The 174th running of the Grand National is scheduled for Saturday, April 9, 2022 which, at the time of writing, is nearly four months away. Indeed, the weights for the world famous steeplechase won’t be announced until February and, when they are, may interest the connections of Tiger Roll more than most.

Of course, Tiger Roll won the Grand National in 2018 and 2019, but was denied a historic hat-trick attempt in 2020, when the race was cancelled because of Covid-19. In 2021, owners Michael and Eddie O’Leary, took exception to an ‘unfair weight burden’ and withdrew him, but Tiger Roll is a top-priced 33/1 for the 2022 Grand National, so we’ll see. Trainer Gordon Elliott was realistic in his appraisal of the 11-year-old, saying, ‘…it’s not going to be any easier for him [to win a third Grand National] as he’s not getting any younger.’

A return to Aintree is the main plan for last year’s history-making winner Minella Times (20/1), with trainer Henry de Bromhead planning a campaign in ‘better graded races’. The 8-year-old made an inauspicious reappearance in the John Durkan Memorial Chase at Punchestown in December, falling at the third last when well behind, but was entitled to need that run, his first since April. That said, he is already rated 162 in Britain and, therefore, almost certain to carry top weight in the Grand National, so he’ll need to be better than ever to win again.

Others to note at this early stage include the ante-post favourite, Galvin (16/1), who won the National Hunt Challenge Cup at the Cheltenham Festival in 2021 and divided Frodon and Minella Indo in the Ladbrokes Champion Chase at Down Patrick on his most recent start in October. He is trained, like Tiger Roll, by Gordon Elliott and could yet prove the natural successor to his illustrious stable companion.