Gordon Elliott cut the image of a proud father as Tiger Roll led his string on the Cullentra gallops on Tuesday morning and the trainer said the modern-day phenomenon would bid to become the first horse since Red Rum to win back-to-back Grand Nationals.
After Tiger Roll's cross-country win at Cheltenham owner Michael O'Leary had expressed doubts about his participation at Aintree.
But speaking at the launch of the Boylesports Irish Grand National, for which Tiger Roll was also handed an entry, Elliott admitted the Randox Health Grand National on April 6 was very much plan A.
“He’s a horse of a lifetime,” Elliott said. “He's come out of Cheltenham very well and the plan is to go for the Aintree National.
"Obviously I'll have to discuss it with Eddie and Michael [O'Leary] but he's come out of Cheltenham very well so I can't see any reason why he won't be running there next.
“I spoke to the English handicapper yesterday and he said he put him up 8lb for winning the cross-country, and he might have been easy on him giving him that, as he could have put him up 10lb or more. But, because it was the cross-country race, he only put him up 8lb.
“That'd only leave him 1lb wrong on last year and it looks like he's a different horse this year than he was last year," Elliott added.
The Irish Grand National may only be a back-up plan for Tiger Roll, according to Elliott, but the trainer is hoping to run about ten in the Easter highlight, including Out Sam, Dounikos and Shattered Love.
He said: “I haven't even had a chance to look at the weights yet to be honest. Look, we'll run plenty in it. We'll try and have 10 runners in the Irish and English Nationals.
“Out Sam, Dounikos and Shattered Love are three who could go for Fairyhouse rather than Aintree. Shattered Love came out of Cheltenham well and she could have a nice enough weight.”