real thing, but if it keeps people amused then I’m all for it,” said trainer Gordon Elliott.

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“I just hope that we are in a situation where Tiger Roll will be able to go to Aintree for the Randox Health Grand National in 12 months’ time to try and win it again.”

Elliott has also backed the decision to cancel this year’s race with Tiger Roll set to be ready for 2021.

"It is disappointing but everyone has to do what's right to get everything back on track. We're all on the one team, you know," Elliott said.

"He's in good form and he was all set for the National but unfortunately we're only one of 40 horses. And so we've just got to keep going.

"You're training horses day by day, never mind year by year, so I'll be taking things day by day and there's a lot of water to go under the bridge by then.

"This is the Grand National, how can you be confident of victory, but we like to have a few runners in the race and we were really looking forward to it.

"From Rose Paterson, the chairman of Aintree, to everyone underneath her, they all have to make the right decision and we'll be backing them up 100 per cent.

"Listen – all we can do it dream so you never know what might happen."

  • Grand National
  • ITV
  • Ryanair

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