Tiger Roll triumphed in a thrilling, nail-biting finish to the Randox Health Grand National to give his trainer, Gordon Elliott, a second win in the race 11 years after he launched his training career by taking it with Silver Birch.
Tiger Roll leads home a remarkable 1-2-3-4 for Irish trained horses in the Aintree Grand National. 3 time winner at the Cheltenham Festival and now this. What a star! pic.twitter.com/aLvk3KelLp— HRI Owners (@HRIOwners) April 14, 2018
Diminutive Tiger Roll, a 10/1 chance, looked to have the race well in hand after the last fence under jockey Davy Russell, the oldest rider in the race at the age of 38, who was winning his first Randox Health Grand National. However, a late surge by Pleasant Company brought the race to a photo-finish.
The National finish RIGHT:
The official winning distance was a head in the favour of Tiger Roll, who is owned by Ryanair chief executive Michael O'Leary's Gigginstown House Stud.
Michael O'Leary said: "I was bloody panicking at the line!
"It was very close at the end and a well-judged ride by Davy. It's a phenomenal training feat by Gordon.
"This was a horse - he's a rat of a little thing - we bought to hopefully run in the Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham, which he won. Now he has gone back (to the Cheltenham Festival) and won the four-miler and the Cross Country, and now to win the greatest steeplechase of all, it's phenomenal.
It's beyond my wildest dreams. I am very fond of this horse now - I'm thinking of adopting him as my fifth child!"
Official betting partner of the 2018 Randox Health Grand National Festival reported a heavy loss on the week's big race
Betway's Alan Alger, said: "The sun came out but it certainly wasn't shining on us! The head of Tiger Roll has cost us an absolute fortune. We laid a number of big bets just before the off, including one punter who had £4,000 each-way at 12/1, and he was well and truly the worst possible result.
"Thankfully, those filling the places in behind were not too costly and we've had our fair share of good results during the Festival. Tiger Roll's win confirms a loss for us over the three days but we'll live to fight another day."
TIGER ROLL BIO
Breeding: 8 yo b g Authorized - Swiss Roll (Entrepreneur)
Breeder: Gerry O'Brien
Born: March 14, 2010
Owner: Gigginstown House Stud
Trainer: Gordon Elliott IRE
Jockey: Davy Russell
*Won the 2018 Randox Health Grand National by a head in a thrilling finish.
*Three-time winner at the Cheltenham Festival, most recent last month in the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase.
*Recorded other Cheltenham Festival victories in the 2017 G2 National Hunt Chase (4m) and the 2014 G1 JCB Triumph Hurdle (2m).
*Away from Cheltenham, his best performance saw him win the 2016 Munster National Handicap Chase (3m) by seven lengths at Limerick.
*Bought from Sheikh Mohammed's Darley operation by trainer Nigel Hawke as an unraced three-year-old and subsequently scored on his hurdling debut at Market Rasen in September, 2013, after which he was purchased for £80,000 by Gigginstown House Stud.
Jump race record: Starts: 30; Wins: 9; 2nd: 5; 3rd: 3; Win & Place Prize Money: £800,446
Tiger Roll, ridden by Keith Donoghue, jumping the last on their way to winning the Glenfarclas Chase at Cheltenham last month PHOTO: carolinenorris.ie
Mark Enright, Ian Amond, Keith Donoghue and Davy Condon after Tiger Roll won the Cross Country in March at Cheltenham
Chasing home Pallasator in the John Shortt Legends Challenge Race in October 2017
Lisa O'Neill and Tiger Roll jump the last on their way to winning the J.T.McNamara National Hunt Chase in 2017 PHOTO: healyracing.ie
Lisa O'Neill and Gigginstown connections after winning the J.T.McNamara National Hunt Chase PHOTO: healyracing.ie
Lisa O'Neill's win on Tiger Roll was one of the moments of last season's Cheltenham Festival
Donagh Meyler and groom Katie Young after Tiger Roll won the J.T.McNamara Ladbrokes Munster National in 2016 PHOTO: healyracing.ie
Tiger Roll and Jack Kennedy jumping on their way to victory in the Kilbeggan Novice Chase PHOTO: healyracing.ie
Tiger Roll finishes second to Sir Raston and Pat Smullen at Dundalk in 2016 PHOTO: healyracing.ie
The one that got away - lucky he learned from this! Jack Kennedy and Tiger Roll get the last fence all wrong before going on to win the Kilbeggan Novice Chase PHOTO: healyracing.ie
Tiger Roll at Kilbeggan with Jack Kennedy in 2016 PHOTO: healyracing.ie
Tiger Roll and Davy Russell win the Triumph Hurde in 2014
Tiger Roll gets a kiss from owner Michael O'Leary – surrounded by wife Anita (right) and brother Eddie and Wendy O'Leary – after his Triumph Hurdle win in 2014 PHOTO: healyracing.ie