Summerhill villagers turn out in force to celebrate Tiger Roll
TIGER Roll once again received the acclaim of his adoring public as the dual Randox Health Grand National hero paraded through the village of Summerhill in Co Meath last night.
The nine-year-old reduced his usually unflappable trainer Gordon Elliott to tears at Aintree in becoming the first horse since the great Red Rum in 1973/74 to win back-to-back renewals of the world's most famous steeplechase.
Just as he did a year ago, Tiger Roll took to the streets of Summerhill less than 24 hours after racing into the history books and was treated to a rapturous welcome from the locals, who packed the streets to celebrate his homecoming.
Mr Elliott - a native of Summerhill, who was winning his third National having struck Aintree gold with Silver Birch in 2007 - said it was "unbelievable".
"It looks an even bigger crowd than last year," he said.
Around 2,000 people were in attendance as Tiger Roll - also a four-time Cheltenham Festival winner - strutted his stuff on the main street alongside his trainer, jockey Davy Russell, his devoted groom Louise Magee and owner Michael O'Leary, among others.
Victorious jockey Mr Russell dedicated his historic victory to former Cork footballer Kieran O'Connor who is battling Ewing's Sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer.
A fundraiser to help cover O'Connor's medical costs surpassed its initial target of €250,000 within days of being launched and at the weekend rose above €315,000.
Ryanair bossMr O'Leary said: "That they are now talking about him in the same breath as Red Rum just made for a phenomenal, historic occasion."