“Tiger Roll has also not yet qualified for this year’s Grand National. Whilst he may run in the Boyne Hurdle at Navan (Sunday, 14 February), he still has to run in a chase to qualify. There are about 15 horses overall who currently do not qualify because they have either not run over fences this season or not yet finished in the first four in a race over 23 and a half furlongs in their career. A high-profile example would be Cadmium, a Topham Chase winner.
“Delta Work is a potential Cheltenham Gold Cup contender and, in order to keep as many of the horses in the handicap, he is also off 170. Other horses towards the top include Bristol de Mai and Native River. Bristol de Mai was rated 173 when entered last year and that figure has been downgraded since to 168. I have dropped Native River 2lb to 166 as Bristol De Mai has finished in front of him the last couple of times they have met, and I thought he was workmanlike when winning at Newbury on Saturday.
“This year, 73% of the horses entered are in the handicap. Similarly, from a starting rating of 140, there are more horses than ever in the modern era entered for the race – 92 in total.
“The race is full of top-class individuals and boasts the winners of races such as the Grand National, Irish National, Welsh National, Rowland Meyrick Chase, Cheltenham Gold Cup and much more. It is as good a staying handicap as would be run anywhere.
“You could argue that it is the highest quality Grand National in modern history.”