Grand National: Tiger Roll becomes first back-to-back winner since Red Rum

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Grand National: Tiger Roll becomes first back-to-back winner since Red Rum
Tiger Roll matched Red Rum’s back-to-back wins in 1973-74

Tiger Roll won a thrilling 2019 Grand National to become the first horse since Red Rum 45 years ago to win the Aintree race back-to-back.

The 4-1 favourite, ridden by Davy Russell, was level with Magic of Light (66-1) going over the last fence, but pulled clear to repeat last year’s win.

Ruby Walsh finished third on Rathvinden (8-1) with Walk in the Mill (25-1) fourth.

Russell, who also rode Tiger Roll last year, said: “I can’t believe it.”

The 39-year-old jockey, speaking to ITV, added: “At my age now to win two Grand Nationals – wow.

“Gordon [Elliott, trainer] has been so good to me over my career. What can I say?”

However, Willie Mullins-trained Up For Review suffered a fatal injury after falling at the first fence, becoming the race’s first fatality since 2012.

Tiger Roll the history maker

Not since the legendary Red Rum in 1974 had a horse successfully defended the Grand National.

Red Rum added a third in 1977 to become one of the all-time greats, and now Tiger Roll has sealed his place in Aintree folklore.

Tiger Roll was the overwhelming favourite and is the shortest-priced winner since Poethlyn (11-4) exactly 100 years ago. Tiger Roll’s odds came despite increased weights from last year after he won his two most recent starts, including in the Cross Country Chase at the Cheltenham Festival in March.

His chances were played down before the race by his owner, Ryanair tycoon Michael O’Leary.

And the smallest horse in the field did not feature at the front for the opening two thirds of the race, but timed his charge perfectly in the closing stages.

He looked the strongest over the final three fences and, after taking the last, the nine-year-old horse cruised clear to win by three lengths.

He was one of 11 riders in the race for Irishman Elliott, who has now won three Grand Nationals – the two for Tiger Roll plus a 2007 victory for Silver Birch.

O’Leary said afterwards: “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.”

More to follow.

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