Grand National ends in photo finish


Mon, Apr 16, 2018 - Page 10

Ireland’s Tiger Roll on Saturday won the English Grand National in a photo finish at Aintree.

The smallest horse in the field held off a late surge from Pleasant Company in one of the closest ever finishes in the historic race, which was watched by an estimated global television audience of 600 million.

The 10-year-old winner is owned by Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary and trained by Gordon Elliott.

Tiger Roll, a three-time Cheltenham Festival winner, was well backed at 10-1 coming into the race and always looked likely to challenge. He surged ahead on the home straight of the 7.2km course and looked set for a comfortable win.

However, David Mullins chased him down on Pleasant Company and Tiger Roll required all his courage to hold off the stirring challenge from the 25-1 shot.

Bless The Wings was third at 40-1 and Ireland completed a clean sweep of the top four with Anibale Fly (10-1).

The winning jockey, Ireland’s 38-year-old Davy Russell, said he was delighted to have finally won the race at his 14th attempt.

“He’s an unbelievable horse. I’ve won this race a thousand times in my head as a child. It is amazing to have finally won; it is a marvelous event,” he said.

Russell’s win was laced with emotion following the death of his mother earlier this year.

“She was a marvelous woman, getting up at 6am to drive me around Ireland for races. She always did what was best for her children,” he said.

Before the race, much attention had been focused on the three female jockeys who were hoping to make history by becoming the first to win the world’s most famous steeplechase. Of the trio, Bryony Frost was best placed, finishing fifth on Milansbar.