By HRI Foreign Staff — Only a handful from the thousands of racehorses ever achieves legendary status. Tiger Roll is one such horse, a fantastic thoroughbred that stole the hearts of a nation and wrote his name into horse racing’s history books for eternity. Only nine horses have ever won the Grand National more than once. Tiger Roll not only won the epic 30-fence race twice but did so in consecutive years.
Only a handful from the thousands of racehorses ever achieves legendary status. Tiger Roll is one such horse, a fantastic thoroughbred that stole the hearts of a nation and wrote his name into horse racing’s history books for eternity. Only nine horses have ever won the Grand National more than once. Tiger Roll not only won the epic 30-fence race twice but did so in consecutive years.
Tiger Roll was foaled on March 14, 2010, in Ireland and sold to racing giants Godolphin for 70,000 guineas. The bay gelding with a white star stood at only 15.2 hands, making him small for a racehorse. Tiger Roll, from the 2007 Epsom Derby winner Authorized, never raced for Godolphin, who sold him to Nigel Hawke for £10,000 when Tiger Roll was three-years-old. Hawke, a former Grand National-winning jockey, saw something in Tiger Roll and set about training him. Little did Hawke know that Tiger Roll would become a Grand National hero.
First Race, First Victory
Marked with C.C. by 2.0
His first race was in November 2013 at British racecourse Market Rasen. Bookmakers like those at VegasBetting.com priced Tiger Roll as a 12/1 outsider, but Mark Quinlan rode him home 3 ¾ lengths ahead of Nonotnow. His performance garnered plenty of interest, which ultimately resulted in O’Leary’s Gigginstown Horse Stud paying £80,000 for him. He remained with the same owner and trainer for the rest of his career.
His first race for his new owner saw Tiger Roll finish second by 2 ¼ lengths in the Grade 1 Spring Juvenile Hurdle at Leopardstown. Tiger Roll’s Cheltenham debut saw him emerge victoriously in the Grade 1 Triumph Hurdle.
The 2014/15 season yielded few positive results, and a lengthy break of almost 11 months looked like Tiger Roll’s career could have been over before it had had a chance to get off the ground. However, in May 2016, Tiger Roll began his chase career, and he never looked back.
His owner entered him into a 2m1f beginners’ chase at Ballinrobe, and he romped home by eight lengths. Ireland proved a happy hunting ground for Tiger Roll as he entered six novice chases over the next four months, winning once, finishing as the runner-up three times, and finishing fourth in the other. He won the Munster National Handicap at Limerick and finished first in the Grade 2 national hunt Challenge Cup Amateur Riders’ Novices’ Chase over four miles.
The 2017/18 season saw Tiger Roll enjoy his third Cheltenham victory, this time over 3m6f. A month later, his owners entered him into the 2018 Grand National. Only 12 of the 38 starters finished the race, and it was Tiger Roll, by a head from Pleasant Company, that won the race.
Tiger Roll only raced three more times, including another Cheltenham victory, before entering the 2019 Grand National. Bookmakers made Tiger Roll a short-priced 4/1 favorite, and their faith in the horse was repaid because the then nine-year-old finished 2 ¾ lengths clear of 66/1 shot Magic of Light. His impressive victory saw Tiger Roll become the first horse since Red Rum in 1974 to win back-to-back Grand Nationals. In addition, he was the first favorite to win the iconic race since Comply or Die in 2008.
The COVID-19 pandemic robbed the horse racing community of the chance to see if Tiger Roll could join Red Rum as the only horse to win a trio of Grand Nationals because the organizers canceled the race following government advice. He did have a shot at the 2021 edition of the long-running race, but his trainer and owner withdrew him from the race after receiving a 161 handicap. This would have meant carrying close to top weight despite being 12 years old. His owners said forcing Tiger Roll to carry so much weight at his age was neither fair nor safe.
He last raced during the 2022 Cheltenham Festival, competing in the cross-country style Glenfarclas Chase on March 16. He gave it his all but finished second by ¾ lengths from stablemate Delta Work.
The undersized horse is now enjoying his retirement while his owners bask in the glory of winning the Grand National twice and more than £1.35 million in prize money.