Saturday was the Randox Health Grand National where the hot favourite Tiger Roll was running to defend his crown. This little horse has often been referred to as the “ugly” one on the yard, due to him not being anything particularly special to look at. But on Saturday he made history by being the first horse since Red Rum to win back to back Grand Nationals.
Tiger Roll first caught my eye at Cheltenham festival last year where he won in style and I have followed him ever since. His Grand National win last year was close and exciting and he looked almost beat. He ran in the cross country chase at Cheltenham festival this year where he won by about 15 lengths. Watching him finish so strongly there was the first time I thought he had a real chance at winning a second Grand National.
Having a lot of non horsey friends who don’t follow racing, I always get asked for tips on the big races. In the run up for this years national my big tip was Tiger Roll, but I also said to everyone it is so rare that a horse wins back to back Grand Nationals that part of me felt that he might not be able to do it. But I am so glad I believed in him and it truly was a fantastic win, finishing clear by several lengths, improving on his win from last year.
I would love to see Tiger Roll lining up for another Grand National next year with the chance of making more history with 3 back to back wins. But, he has achieved so much and he truly owes the racing industry nothing. So while I am sure we would all love to see him to continue to run, if he retired tomorrow we would all just be so glad we saw him run in the first place.
Tiger Roll wins the Randox Health Grand National!— ITV Racing (@itvracing) April 6, 2019
Back-to-back Grand Nationals and a place in history pic.twitter.com/vcF6v9JEOL
The racing industry mourns
However, as glorious as it was to see this little horse with so much heart win such an amazing race, this has been over shadowed by the first horse death in the Grand National since 2012. Unfortunately, Up For Review was euthanised after being brought down by another horse at the first fence.
This is a huge loss for the sport and everyone’s thoughts go to the connections. As a horse racing fan and an advocate for horse welfare, I find many of the comments regarding racehorse death really upsetting. While I always expect anti horse racing groups to report on racehorse deaths, the way they do it they almost forget the horse was a living creature and it just becomes a win for them. Someone in a pro horse racing group summed it up perfectly.
“The Antis celebrate while the racing industry mourns.”