Tiger Roll takes second Grand National - Davy Russell wins and inspires

The Tory zealots, the European Research Group, may not maintain a wine cellar, but if it did, it is unlikely that the faction’s sommelier would have been busy serving champagne after Saturday’s Grand National.

Tiger Roll takes second Grand National - Davy Russell wins and inspires

The Tory zealots, the European Research Group, may not maintain a wine cellar, but if it did, it is unlikely that the faction’s sommelier would have been busy serving champagne after Saturday’s Grand National.

The first three places were taken by Irish horses trained in Ireland. That result might have been sobering for the ERG’s true believers, but it could have been worse — the first three might have been French or German.

If the ERG struggled to celebrate, the bookmakers, so used to a bonanza on Grand National day, took an estimated €300m loss and were, for once, steamrolled.

All of that was made possible by one of the greatest achievements in racing this century — Tiger Roll defended its Grand National title, an achievement that still ranks as one of sport’s Everests. It is 45 years since Red Rum was the last runner to win successive Grand Nationals.

Trained in Meath by Gordon Elliott, owned by Michael O’Leary, and ridden by Davy Russell, Tiger Roll was sent off at 4-1 and became the shortest-priced winner since Poethlyn 100 years earlier.

Every now and then, we are reminded of the power of kindness and decency. We saw one such moment on Saturday, when Davy Russell, at what may have been the apex-moment of his career, remembered a neighbour — Kieran O’Connor — who is fighting a battle more demanding than Aintree’s four miles and 514 yards.

Not only did Russell join sport’s elite, but he did it with style, skill, and inspiring humanity.

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