Tiger Roll wins a second successive Grand National at Aintree
Tiger Roll became the first horse since Red Rum to win back-to-back Grand Nationals after claiming victory in this year’s renewal at Aintree, Liverpool.
Ridden by jockey Davy Russell, the race favourite – and the shortest-priced winning favourite since Poethlyn 100 years ago – saw off Magic Of Light in second spot, with the Rathvinden, ridden by Ruby Walsh, taking third. Walk In The Mill was fourth and Anibale Fly fifth.
The victory was a third in the famous race for trainer Gordon Elliott and owners Gigginstown House Stud, with Russell also recording a second success after last year’s win.
It was a 1-2-3 for Ireland with only Becher Chase victor Walk In The Mill preventing them from having the first five home.
Tiger Roll was the overwhelming favourite despite increased weights from last year after he won his two most recent starts, including in the Cross Country Chase at the Cheltenham Festival in March. His chances were played down before the race by his owner, Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary, and the smallest horse in the field did not feature at the front for the opening two thirds of the race. However Russell timed his charge perfectly in the closing stages and Tiger Roll clearly looked the strongest over the final three fences.
With Tiger Roll’s stamina never going to be an issue, Magic Of Light’s mistake at the last fence sealed the victory. As was the case last year, Tiger Roll was afforded the luxury of slowing down on the run-in, but he had more than enough distance in hand to hold off any potential late charge.
O’Leary said afterwards: “It’s unbelievable. It’s a phenomenal training performance by Gordon [Elliott, trainer]. It’s brilliant that he keeps bringing this horse back at Cheltenham better than ever and Aintree better than ever.
“And what a ride by Davy – fantastic. It’s unbelievable, to win two Grand Nationals is just incredible.”
Tiger Roll was one of 11 riders in the race for Irishman Elliott, who has now won three Grand Nationals – the two for Tiger Roll plus a 2007 victory for Silver Birch.
After the win, the Irishman said: “Winning this is special, I just can’t wait to get home to see all my family and friends.
“I was trying to watch all of mine, I can’t believe it. I never once thought he was going to win until he crossed the line, because I could remember last year. He didn’t tie up this year.
“I don’t get upset too often, but I’m emotional today. For my whole yard and everyone involved it’s unbelievable – you dream about this.”
Not since the legendary Red Rum in 1974 had a horse successfully defended the Grand National, before then adding a third victory in 1977 to become one of the all-time greats, something that Tiger Roll can now lay claim to and his place in Aintree folklore after today’s victory.