'Virtually impossible' for Tiger Roll to win National again – Russell

Horse Tiger Roll (right) ridden by jockey Davy Russell edges out Pleasant Company (left) ridden by David Mullins at the finish of the 2018 Grand National

Jockey Davy Russell says it will be “virtually impossible” for Tiger Roll to win a second Grand National.

The gelding, who beat Pleasant Company in a photo finish this year, is 20-1 joint favourite to follow up at Aintree in April 2019.

No horse since the legendary Red Rum, whose 1973 and 1974 victories were two legs of an unprecedented treble, has won the famous race two years running.

“We all know that it is virtually impossible,” said Russell.

“You need an extraordinary horse to do that.”

Trainer Gordon Elliott said Tiger Roll, a three-time Cheltenham Festival winner who turns nine in January, will have the meeting’s Cross Country Chase – and not the National – as his main seasonal target.

The son of Authorized – a winner of flat racing’s Derby at Epsom in 2007 – was fourth at Cheltenham last month on his first run since the National.

“The Cross Country race at the Cheltenham Festival (on 13 March) is going to be his Gold Cup really,” said Irish trainer Elliott, who also won the National in 2007 with Silver Birch.

“If I am going to be perfectly honest, it is going to be very tough for him to come back and win the National as he will probably have close to top weight and that will be difficult for him. He will run and have an each-way chance.”

Tiger Roll is likely to be saddled with several pounds more in the handicap chase where horses carry different weights.

Russell, at 38, was the oldest jockey in this year’s race and will not be getting carried away if Tiger Roll races over Aintree’s big fences again on 6 April.

“He is probably the type of horse that could because he doesn’t over-exert himself through the season,” said Russell, who won the race in April at the 14th attempt.

Elliott could saddle both Don Poli and Noble Endeavour in the Becher Chase over the National fences at Aintree on Saturday.

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BBC Sport – Horse Racing

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