It was a sad day for racing fans when it was announced that Tiger Roll would not be heading to the Grand National, ending the hope of an iconic hat-trick.
Following the announcement of the weights, a prolonged dispute between the BHA handicapper and the connections of the 11-year-old became apparent, the latter deeming his given weight as ‘unfair’.
Eventually, the owners of Tiger Roll decided to withdraw him from the race completely, meaning there will be a crowning of a new champion in the world’s greatest steeplechase this season.
But all is not lost for Gigginstown, as they have a host of new faces representing them at Aintree for the National Hunt showpiece.
The maroon and white star silks could well be prominent in the field, with the owners holding 12 entries currently for the Grand National.
Denise Foster trains ten of the dozen, while Henry De Bromhead and Noel Meade take charge of the remaining pair.
Farclas is likely to make his Aintree debut here, after staying on well to claim second in the Paddy Power Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.
There are concerns on whether the seven-year-old will suit the trip, but the gelding has shown signs of improvement this season after coming fourth in the large field Leopardstown Handicap Chase last month.
2020 Kim Muir Challenge Cup winner Milan Native struggled on his last outing in the Ultima Handicap Chase, but he may have needed the run after a recent wind op.
The eight-year-old could be an interesting contender off a mark of 149, and carrying a significantly lower weight of 10st 6lb could well benefit the gelding.
Meade’s Tout Est Permis suffered a fall in the Bluegrass Horse Feeds Chase last week at Down Royal, and was found to have blood in both nostrils post-race.
The Graded winner holds an entry in the Irish Grand National as well as the Aintree edition, but he will need to be revitalised if he is to mount a challenge in either.
There has not been a winning mare in the Grand National since Nickel Coin won at 40/1 back in 1951, with Shattered Love hoping to end that barren run here.
The 10-year-old was unable to get the better of Colreevy and Elimay in the Mares’ Chase on Friday, but she could produce a big effort at an intriguing mark if connections decide to send her to this contest.
De Bromhead’s Balko Des Flos was unlucky to fall in the Cross Country Chase, while Foster’s Alpha Des Obeaux ran a cracker in the same contest, working hard to claim fourth.
However, even with the pair holding entries into the Grand National, they will most likely be racing in different silks as they are both listed in the Goffs Online March Sale.
Run Wild Fred is likely to go for the Irish Grand National instead of this contest, while Death Duty is still a question mark to make the trip across the Irish Sea.
Aforementioned, Dounikos, Monbeg Notorious and Roaring Bull are the four remaining entries, but the quartet is unlikely to make the cut.
Could the Grand National title stay in the hands of the O’Leary? You never know in the world’s biggest steeplechase, but there’s a possibility it could well do.