Tiger Roll, the little horse with a big heart, raced into the history books today when becoming the first horse since the 1970s to claim back-to-back wins in the Randox Health Grand National at Aintree (6 April).
The Gordon Elliott-trained National Hunt hero returned to the hallowed Aintree turf, carrying 11st 5lb, and justified his 4/1 favouritism to beat 66/1 shot Magic Of Light by 2¾ lengths, under Davy Russell.
The nine-year-old son of Authorized, who was bred to be a Flat horse, emulated the great Red Rum, becoming the first horse since Ginger McCain’s stable star in 1973/74 to win the world’s greatest steeplechase twice.
It was a third National win for Gordon Elliott, who also trained Silver Birch to win the 2007 renewal of the £1m race.
“Everyone loves him, he is the people’s horse and I cannot believe it,” said Gordon. “We work very hard for this the whole time and I’ve got a brilliant team behind me. Davy’s mother died last year — this was for her. My uncle Willie Elliott died this year, so this was for him too.”
Asked to sum up his brilliant horse — who now has four Cheltenham Festival wins and two Randox Health Grand National victories to his name — Gordon simply replied “Tiger”.
The superstar gelding is owned by Gigginstown House Stud, the racing operation of Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary.
“It’s just unbelievable,” he said. “I thought that he genuinely had no chance today carrying that weight, but it was a beautiful ride by Davy and a phenomenal training performance by Gordon. It’s brilliant he keeps bringing this horse back to Cheltenham and Aintree better than ever.”
The winning jockey added: “What can I say? Tiger Roll is just an unbelievable horse. I was running away for most of the race. It was marvellous — he gave a couple of stumbles, but I think the blinkers lit him up.”
The Robert Walford-trained Walk In The Mill was the first British-trained runner home, finishing fourth under James Best.
A total of 19 combinations — from the 40 who lined up — completed the 4m2½f marathon. The Willie Mullins-trained 33/1 shot, Up For Review, was fatally injured when brought down.
Top-ten placings in the 2019 Randox Health Grand National:
1 TIGER ROLL (trainer Gordon Elliott/jockey Davy Russell)
2 MAGIC OF LIGHT (Jessica Harrington/Paddy Kennedy)
3 RATHVINDEN (Willie Mullins/Ruby Walsh)
4 WALK IN THE MILL (Robert Walford/James Best)
5 ANIBALE FLY (Tony Martin/Mark Walsh)
6 ONE FOR ARTHUR (Lucinda Russell/Derek Fox)
7 REGAL ENCORE (Anthony Honeyball/Jonathan Burke)
8 SINGLEFARMPAYMENT (Tom George/Paddy Brennan)
9 OUTLANDER (Richard Spencer/James Bowen)
10 VALSEUR LIDO (Henry de Bromhead/Rachael Blackmore)
Don’t miss our full report from the Randox Health Grand National in the 11 April issue of Horse & Hound.