On Saturday afternoon, Tiger Roll became the first horse since Red Rum to win the Grand National in successive seasons. Indeed Red Rum went on to claim a third National three years after his second win in 1974 although no runner in the 180-year history of the race has won three on the bounce.
As things stand, this is a record that is unlikely to be broken for many years to come with the announcement by Tiger Roll’s owner Michael O’Leary that it is unlikely that the horse will be entered into the famous steeplechase next year.
Nevertheless an amount of scepticism surrounded this announcement given that O’Leary had also stated that Tiger Roll wouldn’t go to Aintree this year after his victory at Cheltenham Festival last month.
Tiger Roll went on to become the shortest priced winner to win the Grand National since Poethlyn 100 years ago and O’Leary knows that should he once again be entered into the big race, he would likely be saddled with top weight – an additional 5lb to carry.
Tiger Roll has looked better than ever this year and the way that he travelled at Aintree had many observers suggesting that a run in the 2020 Cheltenham Gold Cup would perhaps be preferable.
O’Leary had his own views on that, saying:
“We are not tempted by the Gold Cup – he is a small horse, the Gold Cup is such an attritional race.”
“He has won four times at Cheltenham, and if he were to go back and win five times at Cheltenham – what more do you want from the horse? I think at that stage I would mind every precious hair in his body.”