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Talking Horses: Tiger Roll is back at Aintree, but not in the right race

The dual Grand National winner lines up over traditional fences on Thursday and misses his chance for Aintree immortality

Tiger Roll, one of Aintree’s – and racing’s – favourite sons, returns to Liverpool on Thursday for what may well be the final time in a truly extraordinary career. From one angle, he is 363 days too late, from another he has turned up two days early – and by 3pm it could be both.

There is an alternative reality in which Tiger Roll is 48 hours away from a possible date with destiny, and the tilt at a record-equalling third Grand National win which his illustrious record deserves. Michael O’Leary, his owner, thought long and hard about the weight his remarkable little horse had been set to carry in Saturday’s big race, came down 51-49 in favour of leaving him in the field in early March, then patted himself on the back for being so clever when Tiger Roll romped home in the Cross-Country Chase at Cheltenham, looking every inch the horse that triumphed at Aintree in 2018 and 2019.

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