'It was easy on him': Tiger Roll makes history as first horse to win back-to-back Grand Nationals since Red Rum
Tiger Roll has become the first back-to-back winner at the Grand National since Red Rum.
Jockey Davy Russell once again rode the 4/1 favourite to success, coming in ahead of 66/1 outsider Magic of Light in second with Ruby Walsh's Rathvinden in third.
Walk in the Mill, a 25/1 shot, came in fourth ahead of Anibale Fly.
Red Rum won consecutive Grand Nationals back in 1973 and 1974 and, while many fancied Tiger Roll would repeat the feat, it took a mammoth effort to romp clear in the final furlongs.
Trained by Gordon Elliott, Tiger Roll appeared to hold outstanding claims of claiming a second victory on Merseyside, having looked better than ever in winning his two most recent starts in the Boyne Hurdle at Navan and the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase - his fourth Cheltenham Festival win.
Russell had the 4-1 favourite well positioned throughout the four-and-a-quarter-mile journey and after moving to the front, he found plenty on the long run-in to claim an historic victory
🐯 TIGER ROLL - the small horse with a big heart who has made history— Sporting Life (@SportingLife) April 6, 2019
😍 Was the result ever really in doubt? Congratulations to connections of an Aintree legendpic.twitter.com/0L4AldemGi
"He is one hell of a horse. What can I say," said Russell.
"I can't believe it. Ah jaysus, I dunno. At my age now I'm after winning two Grand Nationals. It's marvellous. This horse is amazing, this place is amazing and I'm so proud to be a part of it. I can't believe it. It was easy on him.
"He's a divil, he just gets over the top and at times you think 'Jaysus, he'd want to pick up his legs a bit.'"
For much of the way it looked like Ruby Walsh might seal his third National success as his mount Rathvinden raced and jumped with zest on the front end, along with stablemate and last year's narrowly beaten runner-up Pleasant Company, whose jockey would be eventually unseated.
However, Tiger Roll was always in their slipstream and it was clear on the run to the final fence that barring accidents he would seal victory, with Russell still motionless in the saddle.
Jessica Harrington's mare Magic Of Light attempted to chase him down, but Tiger Roll was not for catching and passed the post comfortably ahead.
It was a third National success for Elliott - having first struck gold as a fledgling trainer with Silver Birch in 2007.
Trainer Elliot dedicated the victory to his late uncle.
"I wouldn't be here only for my uncle Willie Elliott who died this year and this is for him this year," a cleary emotional Elliott said as Tiger enjoyed a lap of honour in the parade ring.
Owner, Michael O'Leery of Gigginstown stud was quick to put the credit back to the horse, jockey and owner saying; "Tiger Roll, Gordon Elliott and Davy Russell have made history, we are just very happy participants. I'm floating, it's magnficiant, It's unbelievable.
"It's a phenomenal training performance by Gordon. It's brilliant that he keeps bringing this horse back at Cheltenham better than ever and Aintree better than ever.
"And what a ride by Davy - fantastic. It's unbelievable, to win two Grand Nationals is just incredible.
"It's a great result for the punters as well."
Tiger Roll's groom Louise Magee said: "He's something else, I can't describe how amazing he is. He's so loveable and has such a big heart."
Magic of Light jockey Paddy Kennedy saluted the winner and his own horse on his Grand National debut: "(Magic of Light) is 100 per cent. She recovered well after a bad mistake at The Chair. I couldn't believe my first ride in the National went so well. For a minute at the Elboe I thought we might reel him in."
Result of the 2019 Randox Health Grand National
1. Tiger Roll 4/1
2. Magic Of Light 66/1
3. Rathvinden 8/1
4. Walk Of The Mill 25/1
5. Anibale Fly 10/1
Here's the Grand National as it happened:
Belfast Telegraph Digital