Published: Tue, April 17, 2018
Medicine | By Brett Sutton

Diminutive Tiger Roll gives Davy Russell his first Randox Health Grand National

Diminutive Tiger Roll gives Davy Russell his first Randox Health Grand National

It was feared they were around a horse but the protection was in fact given to jockey Charlie Deutsch, who was on board Houblon des Obeaux. The horse is now a National victor in addition to having won three different Cheltenham Festival races.

But just when he looked to have victory sewn up, the Willie Mullins-trained Pleasant Company, who had been ridden prominently and jumped boldly, came with a late rattle to nearly join him on the line.

'So when you're feeling them out there you have just got to do what is natural.

This year Grand National victor Tiger Roll received a hero's welcome as the champion horse and his trainer Gordon Elliott were treated to a rapturous homecoming in the village of Summerhill in Co Meath the day after their famous win in what must have been a demanding 24 hours for the connections!

It is a measure of the man that only moments after claiming the biggest success of his career, he said: "This one is for Pat Smullen". "It's unbelievable", said Cork-born Russell, 38.

'I was up this morning, into work for eight, mucked out, rushed home, rushed to Tesco to get a load of candies and cake for Neil's staff so they'll all be having some breakfast on Monday morning. "I'm definitely going to appreciate it now". I thought I'd have one crack at him after the Elbow. It was early enough but that was the reason behind it.

"All the way up the run-in I thought he wasn't going to get there and then right on the line I thought we had shout".

It's all change now, however, and in the past five weeks Elliott has taken the Irish Independent Leading Trainer Award at Cheltenham for a second time, hit a record-breaking 200 winners (and counting) for the season in Ireland and won his maiden Irish Grand National with General Principle. I've won this race a thousand times in my head as a child.

"But this is right at the top".

Looking at the opposition, Anibale Fly is a real class horse, who ran a great trial, if you can call it that, to finish third in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, while Total Recall was being talked of as a serious National horse when he won the Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury back in December.

He added: "Gordon might be having a big celebration tonight, but I won't be, I'm riding at Tramore tomorrow".

Achieving the best result for a British female jockey in Grand National history might be seen as cause for celebration.

In a battle royale approaching the line, Tiger Roll just held off a late resurgence from the Mullins' horse to edge a photo. I'm very lucky to be training for the O'Learys.

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