Tiger Roll ties Red Rum, seeks 3-peat

LONDON • Tiger Roll put his name alongside Grand National legend Red Rum on Saturday by winning the greatest steeplechase in the world in successive years - now the question is can he become the first to win three in a row?

The thoroughbred succeeded where 17 other National winners since Red Rum in 1973-74 had failed by winning consecutive races.

The manner in which he won suggests Tiger Roll can go on and achieve something not even "Rummie" did by winning three straight.

One bookmaker is already quoting odds of 8/1. Red Rum finished second in 1975 and 1976, but remarkably won a third in 1977 while being ridden by Irishman Tommy Stack.

Tiger Roll, who in victory became one of those special racehorses that will be recalled as long as the National is spoken about, has the same aura and will still only be 10 when the race comes around next year.

His trainer Gordon Elliott, however, did not sound overly enthusiastic of a triple.

"I don't know about next year," said the Irishman, who won his third National. "Cheltenham (Festival) again will be the plan (Tiger Roll has also won four times there).

An ecstatic Davy Russell after winning the Grand National at Aintree racecourse in Liverpool on Saturday with Tiger Roll for the second year running.
An ecstatic Davy Russell after winning the Grand National at Aintree racecourse in Liverpool on Saturday with Tiger Roll for the second year running. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

"He is a once-in-a-lifetime horse who has given us a twice-in-a-lifetime experience.

"He is a little like myself. He likes the good things in life - eating, drinking and sleeping though he is a little more athletic than me.

"He is a devil, he barely gets over (the fences), he flicks over them."

Owner Michael O'Leary, the head of budget airline Ryanair, also would not commit, although he revelled in having a horse mentioned alongside Red Rum and, with his renowned competitiveness in business, a third tilt may prove irresistible.

Victory next year would also make the Irish billionaire the most successful owner in the race - he has a joint-record three, having won in 2016 with Rule The World.

Admitting "days like this justify all the amount of money I spend on horses", he added: "I'm duty bound to say the day I got married and the birth of our four children are the biggest days of my life.

"After that and, in close succession, are the two Gold Cups and the three Grand Nationals. These are memories no amount of money could buy. It's incredible.

"He (Tiger Roll) has improved even on last year. He is a legend of a horse, to be in the same bracket as Red Rum is unbelievable. It is a phenomenal training performance by Gordon."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, THE TIMES, LONDON

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 08, 2019, with the headline 'Tiger Roll ties Red Rum, seeks 3-peat'. Print Edition | Subscribe