Twice in a lifetime
I was only a kid when Red Rum won back to back Grand Nationals. And over the years horses as good as West Tip, Corbiere, and Hedgehunter have tried, and failed, to double up. I guessed that Rummy was just a one off and it would never happen again. But Tiger Roll, in the nicest possible way, is a freak.
He is smaller than his rivals, he almost hurdles his fences, and his breeding is not one you would expect from a top staying chaser. But this “little rat of a horse” has brought our sport to the front pages.
Like Red Rum and Desert Orchid, Tiger Roll is a horse who is known by those with only a nodding acquaintance with our great sport. And he won even more easily this year than last year in my view. His owner Michael O’Leary said that he won’t be going for a third Aintree win but, if he wins the Cross Country as easily as he did this year, then a bid for an even bigger place in history will surely tempt him.
Obviously what befell Up For Review saddens us all and the stable will be in bits this week and for a lot longer. I don’t want to get too much into the argument with the anti racing brigade but Up For Review was brought down. In fact only three horses fell in the race. It will never be 100% risk free but it is as safe as we can possibly make it.
Tiger Roll ran a career best, which makes the run of runner up Magic Of Light all the more impressive. Two of my fancies finished third and fourth and my better half was on One For Arthur in sixth so we broke even on the race. Anibale Fly was fifth off top weight and I think he may be one of those nearly horses who always runs well but finds one too good.
Friday was a day of seconditis for me and I also managed to get La Bague Au Roi beaten the day before. I think she was done for a bit of pace but it was great to see Kalashnikov winning again. And the scenes back at the Amy Murphy yard while staff watched the race was just perfect.
Lostintranslation was very good having been upped in trip and could be a live Gold Cup challenger next year, and another for what could be a vintage King George (he says obsessively). Champ was another who went up in trip and he must be considered a Stayers Hurdle rival to Paisley Park as he will surely improve again with another year on his back.
Min was brilliant and Kemboy and Ornua were recipients of fine rides from Messrs Walsh and Russell respectively. The finish of the week was surely the Stayers Hurdle with If The Cap Fits just edging out two very good mares. Felix Desjy and Pentland Hills were two of my favourite winners with the former reverting to front running tactics that had served him so well in the Moscow Flyer. Pentland Hills proved his Triumph, er, triumph, was no fluke.
All in all it was a fantastic three days.