Tiger Roll: When A Horse Becomes “Property” of the Nation

Posted on 28th January 2020

It’s early February 2020, and the handicapper is releasing the weights for the Grand National. As expected, the two-time Grand National winner Tiger Roll receives top weight for the race, and, as a consequence, a nation holds its breath. Why? Because the owner of the horse, Michael O’Leary, threatened to pull Tiger Roll from the race if the handicapper was too tough.

As it turned out, O’Leary (yes, he of Ryanair fame) relented and has indicated that Tiger Roll will go to Aintree on 4th April to contest the Grand National. That means the nine-year-old gelding will have a chance of emulating the legendary Red Rum’s record of three Grand National victories, something that many believed would never be possible.

As such, O’Leary wasn’t just playing chicken with the handicapper; he was tugging at the heartstrings of horse racing fans across the British Isles. He is aware that Tiger Roll now transcends his sport, and has become the “property” of fans. Few sports hold history in as high regard as horse racing, and everyone connected with the sport wants to see Tiger Roll chase that seemingly-impossible accolade.

Tiger Roll is the Horse of a Lifetime

In the words of his trainer, Gordon Elliott, Tiger Roll is “the horse of a lifetime”, and that’s saying something for a trainer with his level of success. But, one would argue, there are more reasons for the popularity of the horse. At just over 15 hands he is small for a racehorse; indeed, consider the spring he must have to navigate the jumps at Aintree – Tiger Roll has never fallen in his 36 runs over obstacles. He is a plucky sort, with the kind of boundless enthusiasm that makes horse lovers adore and admire him.

So, what are the chances of Tiger Roll making that history? You can check here at this site https://www.freebets.com/horse-racing/grand-national-betting for the latest odds, offers and news, as things do change in the lead up to the Grand National, but, as you would expect, the two-time winner is something of a hot favourite. He comes in at 5/1 with Ladbrokes, but there is also money pouring in for Burrows Saint (12/1), Any Second Now (12/1), Walk In The Mill (16/1) and Kimberlite Candy (14/1).

An Incredibly Tough Prospect at Aintree

In short, the incredibly popular Tiger Roll has taken in a lot of money in the ante-post betting, but punters don’t always let their emotions run away with them. Despite Tiger Roll’s brilliance, he won by just a couple of lengths ahead of Magic of Light (a 14/1 chance this year) in 2019, and by just a head in front of Pleasant Company in 2018. There is a reason Red Rum and Tiger Roll are the only horses to win consecutive Grand Nationals in the last half a century – it’s incredibly difficult.

But one should forget about the odds and the form book when it comes to the 2020 event. One should expect a massive television audience and a hugely partisan crowd at Aintree. They will be cheering on an icon, a national hero, and they will be willing him to make history. Michael O’Leary has made plenty of prize money from a horse that was bought for a relative pittance. And the documents might say the Gigginstown Stud boss owns Tiger Roll, but in the eyes of racing fans, he is theirs. The anticipation will build over the coming weeks as get to see a veritable people’s champion ride into the history books.

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