Gordon Elliott's Tiger Roll held on for a sensational Aintree Grand National victory today for trainer Gordon Elliott.
"I can't beleive it, Tiger Roll is a stable favourite, but I'm going to get my photograph taken", was the immediate reaction of trainer Gordon Elliott.
'This one is for Pat Smullen, ' he said directly after the biggest win of his career. "I was speaking to him the other morning and he's as tough as nails".
'Every jump jockey is the same, we're all just looking for opportunities.' Describing what happened after he fell from Houblon Des Obeaux, he said: 'Obviously my horse fell, and I thought I was absolutely fine. She got me out of bed at 6am to drive me around the country.
"There was no real lightbulb moment that we realised Gordon was going to turn himself into what he has done, when he won the National first time I was like 'who is he?'".
He said: "I was nervous".
"I threw the toys out of the pram and was effing and blinding but he of course has been proved right".
Russell's win was laced with emotion following the death of his mother earlier this year.
"This horse is small but he has the heart of a lion", said O'Leary.
Bless The Wings was third at 40-1 and Ireland completed a clean sweep of the top four with Anibale Fly (10-1).
For the second time in a couple of weeks, Elliott chinned old adversary Mullins in a National photo-finish and the only thing that could make the season any better for the Meath trainer is a first Irish trainers' championship.
However, a late surge by the Willie Mullins-trained Pleasant Company (25/1) brought the race to a photo-finish.
Pleasant Company's jockey David Mullins put his hands to his face on crossing the line as he tasted the bitter experience of being touched off having won in 2016 on Rule The World. Tiger Roll even swept past Pleasant Company easily at the last fence and was six lengths clear with a furlong to run, and was seemingly set to be one of the race's most comfortable winners of recent times.
'I thought I was beat before then but I had to charge Davy Russell down.
"Total Recall made a mistake at the first and a bad mistake at the third and then just seemed to lose his confidence, but he's come back fine".