It’s An Outrage That Tiger Roll Has To Qualify For Grand National

Elegant Escape was a bit disappointing for me in the Grand National Trial at Haydock on Saturday.

Grand National Trial
He made a mistake early on and never travelled after that and pulled up. We can put a line through that though. He is a horse that has ran a few hard races and he ran a good race in the Welsh Grand National at Christmas.

It was a good performance from the winner, Smooth Stepper, off a light weight and on testing ground. I’m not sure if we saw the Grand National winner at Haydock though.

Ballyoptic probably laid down a good marker for the Grand National over any other horse in England on Saturday when he won the Swinley Chase at Ascot. He bounced out and made all the running. I’m just not sure if his form around Aintree is good enough to win a Grand National.

He will definitely line up for it though. Nigel Twiston-Davies has won the race twice and he would have to have an each-way chance, especially if the ground is soft.

Boyne Hurdle
Magic Of Light was slightly disappointing in the Boyne Hurdle at Navan on Sunday but that was purely down to the ground. The conditions were very tough. The wind and rain throughout that race was as bad as I’ve ever ridden in and she just didn’t enjoy it.

I wouldn’t be overly concerned; I thought she ran a good race. She just couldn’t quicken up on the ground but she will go straight to the Grand National now.

Tiger Roll
Tiger Roll ran a very promising race to finish fifth in the Boyle Hurdle on his comeback run. I think connections will be delighted with him. He will head on to the Cross Country Chase at Cheltenham now.

There is a possibility that if something goes wrong that Tiger Roll wouldn’t qualify for the Grand National.

In my opinion, that is an absolute outrage.

A horse of his stature, that has won the race twice, still has to qualify for it. For the sake of racing I hope that he does line up for Cheltenham and that everything goes well because it would be a complete catastrophe if he didn’t qualify for the Grand National.

Chris’s Dream
Chris’s Dream performed well over 2&½ miles on heavy ground to win the Red Mills Chase at Gowran Park on Saturday. Rachael Blackmore jumped out and ran a good gallop and brought his stamina into play.

He is entered into the Ryanair Chase and Gold Cup at Cheltenham and I would imagine Henry De Bromhead will keep him in both races to keep his options open. He is a horse that is going in the right direction and if he got soft ground he could definitely be a player in either race, especially the Ryanair Chase.

The only concern would be that he stayed to the right a bit at Gowran Park which would be an issue at Cheltenham but that was only because of the conditions and I think he was a bit lonely up front on his own.

Ascot Chase
Riders On the Storm was definitely going to finish second in the Ascot Chase on Saturday if Traffic Fluide had not fallen at the last. Cyrname hasn’t fired since he beat Altior earlier in the season. His form has tailed off completely.

It’s hard to know form-wise what to make of the race. Traffic Fluide was definitely going to win. Riders On the Storm will definitely go to the Ryanair Chase and will need to improve again to have a chance of winning it. He performed well on Saturday but there are far better horses going to the Ryanair.

Captain Cj
Captain Cj performed well to win the Ten Up Novice Chase at Navan.

Looking forward, novices have an excellent record in the BoyleSports Irish Grand National and I think that’s the route he should go.

He stayed very well on Sunday over 3&½ miles under very testing conditions. He would probably need to jump a fraction quicker in the early stages of the race to hold position in the BoyleSports Irish Grand National but I thought he laid down a good marker for it.

It will be interesting to see what route connections go but if he was mine, that’s the race I’d be aiming for.