History Beckons for Irish Hero at 2019 Grand National

When the initial 112 entries for the Grand National were announced back in January, a record 47 entries hailed from Ireland, with almost half of that number hailing from Gordon Elliott’s yard. As we approach the big race, which will go off at 17.15pm on 6th April, there is one horse from Elliott’s yard taking all the attention – Tiger Roll.

The 2018 winner of the Grand National is one something of a hot-streak, taking the Boyne Hurdle and Glenfarclas Chase at Cheltenham – his fourth win at the Festival – in recent weeks, After that victory at Cheltenham, his odds have been dramatically slashed from around 20/1 to 4/1 to finally match Red Rum’s feat of consecutive Grand National wins.Indeed, Tiger Roll is young enough that there are some whispers that he could even match the hat-trick of wins by Red Rum, although Elliott won’t be getting carried away just yet.

45 years since last dual champion

For some, this achievement might be greeted by a shrug of the shoulders, but it’s such a difficult feat. Only Red Rum has won two consecutive Grand Nationals in the last 80 years, although a handful of horses have got quite close, finishing in the runner up spots the year after their victory.

So, what makes Tiger Roll any better than other horses, such as Comply or Die or Don’t Push It, who came close to the multiple Grand Nationals crown? Put simply, it’s the manner of his performances over the last few months. The Boyne Hurdle isn’t run under the conditions that Tiger Roll is suited to (he went off as a 25/1 shot), but it was almost disdainful the way he left the field trailing behind him.

A different story, yet one where victory was just as emphatic, was told at Cheltenham. Tiger Roll skipped along over the first three miles and, just when the rest of the field looked spent, he put the accelerator on for the final few furlongs. It was the sign of a horse and jockey in complete command of their surroundings. That’s the reason the bookmakers took a sledge hammer to Tiger Roll’s odds.

Anibale Fly has pushed into contention

Of course, Tiger Roll will be up against some toughcompetition at Aintree, all of whom can be backed with the latest Grand National freebets from top bookmakers. Top of the list is the excellent Anibale Fly, who comes in at 12/1 with William Hill after a brilliant runner-up finish in the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Rathvinden, trained by Willie Mullins, also comes in at 12/1.

Further down the list we get the likes of Vintage Clouds and Lake View Lad, priced at 16/1 and 20/1 respectively, whereas there is also big support for the useful Rock the Kasbah, given odds of 25/1 by Ladbrokes. The 2017 winner, One for Arthur, is also listed as a 33/1 shot, but has been in poor form since making a comeback from a long lay-off.

Any one of those horses listed above would make a worthy Grand National winner, but they are coming up against a potential legend in Tiger Roll. If he retired today, he would go down as a modern great, yet he still has a couple of years at his peak. While luck plays no small part in deciding a Grand National – a photo finish was required to determine Tiger Roll’s 2018 victory – it seems only an off day will stop this juggernaut from making history next weekend.


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