Tiger Roll is already seen as one of the best National Hunt racehorses ever. But after two incredible wins of the Grand National in 2018 and 2019, he is on the verge of becoming the greatest of all time. If he can secure an unthinkable third successive win of the world’s most famous jump races his name will become legend.
The most successful horse to date in the Grand National is the famed Red Rum, a horse that everyone knows. He won the National three times in 1973, 1974 and 1977. An incredible achievement that has never been repeated. However, even the great Red Rum could not win it three times in a row. Can Tiger Roll win again?
Previous Dual Consecutive Winners
Red Rum was the last horse to win the Grand National in consecutive years, but that was 45 years ago. That just magnifies what an incredible thing Tiger Roll has achieved in the last two years. Those two wins in 2018 and 2019 made him only the fifth horse to win successive Grand National’s since the race began in 1839.
He followed in the footsteps of Abd-El-Kader, the first horse to win back-to-back Nationals in 1850 and 1851, as well as The Colonel in 1869 and 1870, and Reynoldstown, a winner in 1935 and 1936.
So, in the 180-year history of this famous race, no horse has won it three times in a row despite going close, which means Tiger Roll is on the edge of glory and everlasting notoriety.
Tiger Roll’s Background And Success At The Cheltenham Festival
Bred in Ireland by Gerry O’Brien and bought as a foal by Godolphin in 2007, Tiger Roll never raced for them. He was sold three years later to Nigel Hawke, winning his first race in 2013. He was then sold for £80,000 to Michael O'Leary's Gigginstown House Stud and put into training at Gordon Elliott’s Cullentra House Stables where he remains to this day.
In only his second race for his new owner and trainer, he was put in for the Triumph Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March 2014. Ridden by Davy Russell, he won by more than three lengths, and that would be the first of four victories at Cheltenham.
Grand National Successes
Davy Russell was once again in the saddle when Tiger Roll won the 2018 Grand National at Aintree at odds of 10/1. He went into the lead two fences from home and held off a late challenge from Pleasant Company to win by a head in a photo-finish.
In last year’s race and partnered by Russell again, Tiger Roll came into it six pounds higher than in 2018 but started as favourite at odds of 4/1. He won impressively by more than two lengths ahead of Magic of Light to give himself the chance of landing that elusive third successive National.
Likely 2020 Grand National Challengers
Tiger Roll is currently a strong ante-post favourite to secure a third Grand National win. But because it’s never been done before, history suggests it will be far from easy.
The last two runners-up of the race, Magic of Light and Pleasant Company, will once again pose a threat if getting around, but there are a few others in with a chance of winning. Anibale Fly, Native River, Burrows Saint, Borice, Cadmium, Any Second Now, and Walk In The Mill will all be amongst the favourites when the runners are declared in March.
Gordon Elliott Targeting A Record Third Consecutive Win
Trainer of Tiger Roll, Gordon Elliott, has already set his sights on a third consecutive Grand National victory. Owner, Michael O’Leary, had suggested that another crack at the National was not a given if the handicapper was going to be too harsh. But Elliott has removed that fear and plans a light programme before April.
Having emulated the great Red Rum by winning back-to-back renewals of the Aintree spectacular, Tiger Roll would be trying to go one better than arguably the most famous National Hunt horse of all time.
Elliott said: “It is great to see him back, doing a bit of work again. He has had a nice couple of months of summer holidays.
“I have seen him a couple of times during the summer at Gigginstown, and he was good and strong, and I had seen him when he was here for a while before he went off to do his flat work and he looked good.
“He will probably have one run over hurdles, maybe something like the Boyne Hurdle at Navan again. He will go back to Cheltenham for the Cross-Country race, and then we’ll go for the Grand National.”