WHEN is a game not a game? When it is played by the owners of hat-trick-seeking National hero Tiger Roll!
Gigginstown, the Michael OLeary-backed juggernaut that has Tiger Roll in its care, claims not to be playing games over the legends participation in the Aintree spectacular on 4 April.
The organisation has stated Tiger Roll will only line up in the big race if he has his weight compressed. Trust me, that is a manipulative game.
In November, OLeary declared the prospects of Tiger Roll getting the opportunity to fulfil his destiny were between slim and none if the handicapper didnt give him sufficient leeway.
Now, his brother Eddie has doubled down on that, focusing on how the majority of top-weights have been handled and given lower weights than their official marks throughout the past decade.
Eddie OLeary said: Whether Tiger Roll runs in the Grand National or not very much depends on the handicapper. Were not playing games, not at all.
See More Business was compressed 8lb in 2001, Exotic Dancer was compressed 8lb in 2009, and in 2010 Albertas Run was 5lb lower.
More recently, Synchronised in 2012 was 6lb lower, in 2013 Tidal Bay was compressed 11lb and the following year by 7lb.
In 2015 Carlingford Lough was compressed 5lb and Bristol De Mai was 5lb lower last year. What does that tell you?
Throwing the ball firmly in the handicappers court, OLeary added: We would love to see Tiger there.
Racing would love to have him, as would Aintree, so its up to the BHA now. Theyve compressed the race by 8lb on average for the past ten years.
The problem with the OLeary theory is this: none of his examples were horses who had hacked up in the last two Grand Nationals!
A few years ago Tiger Roll would have had to carry 12st in the Grand National. Now he only has to shoulder 11st 10lb.
And in 2019 Tiger Roll humped 11st 5lb with no problem at all, putting up a performance that no one could argue would have been different with 5lb more on his back.
Of course weight is in relation to handicap marks and opposition, but to suggest Tiger Roll is not able to cope is an excuse before the event.
If Tiger Roll does not win connections will say his weight/rating was too high. And that is not acceptable.
So the handicappers must be strong and give Tiger Roll the weight he deserves and nothing less. Its not their fault Tiger Roll has not been seen since his incredible Liverpool success last year.
It may be silly season at Gigginstown but all eyes will be on the Scilly Isles at Sandown on ITV4 this afternoon, headed by classy mare Laurina.
The seven-year-old gives Nico de Boinville a huge chance for Irish champ trainer Willie Mullins. De Boinville has ridden for Mullins in France and Ireland but this is the first time in the UK.
Laurina has always looked a huge talent, but flopped when a 5-2 shot for the 2019 Champion Hurdle, struggling into a tame fourth.
She went chasing at Gowran in November and was superb from start to finish.
However, she was then desperate when pulled up at Leopardstown after breaking blood vessels. If she is near her best she should win. But its a big if.