For the first time since Red Rum back we have a horse that has won back to back Grand National’s, in the shape of Tiger Roll. The very likeable nine-year-old came home as the 4/1 favourite under top Irish jockey Davy Russell. Winning for his trainer Gordon Elliott and owner Michael O’Leary.
Before the race, plenty of punters latched onto Tiger Roll. As the winner from last season, many of those betting on the day also put their faith and money on the Irish runner.
Throughout the race, although he made a few mistakes, there was little doubt about how well he was going. Under the guidance of jockey Davy Russell, he always looked as though he could move into contention at any moment. That is exactly what he did, and he stayed on well to come home in front. He finished ahead of Magic Of Light in second, Rathvinden in third and Walk In The Mill in fourth.
The official winning distance was just under three lengths. With the result never really looking in doubt from the final fence onwards.
The big decision to make now is what happens next year to the horse. I don’t usually pay too much attention to comments made straight after a big race by the winner. These are usually made in the heat of the moment, with lofty targets set out by those involved. However, it was the opposite from owner Michael O’Leary, as he downplayed what would happen next year.
He said it would be unlikely for the horse to come back and run in a third Grand National next season. Instead, he would again be aimed at the Cheltenham Festival, and then retired after that. His race at Cheltenham would again be the Cross Country Chase. It’s a race he would be aiming to win for the third consecutive season. And it remains to be seen whether that is the plan, or whether things change.
There is a long time to wait until next April. Even though O’Leary made those comments, it is too early to be ruling Tiger Roll out of the big race. So much so that Paddy Power are already offering ante-post odds of 8/1 on Tiger Roll to win the Grand National 2020.
Anyone with even half a chance of having a horse win a Grand National for three consecutive seasons would be mad to not go for it. But we will have to wait and see. He will only be 10, and with how much he has improved and shown this season, he certainly looks worthy of a place in the field.
One of the fancied runners who didn’t get very far in the Grand National was Vintage Clouds. He fell at the first fence which was very disappointing for his connections. However, they entered him for the Scottish National but luck was not on his side and he had to settle for sixth place at Ayr.