Can Tiger Roll defy history and emulate Red Rum?
Tiger Roll is set to go off as one of the shortest priced favourites in recent Grand National history.
Last year’s National hero is currently priced around 4/1 to win the most demanding National Hunt race of the year once again. The last horse to go off with similar odds was Red Rum when he finished second going for three consecutive victories in 1975.
Tiger Roll, like so many others before him will try and emulate Red Rum by winning back-to-back Grand Nationals. Here’s a list of horses that got close to repeating Red Rum’s incredible feat.
Don’t Push It – 2010/2011
The 2010 Grand National was a momentous occasion. Don’t Push It gave record-breaking champion jockey AP McCoy his elusive Grand National win at the 15th attempt.
The following year he was back again, and Don’t Push It was in contention with a couple of fences to go but couldn’t keep up with the pace of the frontrunners. He stayed on gamely to finish a valiant third.
The Jonjo O’Neill-trained superstar retired seven months later and settled into retirement at Martinstown Stud in Ireland. Nowadays, he spends his days out in the field with his mate and Cheltenham Festival winner Master Tern.
Comply Or Die – 2008/2009
Comply Or Die was a popular winner of the Grand National, the joint 7/1 favourite jumped superbly and stormed home in the final furlongs to claim the 2008 renewal. He cost bookmakers William Hill a reported sum of over £7 million!
When defending his Grand National title, Comply Or Die was carrying an extra stone of weight. A concession which took its toll in the latter stages of the race. Although leading with two fences to go, Comply Or Die failed to hold off Mon Mome and he eventually finished second to the 100/1 outsider.
Best wishes to Liam Treadwell who has retired from race riding
Here's his greatest win, the 2009 Grand National with 100/1 shot MON MOME pic.twitter.com/Z8QL8kvxhi
— Great British Racing (@GBRacing) February 14, 2018
Comply Or Die sadly passed away in 2016, his trainer David Pipe described him as “tough, genuine and lovable horse”. Timmy Murphy, the jockey who partnered him to Grand National victory, said “he gave me the best day of my career, obviously that can never be taken away”.
“He liked his food, his routine and his company. You get attached to these old boys and he was part of the furniture with us and he’ll still be with us in spirit” Murphy said.
Hedgehunter – 2005/2006
A Grand National stalwart, the Irish raider ran in the world’s most famous steeplechase five times (2004-2008).
Hedgehunter went into the 2005 race as 7/1 favourite and he didn’t disappoint. The Willie Mullins-trained nine-year-old powered clear of his rivals in the run in to win by 14 lengths.
Odds were stacked against him in the 2006 Grand National, he carried top weight and he only had three weeks to recover from his valiant second in the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Despite all this going against him, Hedgehunter produced a brilliant performance to finish second behind Numbersixvalverde.
The 23-year-old ‘nipper’ is still as sharp, intelligent and good looking as ever and makes appearances at functions such as Aintree Racecourse’s media lunches. Most of the time he enjoys spending time with 2011 Grand National winner Ballabriggs at Trevor Hemming’s stud in the Isle of Man.
Corbiere – 1983/1984
Corbiere’s victory in the 1983 Grand National was a landmark moment in horse racing. He was the first Grand National winner to be trained by a woman, Jenny Pitman.
The chestnut gelding made a very good fist of defending his crown. Corbiere only finished six lengths off the winner Hallo Dandy in third.
Corbiere ran in a further three Grand Nationals, including another third in 1985. Trainer Jenny Pitman said he was “full of courage and honesty. I thought he was the nicest horse I had ever seen”.
Can Tiger Roll defy history?
Many top-class horses have tried and failed to defend their Grand National crown but Tiger Roll does have a lot in his favour.
Tiger Roll is trained by double Grand National winner Gordon Elliott, who obviously knows how to get his horses into tip-top shape heading into the Aintree showpiece.
The nine-year-old Irish raider won the Grand National impressively last year and he seems to be getting better this year. Tiger Roll’s complete domination in the Cross Country Chase in the Cheltenham Festival was testament to that. The Cross Country was Tiger Roll’s fourth victory at the Cheltenham Festival which speaks volumes for his class and fierce competitiveness.
However, despite all these things going for him, there hasn’t been a back-to-back winner of the Grand National for a reason. It is the toughest race in the British National Hunt calendar, and one little mistake can end your race in a split second!
To find out if Tiger Roll defends his crown tune into ITV1 at 5:15.