Wednesday 11 July 2018

Tiger Roll Wins the 2018 Grand National

The oldest competitor in the 2018 Grand National, Davy Russell had virtually achieved everything to give his illustrious career a picture-perfect culmination. And he unmistakably pulled off a demanding feat oh-so masterfully. 

Riding one of the smallest horses seen in the past few years, the irresistible champion colorfully netted a last-gasp triumph in the 171st Randox Health Grand National. 

As a result of this extraordinary success, Tiger Roll became Michael O’Leary’s second Grand National winner in a period of just three years. Besides advancing the internationally esteemed Ryanair executive’s fame across the racing fraternity, the victory made Gordon Elliot a twice-winning trainer. Thus, the triumphant team beamed with immeasurable delight as the number 13 won in a brilliant photo-finish. 

The promising eight-year-old had formerly recorded other laudable victories. For instance, he won the National Hunt Chase, the Triumph Hurdle, and the Cross-Country in the previous Cheltenham Festival. 

Responding to a string of media queries, the unrelenting Russell disclosed that he’d felt deflated when the commentators’ booming voices announced him as the oldest participant in the race! He acknowledged to have contemplated pulling out of the race. However, some inner voice urged him to give the Grand National his best try – perhaps his last attempt, or so he thought.

Visibly excited after the photo finish, O’Leary heartily explained that such a magnificent win meant so much to a skilled jockey like Davy Russell. And it was an indeed an exhilarating spectacle; seeing the iron-willed 38-year-old sporting icon clinch his first-ever Grand National. The elated owner admitted to have initially worried if such a small horse would manage the fences. The ardent supporter of Irish jump racing confided to journalists that he felt “wonderful” after the success. He even threw in a humorous twist to the curt celebratory remark; lamenting that this was besides the mistaken thinking of some folks who falsely thought he didn’t actually have such a heart! 

The unanticipated win left trainer Gordon Elliot speechless. He alleged not to have believed it when commentators cheerfully described Tiger Roll’s victory as a splendidly orchestrated photo-finish like no other. Having won with Silver Birch back in 2007, was cause for double celebration. 

Staged at the time-honored Aintree Racecourse - situated close to England’s Liverpool – the event completed a three-day steeplechase showpiece. 

Having pompously begun on April 12, 2018, the time-old event was the second Grand National sponsored by the Randox Health. At the end of the day’s tough contest, 38 runners returned to their stables in good shape after a largely safe contest, although Saint Are needed some veterinary attention after sustaining an injury. Additionally, Charlie Deustch had to receive specialized treatment. 

With a total of 105 entries, only 40 runners were cleared to participate in the star-studded event. Two competitors – Regal Encore and Walk in the Mill –suffered short-notice withdrawals that very morning. These late non runners saw the smallest field since 1999. 

Again, the 2018 race saw another first – the highest number of female jockeys – three! For example, Katie Walsh marked her sixth appearance in the race. There were also two other female riders - Rachel Blackmore, who mounted Alpha Des Obeaux, and Bryony Frost who steered the correspondingly resilient Milansbar. The first faller at the first fence was Perfect Candidate, who ruined the chance of favorite, Blaklion. Similarly, I Just Know had been commanding a rather inspiring lead before suffering an unfortunate fall at Becher’s Brook – costing Virgilio and Houblon Des Obleaux their chances. Likewise, Captain Redbeard unseated its rider at the Foinavon fence while Ucello Conti led the rest of the pack, with both Final Nudge and The Dutchman Buywise briefly stealing the show in a conspicuous display of stamina. In conclusion, all horses returned home without fatalities. 

The winning pair pocketed prize money of £500,000, while the closely pursuing Pleasant Company/David Mullins duo earned a coveted bounty of £200,000 for the second place. The third, fourth, and fifth positions went to the Bless the Wings/Jack Kennedy (£100,000), Anibale Fly/Barry Geraghty(£65,000), and Milansbar/Bryony Frost(£40,000) pairs 


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