Horses and children are the same - they thrive on routine, says Tiger Roll’s groom
Lisa Magee juggles caring for Grand National winner and two sets of twins
Louise Magee with her four children and Tiger Roll. Photograph: John Grossick/The Jockey Club.
As the groom of the newly-crowned back-to-back Grand National winner Tiger Roll, life is definitely twice as nice Louise Magee who juggles caring for the best horse in the world with rearing two sets of twins in the Meath village of Summerhill.
Tiger Roll made history on Saturday as the first horse since Red Rum in 1974 to take the big Aintree Festival title for the second time in a row but a third triumph can’t be ruled out, according to Louise, who has worked closely with the thoroughbred for the last six years.
“I don’t see why he wouldn’t win it a third time. There’s something really special about him, he’s a different gravy altogether” she said.
Even though she will always think of the horse as a sure bet, she admits that she never has a flutter on him at the bookmakers in case it brings bad luck.
Louise seems to have a knack of doing things on the double as she proudly led out Tiger Roll around the pre-parade ring and onto the track for both his Grand National wins but stresses that, like her twins, everything is about routine when dealing with horses.
On race days she brushes them down, plaits them, paints their feet with oil and looks after them to ensure they stay safe. On other days her work is varied and can including riding out. As part of the team, her focus is always on keeping the horse happy and healthy.
“Routine, routine, routine. I have a rigid routine with my kids. I have to or I’d be pulling my hair out. Horses are exactly like that. They thrive on routine.
“It’s the same with my kids. They’re all in bed by 7pm to give me some time to relax and get the house sorted. If we didn’t have a routine going, it would be chaos in my house,” she laughed.
When not at Elliot’s yard, the 33-year old former Meath Ladies footballer is dealing with double trouble with her two sets of twins, non-identical eight year olds Thomas and Andrew and six year olds Michael and Ciarán who are identical.
It’s early days yet but Louise is hoping her boys will share her love of horses.
The boys were due to go into the village with Louise for Sunday night’s homecoming of Tiger Roll who, she admits, was almost sold on in the early years because of poor performances.
“Last year, we were worried about Tiger Roll’s size. He was so small, we thought he wouldn’t be able for the fences. This year, there was something different about him, he was a different horse who was so focussed on what he was doing.
“I was definitely more confident about him this year but I’d still never back him in case it brought him bad luck,” she laughed
“When he first started, he was a super little horse who won the Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham but then there was nothing for two years and there was talk of selling him but then, thankfully, he came back to himself.
“He’s such a super laid-back temperament but he’s also a cheeky character who loves attention.
“The forgotten horse has become the legend and it’s such a magical feeling to be part of that with everyone in the yard.”