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Elliott makes history
Thu, Apr 4th, 2019


Trainer Gordon Elliott will make history with a record 13 runners in Saturday's £1-million Randox Health Grand National.

He wasted no time in getting into Aintree's winner's enclosure today when Mengli Khan, who he trains for Gigginstown House Stud, finished third in the G1 Devenish Manifesto Novices' Chase. Ridden by Jack Kennedy, the gelding finished one and a quarter lengths and one and three-quarters of a length behind winner Kalashnikov (4/1) and La Bague Au Roi (7/4f).

Elliott said of Mengli Khan: "He ran well, but just missed [made an error] at the third-last which didn't help. He will go to Fairyhouse [April 21] for the [G1] Ryanair [Gold Cup] Chase."

Tiger Roll, who won last year's Randox Health Grand National and is favourite to land back-to-back runnings, could become Elliott's third winner of the big race, Silver Birch having been the first in 2007.
He said of Tiger Roll: "He's been a horse of a lifetime. He's in great form and he travels over tonight. I wouldn't want to see too much more rain - I don't want it to be too testing. We're looking forward to it.

"The way he won the [G2] Boyne Hurdle and at Cheltenham [Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase] suggests he's better than ever and we're very lucky to have him. His form looks better than ever, but this is his toughest test of the season. It's the Grand National and I'm under no illusions, but if he wins it will be a great story. Since Cheltenham we've just tipped away with him - that was the main target, but the National was in our thoughts, too."
When Bristol De Mai came out of the race earlier this week the weights went up 4lb, meaning Tiger Roll, who is small in stature, now carries 11st 5lb. Elliott said: "It is what it is - every horse has gone up 4lb. It's not what I wanted, but that's the way it is.

"He's a gentleman of a horse, but he's a boyo as well, and he's not a child's pony.

"I'm lucky to have 13 runners - that's not pressure, it's a pleasure. But you need a lot of luck in the National. We'll enjoy the day. Martin Pipe [his former boss] had 10 runners one year and I told him I would declare 11 just to beat him! We've put 13 in in case anything happens to one or two!

"Of the other runners, Jury Duty is in good form and won well at Down Royal last time out, A Toi Phil is an outsider with a chance and Dounikos jumps and stays well. Don Poli and Outlander are selling tonight [at Goffs UK Aintree Sale in the winner's enclosure after racing] and I'm hoping they sell well and their new owners leave them with us - they are both Grade One horses and they have served us well.

"I've won the Grand National twice and they were two of the best days of my life. It would be amazing to do it three times."

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