Celebrity Owners Who Have Entered A Horse For Grand National
Sir Alex Ferguson knows a thing or two about knocking champions ‘off their perch’ and the former Manchester United manager will be hoping his Giver Me A Copper can derail the history-making bid of Tiger Roll in this year’s Randox Health Grand National.
Ferguson, along with other big names that include Hollywood actress Dame Judi Dench and Wales and British and Irish Lions rugby star Jonathan Davies, is among the owners of 105 horses entered for the world's most famous steeplechase.
And the 2020 renewal of the richest race in the UK jumps season could be one that rewrites the history books because Tiger Roll, one of 18 entries from the powerful Gordon Elliott stable and the current 5/1 market leader, will be bidding to become the first horse to win the race on three successive occasions.
Is Tiger Roll Vulnerable?
However, there is a feeling that Tiger Roll could be vulnerable off his higher mark this time around, and Dame Judi Dench, for one, will be hoping that As De Mee can make up for lost time after he was forced to miss the 2018 renewal due to an injury that kept him off the track until November the following year.
As De Mee, who has run with a good deal of credit on both starts this winter, is 6lb lower this time round but he looked to be coming nicely to the boil at Wincanton and we know he handles the Aintree fences because he won the Grand Sefton in 2016.
As De Mee is trained by Paul Nicholls, the man also charged with providing Sir Alex Ferguson with a first Grand National success with Give Me A Copper.
Nicholls has already trained the 10-year-old to win the Badger Beers Silver Trophy Handicap Chase at Wincanton this winter, much to the delight of his owners (who include TV star Jeremy Kyle), and connections have had Aintree as their number one target ever since that November victory.
One celebrity owner who has tasted 'National' success is Jonathan Davies, whose horse Potters Corner won the Welsh National at Chepstow in last month.
Victory for rugby star Davies, who co-owns Potters Corner with All Star Sports Racing, would be extra special as he turns 32 the following day.
Tiger Roll was the toast of favourite backers 12 months ago as he stormed to a two-and-three-quarter length success under Davy Russell but injury has interrupted his campaign this winter and it is still not certain whether he will defend his cross-country chase crown at the Cheltenham Festival, a race he won by a stunning 22 lengths in 2019.
'By Far the Most Likely Winner'
However, despite not having been seen since Aintree last spring, bookmakers are in no doubt that the Gigginstown Stud-owned champion is the one to beat once again this time around.
“Although Tiger Roll is one of 18 entered by Gordon Elliott, the two-time winner is not just his trainer's stand-out National contender, he's by far the most likely winner in the entire field, something reflected in his current odds of just 5/1,” said Coral's David Stevens.
Ireland is well represented with 45 entries in total, while there are also two French-trained horses in the list of 105.
Also entered is the winner of 2017 Grand National, One For Arthur, who ran in last year's race and finished sixth.
Two winners of the Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup, Native River (2018) and Sizing John (2017) are also entered and they will be bidding to follow in the footsteps of Golden Miller and L’Escargot, the only two horses to have done the Cheltenham Gold Cup and Grand National double in the same season.
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