‘He’s probably in better form than he was when he won last year’: Jockey Keith Donoghue has high hopes for Tiger Roll in Grand National as Katie Walsh looks at the leading contenders
- Grand National ambassador Katie Walsh checked on some of leading contenders
- Walsh attained the best-ever finish by a female rider in Grand National in 2012
- Dropped in on Gordon Elliott’s yard and caught up with 2018’s winner Tiger Roll
Grand National ambassador Katie Walsh has taken time out to check on some of the leading contenders ahead of next Saturday’s big race.
Walsh, who attained the best-ever finish by a female rider in the Randox Health Grand National when third on Seabass in 2012, dropped in on Gordon Elliott’s yard in County Meath and caught up with last year’s winner Tiger Roll.
The nine year-old is heading the market in his attempt to become the first horse to win back-to-back Grand Nationals since Red Rum in 1974.
Katie Walsh, who attained the best-ever finish by a female rider in Grand National when third on Seabass in 2012, has checked on some of the leading contenders for next week’s race
She dropped in on Gordon Elliott’s yard and caught up with last year’s winner Tiger Roll
Grand National Thursday, April 4
1.45pm Devenish Nutrition Manifesto Novices’ Chase (G1) 2m 3f 200y £100,000
2.20pm Doom Bar Anniversary 4-Y-O Juvenile Hurdle (G1) 2m 209y £100,000
2.50pm Betway Bowl Chase (G1) 3m 210y £200,000
3.25pm Betway Aintree Hurdle (G1) 2m 4f £250,000
4.05pm Randox Health Foxhunters’ Chase GNC 2m 5f 19y £45,000
4.40pm Close Brothers Red Rum Handicap Chase (G3) 1m 7f 176y £90,000
5.15pm Goffs UK Nickel Coin Mares’ Standard Open NHF Race (G2) 2m 209y £45,000
TOTAL ON THE DAY £830,000
Trainer Elliott, who also won the National with Silver Birch in 2007, is likely to have 10 runners in the race come 5.15 next Saturday but has high hopes for Tiger Roll.
Walsh took the opportunity to give Tiger Roll a run-out and spoke to jockey Keith Donoghue who rode him to glory in the Glenflarclas Cross Country Chase at Cheltenham, winning by 22 lengths.
‘His performance at Cheltenham was probably one his best performances ever and he’s been in great form since,’ said Donoghue. ‘He’s probably in better form than he was when he won the National last year.’
Walsh also popped down to County Carlow to visit the yard of Gold Cup winning trainer Willie Mullins who has 20-1 shot Pleasant Company.
The 11-year-old produced an extraordinary finish last year to come a very close second and Walsh revealed hopes are high at the Closutton stable that he can go one better this time round.
Ladies Day, Friday, April 5
1.45pm Merseyrail Handicap Hurdle (G3) 2m 4f £75,000
2.20pm Betway Top Novices’ Hurdle (G1) 2m 103y £100,000
2.50pm Betway Mildmay Novices’ Chase (G1) 3m 210y £100,000
3.25pm JLT Chase (G1) (registered as the Melling Chase) 2m 3f 200y £250,000
4.05pm Randox Health Topham Handicap Chase (G3) GNC 2m 5f 19y £140,000
4.40pm Doom Bar Sefton Novices’ Hurdle (G1) 3m 149y £100,000
5.15pm Weatherbys Racing Bank Standard Open NHF Race (G2) 2m 209y £45,000
TOTAL ON THE DAY £810,000
Mullins has five contenders in this year’s reckoning. Pleasant Company, Rathvinden, Pairofbrowneyes, Up For Review and Livelovelaugh. Such is the strength in depth, there could be more Irish runners than British in the Randox Health Grand National.
Jessica Harrington also has her first ever National runner in Sandymount Duke who also happens to be a first runner for owner, Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood.
Sandymount will be ridden by Leighton Aspell, who won back-to-back Nationals on Pineau de Re in 2014 and Many Clouds in 2015.
Harrington, who has never had a runner in the Aintree showpiece, revealed: ‘I was thrilled with Sandymount Duke’s final prep run at Thurles last weekend and that should leave him right for Liverpool. It’ll be a huge thrill for his owner Ronnie Wood to have a runner in the National.’
Walsh visited Harrington’s yard in County Kildare and spoke to Jessica’s daughter, Racing TV presenter Kate, who added: ‘It’s really, really exciting to have Sandymount Duke and Magic of Light going into Aintree. it’s great for the yard.’
Around 600 million people are expected to watch the race on TV with 150,000 spectators expected over the three days.
Grand National Day – Saturday, April 6
1.45pm Gaskells Handicap Hurdle (G3) 3m 149y £75,000
2.25pm Betway Mersey Novices’ Hurdle (G1) 2m 4f £100,000
3.00pm Doom Bar Maghull Novices’ Chase (G1) 1m 7f 176y £100,000
3.40pm Ryanair Stayers’ Hurdle (G1) (registered as the Liverpool Hurdle) 3m 149y £180,000
4.20pm Betway Handicap Chase (G3) 3m 210y £75,000
5.15pm Randox Health Grand National (G3) (Handicap Chase) GNC 4m 2f 74y £1,000,000
6.20pm Pinsent Masons Handicap Hurdle (Conditional Jockeys & Amateur Riders) 2m 103y £50,000
TOTAL ON THE DAY £1,580,000
GRAND TOTAL £3,220,000