TIGER Roll raced into the history books as he became the first horse since Red Rum to win back-to-back renewals of the Randox Health Grand National at Aintree.
It is 46 years since Red Rum claimed the first of his three victories in the world’s most famous steeplechase – successfully defending his crown in 1974 before adding a third in 1977.
Trained by Gordon Elliott, Tiger Roll appeared to hold outstanding claims of claiming a second victory on Merseyside, having looked better than ever in winning his two most recent starts in the Boyne Hurdle at Navan and the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase – his fourth Cheltenham Festival win.
Davy Russell had the 4/1 favourite well positioned throughout the four-and-a-quarter-mile journey and after moving to the front, he found plenty on the long run-in to claim an historic victory over 66/1 chance Magic Of Light.
Rathvinden (8/1) was third, with Walk In The Mill (25/1) fourth.
Winning owner Michael O’Leary said: “It’s unbelievable. It’s a phenomenal training performance by Gordon. It’s brilliant that he keeps bringing this horse back at Cheltenham better than ever and Aintree better than ever.
“And what a ride by Davy – fantastic. It’s unbelievable, to win two Grand Nationals is just incredible.
“It’s a great result for the punters as well.”
For much of the way it looked like Ruby Walsh might seal his third National success as his mount Rathvinden raced and jumped with zest on the front end, along with stablemate and last year’s narrowly beaten runner-up Pleasant Company.
However, Tiger Roll was always in their slipstream and it was clear on the run to the final fence that barring accidents he would seal victory, with Russell still motionless in the saddle.
Jessica Harrington’s mare Magic Of Light attempted to chase him down, but Tiger Roll was not for catching and passed the post comfortably ahead.
It was a third National success for Elliott – having first struck gold as a fledgling trainer with Silver Birch in 2007.