Gordon Elliott’s Grand National Battalion

April 5, 2019 News
TIGER ROLL will line up in Saturday’s Randox Health Grand National as one of the shortest-priced favourites ever for the race as he attempts to win the race for a second time.
No horse has won more than one Grand National since the legendary Red Rum, yet the remarkable little Tiger Roll appears to have plenty in his favour as he bids for another win.
Keith Donoghue, jockey and assistant to trainer Gordon Elliott, knows Tiger Roll better than anyone and we caught up with him to get his thoughts on the Grand National, his chances of success and who else to look out for in Elliott’s battalion of runners.
Much of the build up this year has focused on Tiger Roll and the Gordon Elliott yard. What has that been like to be involved with?
It’s very exciting to be involved with especially with it being Tiger Roll. It’d just be brilliant to see him do it again because he’s such a little legend of a horse but one with so much talent and toughness. I can’t wait for the race, I’m really excited.
What was it like when Tiger Roll won the Grand National last year?
There’s nothing quite like it. It’s a chance to celebrate with the whole team and it’s always a brilliant thing winning the Grand National. It was Gordon’s second win in the race and it gave him a chance to enjoy all a bit more, I think. It’s a fantastic feeling and one I hope we repeat.
Tiger Roll is a hugely popular horse. What is it that you think people like so much about him?
He’s so friendly and quiet when you’re around him so that’s something that people like, that kindness he has. I also think because he’s only small people are drawn to him and almost feel a little bit sorry for him because of his size – although I’m not sure it bothers him too much!
Despite his size, Tiger Roll has excelled over jumps. Why is he such a good jumper?
He’s so economical and measures his jumps so well be they fences, cross-country obstacles or hurdles. He knows what to do and when to do it and that helps him out so much in a race as you’re not having to tell him or worry about what he’s doing all the time. He’s fantastic to ride.
You rode Tiger Roll to victory in the Cross Country Chase at the Cheltenham Festival. What did that feel like?
It was unbelievable. He was going so well from such a long way out and there are not many horses who will actually quicken after running over three miles in any race, let alone around Cheltenham. He really picked up in that last three furlongs and I have nothing but pride in him.
And how important has Tiger Roll been for your career?
He’s been brilliant for me. He’s given me two Cheltenham Festival winners and won me a Grade 2 hurdle so he’s always going to be a special horse. I’m really looking forward to seeing him in the Grand National and I hope he runs as well as we all think he can. He’s the best horse I’ve ridden.
You had been due to ride Outlander in the Grand National before he was sold. How do you rate his chances?
It’s every jockeys’ dream to ride in the Grand National so it’s a real shame I cannot ride. I think he’s got a decent chance of running a good race if he can run up to his best, but I’ll be cheering on Tiger Roll.
And, finally, who of Gordon Elliott’s other runners do you like the look of?
Jury Duty is one I like the look of our other runners. Robbie ‘Puppy’ Power rides him and he’s got a light weight on his back. Tiger Roll is definitely the best of ours, but of the others I’d say Jury Duty is the one to keep an eye on.