Tiger Roll might be small in stature but he’s a giant in his heart and he’s just claimed an incredible win in the Grand National. Davy Russell guided Gordon Elliott’s charge around the course expertly after the same pairing claimed the Glenfarclas Chase at the Cheltenham Festival last month.
In an attritional affair that saw many of the 40-runner field fail to complete, David Mullins led for a long way on his father Willie on Pleasant Company, who jumped superbly the whole way around the four-mile-plus course but couldn’t hold off the fast-finishing Tiger Roll after he loomed upsides him before two out.
In a battle royale approaching the line, Tiger Roll just held off a late resurgence from the Mullins’ horse to edge a photo.
Interviewed in the minutes after his win Russell, who had just won his first Grand National at 38, was visibly emotional. He told of his long-lasting passion for the race.
“I’ve won this race a thousand times in my head, in my heart, at home.”
“It’s a wonderful event I love it so much, I’ve been coming here for years, hoping…” he said.
He’ll not have to hope anymore, having just guided home the 10/1 winner of the 2018 rendition of the race.
Remarkably, Tiger Roll, owned by Gigginstown House Stud, was also the winner of the Virtual Grand National, a computer-simulated running of the race broadcast on ITV last night.
A race that finished with a Mullins-Elliott 1-2 is a fitting representation of the National Hunt season in a wider sense, with the two dominant forces in the Irish training game sending out two runners that routed the opposition.
Elliott’s Bless the Wings was back in third, closely ahead of Anibale Fly of Tony Martin’s yard, with two more Irish runners trailing in behind.