Tuesday 20 August 2019

Tiger on a roll! Gordon Elliott horse emulates Red Rum in style by winning back-to-back Grand Nationals

Davy Russell riding Tiger Roll races to victory during the Randox Health Grand National Handicap Chase at Aintree Racecourse on April 06, 2019. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Davy Russell riding Tiger Roll races to victory during the Randox Health Grand National Handicap Chase at Aintree Racecourse on April 06, 2019. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Daryl Russell riding Tiger Roll at the Randox Health Grand National Handicap Chase at Aintree Racecourse on April 06, 2019 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

Tony Considine, Graham Clark and Nick Robson

Tiger Roll, trained by Gordon Elliott and ridden by Davy Russell, has become the first horse since Red Rum in 1974 to win two Grand Nationals.

The nine-year-old raced into the history books as he emulated Red Rum's back-to-back renewals of the Randox Health Grand National at Aintree.

It is 46 years since Red Rum claimed the first of his three victories in the world's most famous steeplechase - successfully defending his crown in 1974 before adding a third in 1977.

Trained by Gordon Elliott, Tiger Roll appeared to hold outstanding claims of claiming a second victory on Merseyside, having looked better than ever in winning his two most recent starts in the Boyne Hurdle at Navan and the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase - his fourth Cheltenham Festival win.

Davy Russell had the 4-1 favourite well positioned throughout the four-and-a-quarter-mile journey and after moving to the front, he found plenty on the long run-in to claim an historic victory over Magic Of Light.

Rathvinden (8-1) was third, with Walk In The Mill (25-1) fourth.

For much of the way it looked like Ruby Walsh might seal his third National success as his mount Rathvinden raced and jumped with zest on the front end, along with stablemate and last year's narrowly beaten runner-up Pleasant Company.

However, Tiger Roll was always in their slipstream and it was clear on the run to the final fence that barring accidents he would seal victory, with Russell still motionless in the saddle.

Jessica Harrington's mare Magic Of Light attempted to chase him down, but Tiger Roll was not for catching and passed the post comfortably ahead.

It was a third National success for Elliott - having first struck gold as a fledgling trainer with Silver Birch in 2007.

"I can't believe it. That's the man there (Gordon). At my age now I'm after winning two Grand National's. It's marvellous,"Russell said immediately afterwards as Elliott struggled to hold back tears.

"He is one hell of a horse. What can I say.

"He got very wound up before the race, which was unlike him. Then Denis O'Regan came towards me on another horse of Gordon's and that was a big help. Once we got going, we were fine.

"This horse and this place is amazing. People go on about certain sporting events, but Liverpool and Aintree are so far ahead.

"People come here in the droves to cheer you on and they can be so proud of what they have here, it's so well run.

"It's televised all around the world and I'm so proud to be a part of it, I can't believe it.

"Tommy Stack (who rode Red Rum in 1977) is a Tipperary man and I'm still in awe of him, because of this race.

"Myself and Gordon go back a long way, my dad is here - he only booked his flight and hotel on Wednesday. It's a marvellous day.

"He's a little devil, he doesn't get high at his fences, but he gets away with it."

Elliott dedicated the victory to his late uncle, Willie Elliott who passed away earlier this year. 

"I wouldn't be here only for my uncle Willie Elliott who died this year and this is for him this year," a cleary emotional Elliott said as Tiger enjoyed a lap of honour in the parade ring.

"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 all I could remember was last year. He didn't tie up this year. He's an absolute gentleman to deal with.

"From the last home I was nervous, but he was travelling so well the whole way.

"He's named well - he's a tiger - and he knows how to win.

"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."

Owner, Michael O'Leery of Gigginstown stud was quick to put the credit back to the horse, jockey and owner saying; "Tiger Roll, Gordon Elliott and Davy Russell have made history, we are just very happy participants. I'm floating, it's magnficiant, It's unbelievable.

"It's a phenomenal training performance by Gordon. 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.

"It's a great result for the punters as well."

There was a sad postscript to the race, as it was announced Up For Review had suffered a fatal injury when he came down at the first fence.

Result of the 2019 Randox Health Grand National

1. Tiger Roll 4/1

2. Magic Of Light 66/1

3. Rathvinden 8/1

4. Walk Of The Mill 25/1

5. Anibale Fly 10/1

PA Media

The Throw-In: Tipp throw off the shackles while Kilkenny’s soul-searching begins

In association with Bord Gáis Energy

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport