Grand National boost for air ambulance

The saddlecloth carried over the Grand National winning line by Irish trained racehorse Tiger Roll has been auctioned off to raise money for the region’s air ambulance.

The Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) raised £560 in the auction, which was live for ten days on eBay.

The saddlecloth which bears the name and number of Tiger Roll and which is signed by jockey Davy Russell, was donated to GNAAS by ex-jockey Steve Charlton, from High Etherley in County Durham.

Mr Charlton, who is now the National Hunt jockeys’ valet in the North, last year donated 2017 winner One For Arthur’s saddlecloth, which raised £2,700 for GNAAS.

He said: “It’s just good to put something back. Working in this industry, and the amount of nasty accidents you see out there on the course, it becomes very clear just how important the air ambulance is. And this is just my way of helping to support them.”

Ruth Davey, events coordinator for GNAAS, which is totally reliant on donations to survive, said: “Thanks to Steve we were able to offer this highly sought-after item for sale.

“Tiger Roll was a hugely popular winner of the National, so we are pleased someone was able to snap up this piece of racing history.

“All of the money raised will go towards supporting our helicopters and their crews.”

Tiger Roll is a three-time Cheltenham Festival winner and is owned by Michael O’Leary, CEO of Ryanair.

In March he won the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase at the event, before going on to the Grand National at Aintree where he beat Pleasant Company in a thrilling finish to take the title back to Ireland.

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