Those of a certain age will recall the exploits of the Red Rum’s in the Grand National. Indeed, any racing fan will have heard the incredible story of that amazing horse. No other horse has come close to rivalling his achievements in the forty-two years since Red Rum’s final victory at Aintree. That is until a certain Tiger rolled into town!
In the month that Tiger Woods completed an unbelievable comeback by winning the Masters, another Tiger made history at Aintree.
Great buy for Gigginstown
Tiger Roll is the son of Epsom Derby winner Authorized. He was bred in Ireland and bought as a foal by Godolphin but never raced for the stable. He was sold to Devon trainer Nigel Hawke for just £10,000 but after winning his first race was sold once more, this time for £80,000. Tiger Roll’s new owner was Michael O’Leary’s Gigginstown House Stud and he was sent to trainer Gordon Elliot.
Things started to get interesting when Tiger won his first race for Gigginstown at the Cheltenham Festival. This was the first of four impressive victories at Cheltenham. He was entered into the 2018 Grand National and won the race at odds of 10-1. Following this triumph, Tiger Roll had started 34 races, won eleven and never fallen. Not bad for an unusually small horse!
Tiger Roll’s Grand National Victory was a memorable one as he won only by a short head in a photo finish. Pleasant Company chased him all the way to the line. The night before the race, ITV had broadcast their second Virtual Grand National in which a complex algorithm was used to predict the outcome of the race. The software predicted that Tiger Roll would triumph, probably leaving many punters wondering why they hadn’t paid attention!
The 2019 Grand National
Fast forward to April 2019 and Tiger Roll was ready to run in the Grand National again. He was attempting to become the first horse since Red Rum to win back-to-back nationals and he was the shortest price favourite since Poethlyn won the race in 1919. ITV again ran a Virtual Grand National the night before the big race and this predicted that Tiger Roll would be second to Rathvinden.
The Virtual Grand National was surprisingly accurate. Rathvinden would go on to finish third in the real race. Anibale Fly was predicted to finish fourth and finished 5th. The Virtual race also predicted 19 finishers and this turned out to be correct. But Tiger Roll won the race that mattered, delighting his many backers and delivering the worse day for the bookies in the history of the Grand National.
Racing under control
This time. his victory was a little more comfortable than in 2018. He spent most of the race in the middle of the pack and then began to work his way to the front. Those cheering him home would have been concerned by a couple of pecks on landing but apart from those two dodgy jumps, the Tiger had everything under control.
Are we witnessing the next Red Rum? Tiger Roll is only 9 years old and so could run a further three Grand Nationals. What price a treble?