Tiger Roll wins Grand National in thrilling finish

Davy Russell can now add Grand National winner to his list of honours after Tiger Roll edged out Pleasant Company.

Tiger Roll held off Pleasant Company in a thrilling finish to win the Grand National at Aintree on Saturday.

The Gordon Elliott-trained eight-year-old looked to be cruising to victory under Davy Russell, but the fast-finishing Pleasant Company summoned up a late burst to push the 10/1 shot all the way.

Tiger Roll, the smallest horse in the race, got the verdict in a photo finish, giving jockey Russell his first triumph in the world's most famous steeplechase.

Bless the Wings (40/1) finished third, well behind Tiger Roll and Pleasant Company (25/1), with Anibale Fly (10/1) taking fourth place on heavy ground under blue skies.

Russell and Elliott were top jockey and trainer respectively at the Cheltenham Festival last month and the Gigginstown colours were in the winners' enclosure yet again on Merseyside.

Elliott has now won the prestigious race twice, but he was made to sweat as Pleasant Company, ridden by David Mullins, went all out at the end of a huge four miles and two-and-a-half furlong stamina test, but fell just short.

Ucello Conti led going into the final circuit, but Pleasant Company took over at the front with nine to jump. 

The diminutive Tiger Roll, expertly steered by the brilliant Russell, looked ominous and joined Pleasant Company to dispute the lead two from home.

Tiger Roll continued to travel strongly and looked set to win by an emphatic margin when he moved out on his own after jumping the last, the post coming in the nick of time as the Willie Mullins-trained Pleasant Company was denied by a whisker.

Bless The Wings and Anibale Fly ensured the top four places were filled by Ireland-trained horses.

Russell told ITV: "I was afraid he wouldn't take to the fences as he's very economical with his jumping and, once again, Keith Donoghue has done a marvellous job with this horse.

"What can I say. I've won this race a thousand times in my head, in my dreams as a child, and I'm just thinking of my kids at home now that I'm taking part in this wonderful event that I love so much.

"It's just amazing to have finally done it. Credit to Gordon and his team, the owners and everybody at home."