PLENTY expected Tiger Roll to return to Aintree this week, but not many predicted it would be in the Betway Bowl (2.50pm) rather than an attempt at a history-equalling third Randox Grand National victory.
The evergreen 11-year-old rolled back the years with an emphatic fifth success at the Cheltenham Festival last month when pulverising his opposition in the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase and will take some beating here if in the same mood.
It could be that the return to orthodox park fences after nearly four years may rekindle the old magic, but its impossible to know which Tiger will turn up.
He was pulled up behind Alpha Des Obeaux when last trying this discipline at Clonmel back in 2017 and it requires a leap of faith backing him today at around 11/2.
Things haven’t really gone to plan this campaign for favourite Clan Des Obeaux who was a little frustrating when chinned by stablemate Secret Investor at Newbury last time.
Connections will hope that the application of first-time cheekpieces will spark a resurgence but he’s pretty skinny at around 5/2.
Waiting Patiently ran a cracker to finish second to Frodon in the King George on Boxing Day over this trip and probably wasn’t suited by the dramatic drop in distance at Ascot last time.
The combination of a nice break and the return to a flat track are huge positives for him and I certainly wouldn’t put anyone off taking the 4/1 on offer about him.
However, I was seriously taken with the performance of CLONDAW CASTLE in a competitive fiercely run three mile handicap at Kempton in February.
That was a serious weight carrying performance in a good race and the drying conditions again play to his strengths.
On ratings he has a little to find with the leading contenders in this, but at 7/1 he represents real each-way value and unlike plenty of the others, comes here in the form of his life.
Clondaw Castle e/w 2.50pm Aintree