Tiger Roll justified favouritism in the 2018 Grand National, showing plenty of guts and desire to beat Pleasant Company by a short head.
That victory gave trainer Gordon Elliott a second win in the world-famous race, 11 years after Silver Birch’s triumph at Aintree. The National is one of the region’s biggest events, and 50,000 fans will head to Merseyside for one of the highlights of the season in 2019.
The handicapper has been hard on Tiger Roll ahead of the 2019 National, making Elliott’s runner 9lbs higher in the weights than last year. That in itself might be enough to tempt punters to look elsewhere, but he is still a superstar of the sport. History is not on Tiger Roll’s side in terms of winning back-to-back Grand Nationals, though; horses rarely win the Aintree showpiece in successive years, with Red Rum being the exception to the rule.
“Aintree Grand National 2013” (CC BY 2.0) by stacey.cavanagh
The nine-year-old went off as a 10/1 favourite in April last year and could end up being around the same price this year. The ‘once a year’ punters are likely to get on board with the Elliott runner after his triumph in 2018, and horse racing fans should consider taking his current price. At close to 20/1 as of February 13 with most major UK bookmakers, Tiger Roll carries plenty of appeal in each-way betting markets.
First and foremost, Elliott could send Tiger Roll to Cheltenham to defend his Cross Country Chase crown. One of the most versatile horses in training, Tiger Roll is a 3/1 chance in the latest Cheltenham Festival odds to notch a fourth win at the meeting. Incredibly, he has won three different races at the Festival in his career – could he record his first title defence at Prestbury Park?
With the Grand National taking place less than one month after Cheltenham, Elliott and co may have a decision to make. A difficult run at the Festival could force connections to bypass Aintree, and ante-post bettors will be wary of that. Taking non-runner, no-bet odds now may prove prudent with that in mind. Tiger Roll got the job done last year, but there is always an element of risk when running at both meetings.
— Racing Post (@RacingPost) February 12, 2019
Aintree’s Grand National meeting is one of the highlights of the calendar year, and racegoers from all over the United Kingdom will be eagerly anticipating the event. If Tiger Roll makes the trip to Merseyside, he has to be respected. Yes, the additional weight will make it harder on the whole, but he ticks all the right boxes to become the first repeat winner since Red Rum in 1973-74.
Tiger Roll is primed for a huge 2019 campaign – imagine the scenes if he romps home at Cheltenham and Aintree for the second year in a row? Heading into the spring, connections will be happy with his progress, and Elliott will have him ready to go at Prestbury Park in March. Those in this neck of the woods and the wider general public will be hoping that he is fit and raring to go for Grand National glory come April 6.