After his second Grand National win in 1974, legendary racehorse Red Rum was photographed galloping on the sands of Southport beach. The image gave the local people a sense of pride and secured the horse’s status as a local hero. The fact that trainer Ginger McCain was also a Southport resident reinforced that bond further.

Red Rum went on to become a national hero thanks to a third win in 1977 following two second-place finishes in the intervening years. But nowhere took him to their hearts like the people of Southport and nearby Liverpool, the home of the Grand National.

Mixed emotions

This year, there could be mixed emotions as Tiger Roll arrives at Aintree aiming to become the second horse to win three Grand Nationals and only the first to win three in a row. It would be an incredible story and one that would bring Red Rum’s story back into the spotlight. The inevitable debates about who is the greatest would begin and Tiger Roll would be elevated to celebrity status. But can Tiger Roll really accomplish what many believed was impossible in the modern age?

One thing is for sure, whether you are the type of person who follows the form religiously and analyses yesterday’s racing results or are just a pin-sticker who hopes for the best, this year’s Grand National promises to be one of the great sporting spectacles of the years and cannot be missed.

About Tiger Roll

For Tiger Roll, it all began at the Cheltenham Festival in 2014. In just his second race for new owner Michael O’Leary, he won the Triumph Hurdle by 3¼ lengths. That race was the beginning of a long journey that led to his first Aintree victory in 2018. Tiger Roll remains the only horse to complete a Triumph Hurdle/Grand National double in his career, so anyone looking at the 2020 Cheltenham odds hoping to spot a future Grand National winner in the Triumph Hurdle line-up might want to look elsewhere.

Racing Credentials

Now 10-years-old, the Gordon Elliott-trained horse has won a total of 12 races out of 35 and has been placed in nine more. He featured regularly in 2016 and showed enough to suggest that he could step up in distance. A four-mile win at Cheltenham in 2017 confirmed those credentials and he was targeted for the big race a year later. He won his first Grand National by a head and the second by 2 and 3/4 lengths. He has been absent this season but could get a run out at Navan before heading for Cheltenham where he is aiming for a fifth Festival victory.

Can he make it three in a row?

He has proved he has what it takes by winning twice but Aintree is such an unpredictable circuit that for any horse to tame the course three times in a row would be remarkable. Such horses only come around once in a while as those on Merseyside and Southport will attest.

If Tiger Roll does win, he will join the list of all-time greats but Red Rum will always retain a special place in the hearts of the locals.