Grand National 2019: Can Tiger Roll roar again for Gordon Elliott?
Gordon Elliott’s charge won the 2018 Grand National and has been cut into favourite for the 2019 renewal following his impressive win in the Ladbrokes Boyne Hurdle in February.
Here we’ll outline the charge’s form, the credentials of the trainer and ultimately ask – can the Tiger roar again?
If his ultra-impressive staying performance around the 4m 2f Aintree course 12 months ago is anything to go by, he’ll certainly be among the main contenders once again.
You won’t find many horses like Tiger Roll. The Thoroughbred is a son of 2007 Epsom Derby winner Authorized out of Swiss Roll. Now that’s all pretty normal.
But it’s his path into National Hunt racing which is most surprising given that he was initially purchased by Godolphin and is tiny in stature at just 15.2 hands.
How does a horse with such a tiny frame have the lung capacity to produce such supreme staying performances? We’ll never know.
But Gordon Elliott obviously saw something in him to take the raider from Nigel Hawke in 2014 – and he hasn’t disappointed.
The nine-year-old has racked up three wins at the Cheltenham Festival, including in 2018 when taking the Cross Country Chase from Urgent De Gregaine.
That win is one of four he’s managed over 3m or greater, with the most notable of which coming in the 2018 Grand National.
Tiger Roll was heavily backed by punters and was sent off as the 10/1 second-favourite around Aintree behind Total Recall for fellow Irish trainer Willie Mullins.
Yet it was Elliott’s charge that came out on top. The Irish-bred raider was kept in mid-division throughout under jockey Davy Russell, who recovered after briefly losing his iron at the 19th fence.
He made his move with three to jump, drawing alongside Pleasant Company before capitalising on a mistake by David Mullins’ raider at the 29th.
After seemingly having the race won going towards the elbow, Tiger Roll was then closed down by a resurgent Pleasant Company but managed to stay on to win the race by a head in a tense photo finish.
Irish supremo Elliott is no stranger to big race wins. The County Meath-based trainer is a two-time Grand National winner following his success with Tiger Roll in 2018.
That was his second victory in the race after 33/1 shot Silver Birch provided a huge shock to land the 2007 Grand National.
His win at Aintree 12 years ago didn’t just make him the youngest trainer to win the Grand National.
It also meant he’d saddled a Grand National winner before he’d trained a winner in his native Ireland! It’s fair to say Elliott has made up for lost time since.
He was named the leading trainer at the Cheltenham Festival in both 2017 and 2018, although it was in 2016 that he experienced his greatest Prestbury Park success, as Don Cossack won the Gold Cup.
The German-bred raider duly obliged as the 9/4 favourite to give Elliott the distinction of being a dual-Gold Cup and Grand National winning trainer.
His Grand National success hasn’t just been limited to England either.
After winning the Aintree National with Tiger Roll in 2018, Elliott went onto take a historic treble as General Principle won the Irish Grand National and Jury Duty won the American Grand National.
If you’re looking for a trainer with National pedigree, then Elliott is your man.
Tiger Roll Last 10 Races
If Elliott is the man, then Tiger Roll is the horse. The raider stays longer than an unwanted house guest and has won three times over the 3m+ distance in his last 10 starts.
Although the 2018 Grand National is the undoubted highlight in the form book, his win in last year’s Cross Country at Cheltenham over 3m 6f is a cracking piece of form too.
He’ll be bidding to repeat the trick at this year’s Cheltenham Festival to give him the ideal preparation before going to Aintree.
His 2018-19 has been mixed so far, with a disappointing defeat behind Josies Orders at the Cheltenham November meeting to kick things off.
But that was followed up by a huge drop in trip and a surprise win at 25/1 in the Ladbrokes Boyne Hurdle round Navan, which suggests to us the raider is in fine fettle.
Punters need not worry about the ground either. The Tiger acts on all types, although any dig in the surface would be more to his liking.
Ultimately the Grand National is a lottery. But in the Tiger Roll, Elliott and punters alike look like having one of the prime tickets for the 40-runner draw.
Check our latest Grand National odds.
All Odds and Markets correct as of date of publication