Thursday, 16 January 2020

Tiger Roll Keeps On Rolling in the 2019 Grand National

The pre-race hype surrounding the 2019 renewal of the Grand National was all about Tiger Roll, owned by Michael O’Leary and trained by Gordon Elliott, who was attempting to become the first horse since the legendary Red Rum, in 1974, to win the celebrated steeplechase two years running. At one point, there was even talk of Tiger Roll starting a shorter-priced favourite than Poethlyn, who won the 1919 renewal, under Ernie Piggott, at odds of 11/4.

In the end, common sense prevailed, at least to a degree, and Tiger Roll was sent off 4/1 favourite on the day. In truth, apart from a couple of stumbles at Valentine’s Brook and the following fence on the second circuit, from which he quickly recovered, the diminutive steeplechaser barely gave his supporters and anxious moment. He led, going well, between the last two fences and readily drew clear before being ridden out in the closing stages to hold 66/1 chance Magic Of Light by 2¾ lengths. Tiger Roll did, in fact, become the shortest-priced winner of the National since Poethlyn and his victory made Gordon Elliot – who also saddled Silver Birch in 2007 – the first trainer since the late Tim Forster to train three National winners.

Elliott took no chances, saddling a record eleven runners, although his next-best finisher was 50/1 chance A Toi Phil, who finished twelfth, 34¾ lengths behind the winner. Also among the also-rans were Cheltenham Gold Cup runner-up Anibale Fly, who stayed on inside the final furlong to finish fifth, but could never really land a blow, and 2017 winner One For Arthur, who weakened on the notoriously long run-in to finish a place behind. However, the 2019 Grand National will always be remembered for the performance of ‘rock star’ Tiger Roll, as winning jockey Davy Russell later called him, and although a third attempt is highly unlikely, his place in National history is assured.

Wednesday, 20 November 2019

Grand National Jokes

grand national jokes
Grand National Gambling Tips

V-NECK 15/1 its always been a good jumper

“Foundation” 2nd Race. You can put your house on it

“Spearmint Gum”, although, no, that sticks to the rails.!

12-1 dusty carpet. It’s never been beaten.

Ironing Board, put your shirt on it.

Monday, 4 November 2019

Champion Hurdle Triple Winners

At the time of writing, Buveur D’Air stands on the cusp of greatness as he attempts to become the first horse since Istabraq, and just the sixth in all, to win the Champion Hurdle three times. His Timeform Annual Rating, of 167, is some way adrift of that awarded to the greatest hurdlers since the early Sixties, so we’ve reviewed the previous triple winners of the Champion Hurdle to see how they compare. Check out the Cheltenham Betting Guide for a more up-to-date take on this unmissable festival of racing.

Istabraq (1998, 1999, 2000)

Owned, like Buveur D’Air, by J.P. McManus, trained by Aidan O’Brien and ridden by Charlie Swan, Istabraq was awarded a Timeform Annual Rating of 180, alongside Monksfield and inferior, by 2lb, only to Night Nurse in the Timeform era. Having quickened clear for an impressive, 4-length win over Hors La Loi III in the millennium renewal of the Champion Hurdle, Istrabraq was denied the opportunity to defend his title – and attempt an unprecedented four-timer – after an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease forced the cancellation of the entire Cheltenham Festival in 2001. He did return for the Champion Hurdle the following year, but was pulled up before the third flight and never raced again.

See You Then (1985, 1986, 1987)

Beaten favourite in the Triumph Hurdle in 1984, See You Then was an ill-tempered, but fragile, gelding, who was rarely seen on the racecourse between his three Champion Hurdle victories. He was trained, like Buveur D’Air, by Nicky Henderson and ridden, on all three occasions, by Steve Smith-Eccles, who deputised for the injured John Francome in 1985 and kept the ride when Francome retired shortly afterwards. Despite limited racecourse appearances – between 1984/85 and 1986/87 he had just ten starts, winning eight of them – See You Then earned a Timeform Annual Rating of 173.

Persian War (1968, 1969, 1970)

Trained by Colin Davies and ridden to all three Champion Hurdle victories by Jimmy Utley, Persian War was awarded a Timeform Annual Rating of 179, 1lb inferior to Istabraq, and therefore fourth on the all-time list, according to the respected ratings organisation. The winner of the Triumph Hurdle in 1967, Persian War also finished second, beaten 4 lengths, behind Bula in the Champion Hurdle in 1971. Indeed, had he not been shuffled from pillar-to-post, among six trainers, by his owner Henry Alper, he nay have been even more successful.

Sir Ken (1952, 1953, 1954)

Trained by Willie Stephenson and ridden by Tim Molony – who also won the Champion Hurdle on Hatton’s Grace in 1951 – Sir Ken recorded his three successive victories in the Champion Hurdle in the period before Timeform ratings were published for National Hunt racing and, as such, is difficult to compare with different generations. Nevertheless, Sir Ken had the distinction of being returned at odds of 2/5 in 1953, making him the shortest-priced winner in the history of the Champion Hurdle.

Hatton’s Grace (1949, 1950, 1951)

Trained by Vincent O’Brien and ridden on the first two occasions by Aubrey Brabazon and on the last by Tim Molony, Hatton’s Grace was a plain, cheaply bought gelding, who didn’t see a racecourse until he was six years old and didn’t win the Champion Hurdle until he was nine. However, after an unlikely victory over the seemingly invincible National Spirit in 1949, he followed up in 1950 and in 1951, as an 11-year-old, became the first horse to complete a hat-trick in the Champion Hurdle. He remains one of just two horses of that age – the other being Sea Pigeon in 1981 – to win the Champion Hurdle.

Monday, 14 October 2019

Tiger Roll Roars to Victory in the 2018 Grand National

The 2018 Grand National was run on heavy going for the first time since 2001 when, in atrocious conditions, Red Marauder and Smarty were the only two of the 40 starters to complete the course unscathed. However, the 2018 renewal, run on a sunny afternoon, was a much kinder affair for all concerned and, in the absence of Regal Encore and Walk In The Mill, twelve of the 38 horses that eventually faced the starter completed the course.

Sadly, they did not include the well-supported Blaklion, who was mid-division when brought down at the first fence. Similarly, 7/1 favourite Total Recall made a series of catastrophic blunders and was, frankly, fortunate to survive as long as he did before being eased off and pulled up before the second last fence. All of the other fancied horses survived, including the diminutive Tiger Roll, fresh from victory in the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, who was sent off at 10/1 joint second favourite alongside Cheltenham Gold Cup third Anibale Fly.

Indeed, halfway up the run-in, Tiger Roll took a clear, 6-length lead and looked poised for a comfortable victory, only to be pressed by the rallying Pleasant Company in the closing stages before holding on, all out to win by a head. Winning trainer Gordon Elliott also saddled the third home, 40/1 chance Bless The Wings, who finished 11 lengths further behind, and Tony Martin completed an Irish clean sweep of the first four places with Anibale Fly, who was just a neck behind. Milansbar, a 25/1 chance trained by Neil King and ridden by Bryony Frost, who was having her first ride in the National, fared best of the domestic runners, finishing a never-dangerous fifth, 32½ lengths behind the winner.