Star stayer Tiger Roll will aim to successfully defend his Grand National crown when the biggest race of the year gets underway at Aintree on Saturday.
<p>No horse has won back-to-back Nationals since the fabled Red Rum back in 1974, but rarely has such hype accompanied a defending champion. Tiger Roll won a second consecutive Cross Country Chase at last month’s Cheltenham Festival and he has proven himself to be an extremely versatile horse. What he lacks in size he makes up for in bravery, stamina, pace and doggedness and it will be fascinating to see if he can triumph once more.</p><p>Six hundred million people around the world will tune in to watch the drama unfold at Aintree. It is one of the biggest sporting events of the year as the public is utterly captivated by the epic nature of this steeplechase. It is run over 4 miles 514 yards and horses must clear 30 fences, which bear intimidating names like The Chair, Canal Turn and Becher’s Brook, named after a jockey that hid in the stream in fear of being trampled. Many fail to complete it.</p><h2>Tiger Roll gunning for glory</h2><p>Yet Tiger Roll has already proved that he can handle the course after he held on to secure a narrow victory from Pleasant Company last year. Gordon Elliott’s nine-year-old is the punter’s darling and he has been backed all the way in to 3/1 with some bookmakers, although <a href="https://a.oddsmarket.com/record/v?c=150&a=3e56a0bf-7bdf-4fe1-b9a6-d22c7cc3dd2c" target="_blank" title="Betway">Betway</a> is still offering a market leading 4/1. If he triumphs, he is likely to become the lowest priced horse ever to do so, after Poethlyn won at 11/4 precisely 100 years ago.</p><p>He is the most popular bet so far, but it is worth noting that favourites have struggled in this race in recent times. The last outright favourite to win was Hedgehunter in 2005 and several long shots have succeeded. Many punters will seek out each-way value and you have two great options in this regard. <a href="https://a.oddsmarket.com/record/v?c=150&a=bf7f64f4-cd67-4904-9b00-6ded1d41fd18" target="_blank">Bet365</a> will pay out a quarter of the odds if your horse finishes second, third or fourth, while <a href="https://a.oddsmarket.com/record/v?c=150&a=b4150791-892f-469b-9b6a-7dfc6df0fb07" target="_blank" title="Ladbrokes">Ladbrokes</a>, Coral, Paddy Power and Betfair will pay out a fifth of the odds if your horse finishes second, third, fourth, fifth or sixth. Rock The Kasbah is attracting a lot of attention at 20/1, while Joe Farrell is the big market mover and has gone in to 22/1 and Ballyoptic might tempt some punters at 50/1.</p>