The 2020 Grand National weights were revealed in Liverpool at a special lunch and Tiger Roll has been cut very little slack by the handicapper.
It was inevitable that the dual winner of the Aintree showpiece would carry top weight if returning to Merseyside for a third bid.
However, when framing the Grand National weights, BHA assessors usually compress the handicap in order to attract the best horses.
Tiger Roll is only 1lb well-in for the world’s most famous steeplechase this year. His official rating is 171, but he runs off 170 and will carry the top weight of 11st 10lb.
It is 11lb higher in handicap terms and 5lb more in actual weight. Owners Gigginstown House Stud are disappointed by the treatment Tiger Roll has received from the handicapper.
He is not certain to run but, if he does, 38 horses could line-up against him from out of the weights.
A maximum field of 40 can contest the Grand National. There are 103 entries remaining with horses from 66 and down on the list all on ratings that equate to lower than the bottom weight of 10st.
Tiger Roll is worse off with the re-opposing horses who placed in last year’s event.
At the revised Grand National weights, he has to give 4lb more this year than in 2019 to runner-up Magic Of Light.
Jessica Harrington’s mare was only beaten 2 3/4 lengths on Merseyside last April.
Magic Of Light is also 1lb well-in as she is officially rated 159 over fences, but has 158 here. That is 7lb higher in the handicap than 2019.
Walk In The Mill and Anibale Fly better off
Dual Becher Chase winner Walk In The Mill was a 16-length fourth in the Grand National last year off 144.
Robert Walford’s stable star could get in at Aintree off the same racing weight of 10st 4lb, but is 6lb higher in the handicap on a mark of 150.
Walk In The Mill is only 1lb better off with Magic Of Light, but could meet Tiger Roll on 5lb better terms.
There’s a significant drop in the Grand National weights for Anibale Fly, meanwhile, who has placed in the race twice before.
He was half-a-length behind Walk In The Mill in fifth off top weight in last year’s race for trainer Tony Martin and owner JP McManus.
— Racing Post (@RacingPost) February 11, 2020
Anibale Fly is officially rated 158 over fences, but is given a special Grand National mark of 162.
That is 2lb lower than last year, yet he could meet the three horses who finished in front of him who are entered again off much better terms.
There is a 13lb swing in weight with Tiger Roll for Anibale Fly, while he could give Magic Of Light 7lb less than in 2019.
He is 8lb better off with Walk In The Mill with just half-a-length between the pair.
Away from those who finished in the frame last year, McManus also has Kimberlite Candy who could sneak in at the bottom of the 40-runner field.
This Tom Lacey trained gelding who was second to Walk In The Mill in the Becher over the famous fences in December is another in the Grand National weights to get 10st 4lb.
The pair are now rated the same for the big race, so Kimberlite Candy is 4lb worse off from their last Aintree encounter.
Le Breuil faces fight to run from out of Grand National weights
National Hunt Chase hero Le Breuil is prominent in the betting with bookmakers, but faces a battle to even make it into the field.
Ben Pauling’s charge is 71st on the list of Grand National entries and, provided Tiger Roll does take his chance, could run from out of the handicap.
That means Le Breuil needs around 30 horses above him to be scratched.
If all current entries stand their ground, the last horse definitely in the 2020 Grand National is Pauling stable companion Kildisart – a winner in the grade at last year’s meeting on the Mildmay course.
The first 41 horses have Grand National weights of 10st 5lb or more, provided either Tiger Roll or fellow Elliott trained horse Delta Work run.
Gigginstown are guaranteed at least nine runners and McManus only three.
Irish Grand National scorer Burrows Saint is one of six guaranteed a run for Irish champion trainer Willie Mullins.
He is rated 12lb higher than when winning at Fairyhouse on Easter Monday, but retains plenty of scope for further progress.
Also among potential Mullins mounts is Topham Chase winner Cadmium. He has the same mark as Anibale Fly (162) and has shown an aptitude for the famous Aintree fences.
The Grand National weights have been framed such that Tiger Roll would have to give 2018 Cheltenham Gold Cup hero Native River 4lb if trainer Colin Tizzard were to run him.
It is understood that Brocade Racing, who own Native River, aren’t keen on him running in the race at Aintree this year, however.
The final Grand National field of 40 will be revealed on Thursday, 2 April – just over 48 hours before the race.