Few horses permeate into the wider sporting world, let alone mainstream news. But dual Grand National winner Tiger Roll achieved that kind of recognition with his Aintree heroics.
Given we waited 45 years from Red Rum’s National double until Tiger Roll came along, it seems unlikely we will see another of his ilk for a good while yet.
We look back on five of the best from the pony-sized chaser with the massive heart:
Grand National, Aintree, 2019
Without a doubt Tiger Roll’s biggest accomplishment was becoming the first horse since Red Rum to win the Grand National in successive years. Running off a handicap mark 9lb higher than 12 months previous, he never looked like being beaten, with Davy Russell able to take a pull while still on the bridle approaching the elbow, and a place in Grand National history was confirmed.
Cross Country Chase, Cheltenham, 2019
While the unique Cheltenham event does not take as much winning as the National, we perhaps should have envisaged what was to come at Aintree a month later when he obliterated the Festival field by 22 lengths. He looked the class act on paper – but rarely does everything go as easily as this, and Keith Donoghue could have won by further if he had wanted.
Triumph Hurdle, Cheltenham, 2014
Many forget Tiger Roll has been on the go since he was a four-year-old. Some juvenile hurdlers turn out to be one-season wonders, but that could hardly be said of Tiger Roll. Bought by Gigginstown after a winning hurdles bow in Britain, he finished second in a Grade One at Leopardstown before winning the Triumph Hurdle at 10-1.
National Hunt Chase, Cheltenham, 2017
Sent off at 16-1 under Lisa O’Neill on his first run since October, he was coaxed and cajoled around to win easily. No one could have predicted what was to come, but it was a huge step forward and the first time he proved stamina was going to be his forte.
Grand National, Aintree, 2018
Tiger Roll was sent off a 10-1 chance and after keeping a low profile early on, he cruised into the lead looking as though he was going to be one of the easiest winners in modern history. However, the famous Aintree run-in almost claimed another victim as Pleasant Company was closing with every stride – eventually being beaten a neck.