Tiger Roll is a legend to rival Red Rum and both Grand National greats can be summed up in one word… class
Inevitably, pundits and racegoers are comparing Tiger Roll and Red Rum, but the biggest link between the two can be summed up in one word: class.
Both were bred for the flat. Tiger Roll’s sire was Derby winner Authorized, Red Rum’s a sprinter called Quorum.
They were bred for full-on speed and Red Rum even won a five-furlong seller at Aintree on Grand National day in 1967.
Tiger Roll emulated Red Rum by winning back-to-back Grand Nationals at Aintree on Saturday
The legendary Red Rum wins his third Grand National at Aintree back in 1977
Tiger Roll would have been running at Ascot, Epsom or Newmarket in the minds of the people who bought him for first owner Sheik Mohammed, but he never raced on the Flat.
Trainer Martin Pipe, my old boss, used to say that sometimes the ability in the genes of the top stallions showed itself as stamina rather than speed, and that looks to be the case with these two Grand National greats.
Desert Orchid, another jump racing legend, was also sired by a sprinter, Grey Mirage. Plenty will argue that the more formidable fences in the day of Red Rum — the back-to-back winner in 1973 and 1974 who became the only three-time winner in 1977 — make him the better jumper.
Tiger Roll with trainer Gordon Elliott (left) and owner Michael O’Leary on Sunday
Yet, while the core of the fences has been softened, the present-day Aintree fences are also bigger than a steeple chaser will gallop towards at any other track.
Who knows how Red Rum would fare these days? Any reduction in the jumping challenge has been counter-balanced by the fact the race is run at a faster tempo.
Gone are the days when you tried to survive the first circuit and raced hard on the second lap. The modern-day National is probably a truer test of stamina and that is one of Tiger Roll’s strengths.
I was proud of the sixth place of One For Arthur, trained by my partner Lucinda Russell. He ran a stormer after a season off with injury following his 2017 win and an interrupted current campaign this time. Hopefully, we can get him back to Aintree with a better preparation in 2020.
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