Tiger Is Grrrr-eat Again!!!
Once again Irish eyes were smiling upon Aintree and at a time when most people would be getting their tea ready,jockey Davy Russell had a dream armchair ride on the enigmatic and egoless superstar that is the equine talent Tiger Roll to land back to back runnings of the most famous steeplechase in the whole world.
This was Gigginstown’s third win and boy do they like to do it with horses that have a style of their own, when Rule The World did it in 2016 he was a maiden over fences and Tiger Roll who is more of an expert over obstacles that are coloured green has that cult following which makes him popular in the game.
In the race he was always going well and travelling sweetly, despite making a slight error at the fourth last which didnt affect him that much,he moved away from runner up Magic Of Light with total ease like he knew he was the boss of this place to equal Manifesto, Reynoldstown, Abd-El-Kader,The Colonel and of course Red Rum to make it double Grand Nationals and now many are hoping that next year he comes back to equal Red Rum to make it three on the bounce.
Many horses who land this valuable race often struggle to win again but Tiger Roll now joins the likes of Pineau De Re and the much missed and much loved Many Clouds in winning after tasting Aintree glory and surely more visits to the number one spot will still be coming for this 9yo.
For trainer Gordon Eliiot this was his third win in the National and no doubt a few drinks or three will have been taken to toast the success of the Tiger.
Of the forty horses who set off, nineteen completed, seven came to grief with Up For Review sadly suffering a fatal injury at the first fence and the rest pulling up.
Back in second was the ultra consistent mare Magic Of Light and he held every chance until a mistake cost her a chance of glory but only an 8yo she should be back next year for another bash.
Rathvinden ran an honourable third and the best British trained horse came with Becher winner Walk In The Mill in fourth spot.
Thursday was a very cold,bleak and wet afternoon with rain pouring in, Aintree can get very rough when the weather turns and that day was no exception.
In the Betway Bowl, Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh were in heaven as Kemboy followed the same routine as Tea For Two did in 2017 of falling at an early fence in the Gold Cup,have a potter around then gain redemption as he did when making all to land the Grade 1 Chase over 3m1f, he was always in command and travelled nicely, this gives Willie Mullins and Ireland their very own version of the Kauto Star V Denman problem with Al Boum Photo no doubt enjoying seeing his stable mate on the telly hoping both csn do battle in the Gold Cup next season.
ITV host Ed Chamberlin no doubt had memories of his old employers when the Jessica Harrington trained SupaSundae landed a pulsating and thrilling finish to the Aintree Hurdle as he just edged out Buveur D’air and Ch’tibello, Supasundae has been consistent without winning this season and although Buveur D’air had two wins he hasnt been at his best at all, getting caught in the fall of Melon didnt aid to his cause.
Over the big greens in the Foxhunters’ Chase we had a real emotional story that this place is all about with Top Wood rallying under Tabitha Worsley for trainer Kelly Morgan.
Back in 2017 Tabitha broke her back in a fall at Ludlow which resulted in a rebuild job so big that you would need to apply to the council for planning permission, after surgery most would think about putting their stirrups up but not Tabitha who came back and landed a win on the biggest stage of all.
Ladies Day was a bit overcast but much more kinder no doubt for the many thousands of the Liverpool ladies who plan this day out with almost military planning.
On the track the days feature came in the Grade 1 JLT Chase otherwise known as the Melling over 2m4f and just like the previous day it was the Mullins and Walsh show as Min revered the form of last year by obliterating Politologue in a real routting by going from flag to wire with consummate ease, back over this trip he is looking far comfortable and no doubt all eyes will be aimed at the Ryanair next season with a possible final run at Punchestown looking likely.
Colin Tizzard unveiled yet another quality staying chaser in Lostintranslation who looks a three miler now by landing the Mildmay Novices’ Chase, he did bag the Dipper at Cheltenham on New Years Day but relishes this test and could be a Gold Cup contender depending on how he goes on next season.
Cadmium landed another festival winner for Willie Mullins when easily taking the Topham Trophy over the National fences pretty stylishly, he jumped these nicely under Paul Townend and no doubt Willie Mullins will be making sure he meets the criteria for next season National as he could in with a chance of doing so.
Finally Mark Walsh made the most of a spare ride from Barry Geraghty taking a tumble as he hacked up on the Nicky Henderson trained and JP McManus owned Champ who landed the Grade 1 Sefton Novice Hurdle very nicely, held up to get the three mile trip the potential in this horse has still yet to be untapped and he remains an exciting chasing prospect for next season.
Three days of pure emotional action at Aintree comes to a close, on the track the crowds bore witness to exciting sport and off the track the colour and the people of Liverpool once again showed that the love and passion for this sport remains at an all time high.