The Facts Against Tiger Roll Winning A 2nd National
March 28, 2019
The Grand National is often described as a lottery of a race. With 30 fences to jump and over 4 miles to cover, it’s not an event for the faint-hearted.
Anything can happen they say. Just close your eyes and point your finger on the race card and see what it lands on. They’re all in with a chance in the National.
The odds would suggest otherwise, but even still, the bookmakers regularly get it wrong in the National with plenty of recent winners coming in at 25/1, 33/1, 66/1 and even 100/1, with Mon Mome winning it for Venetia Williams and Liam Treadwell in 2009.
This year though, we’ve a huge favourite in Tiger Roll who attempts to become the first horse to successfully defend the Grand National since the glory days of Red Rum.
The stats say he’ll find it tough, yet he’s as short as 7/2 with SportNation. So, let’s take a look at why the history books go against the Gigginstown star.
No back to back winner since Red Rum
Horses that win the Grand National do well to ever win again, never mind come back and win the race for a second time.
Even some of the highly rated recent winners like Don’t Push It, Ballabriggs and Neptune Collonges either never won again or never raced again. The one exception to that trend was Many Clouds, who won at Aintree and Cheltenham before the sudden end to his career.
The majority of the current generation have never seen a horse win back-to-back Grand Nationals, but they are sure to have heard of Red Rum, who was the last to achieve that feat with victories at Aintree in 1973 and 1974.
Famously trained by Ginger McCain, and often spotted cantering along the beach at Southport, Red Rum was a national treasure and gained iconic status after eventually winning the big race for a third time in 1977.
Plenty have tried to follow in his hoofprint in the years that have followed, with Hedgehunter coming the closest after finishing 2nd in his repeat bid.
At the time of writing, Tiger Roll is 7/2 with SportNation in the ante-post market for the National. To win at that price, would make him the shortest priced Grand National winner this side of 1950.
L’Escargot was the last to win at such short odds, taking the 1974 renewal of the Aintree showpiece at 13/2. Merryman II also returned at that price in 1960, when guiding Gerry Scott to victory.
It’s a race that hasn’t been kind to favourite-backers down the years, and that doesn’t bode well for Tiger Roll, who doesn’t have much for competition at the top of the market.
There’s been no winning outright favourite since Hedgehunter (7/1) in 2005, and the last joint favourite to win was Don’t Push It at 10/1 in 2010. They are the only market leaders to win the race this Millennium.
Another Year Older
The Grand National has never really been dominated by a particular age group. The immediate thinking might be that older horses usually end up here, but in three of the last four years, it’s gone the way of 8-year-old’s. A stat that doesn’t tick the box of Tiger Roll, who is now nine.
From the last 10 running’s of the Grand National, only two 9-year-old’s have tasted victory with Rule The World in 2016 and Mon Mome in 2009. Both who sprung a surprise at big each-way prizes.
The last 9year-old to win at single figure odds was Comply Or Die, who won as a 7/1 joint-favourite in 2008.
Mai Oh Mai
Another factor that could be a negative for Tiger Roll, is Bristol De Mai being scratched from the race.
The two-time Betfair Chase winner, who was 3rd in the Gold Cup at Cheltenham Festival, was named as the top weight for the National but connections have decided to head for the Bowl at Aintree, rather than the big one.
That means everybody will be made to carry 4lb more by the handicapper, giving Tiger Roll the difficulty of 11st 5lb rather than 11st 1lb. That may not seem like much of a jump, but given he only just won a photo finish when carrying 10st 13lb last year, it could make this a big ask for such a small horse.
It’s not impossible, with Many Clouds and Neptune Collonges carrying more to victory of late, but its no coincidence that the last three winners have carried under 11 stone.
Stats and records are there to be broken, but if Tiger Roll can do it, he’ll surely go down in Grand National history forever.
The bookmakers offering the best Grand National betting odds
As a qualified sports journalist, Luke has worked with nationally-recognised outlets covering events from the World Cup to the Grand National. Luke is one of the few men who has to admit that their father was the better footballer, but at least he can take comfort from the fact he got to see his Dad score at Wembley. When Luke isn’t talking football, you’ll normally find him following his other passion, horse racing and has his own horses in training with Paul Nicholls and Mark Johnston.