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.

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