O’Leary ‘duty bound’ to look after National hero

Michael OLeary Horse Racing

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Owner Michael O’Leary strongly suggests that Tiger Roll won’t be returning to Aintree next year to bid for a hat-trick of Grand National wins.

The diminutive nine-year-old carved his name into the history books on Saturday afternoon when he became the first back-to-back scorer in the world’s most iconic steeplechase since Red Rum 45 years ago.

Tiger Roll raced around close to the pace and came through with a seamless challenge under Davy Russell, with barely a moment of concern as he wrapped up the win from Magic Of Light – the only mare in the race – and Rathvinden in third spot.

It was a third Aintree National for trainer Gordon Elliott and Tiger Roll’s win sparked scenes of unbridled joy around the famous Merseyside track.

O’Leary is immensely proud of Tiger Roll and his place in the pantheon of racing greats, but he is wary of asking the teak-tough little star to come back and carry the inevitable burden in next year’s race. “It’s very unlikely that he’ll come back and run in it again next year.

He will be carrying top-weight, he is a small horse and every time he runs now I get nervous – I’d hate for anything unfortunate to happen to him while he’s racing,” said the Gigginstown supremo on Racing TV.

“For his sake and for the sake of the race, I really wouldn’t want to bring him back shouldering huge lumps of weight. “There’s no reason to emulate Red Rum’s feat [three wins].

Red Rum saved the Grand National and put it back on the map at a time when it was struggling. “Tiger Roll isn’t Red Rum – he’s Tiger Roll – and I feel no pressure to go back and try to win a third time.

“There’s huge public affection for him and I think we’re duty-bound to mind him now.”

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