After taking down the title in last year’s Grand National at Aintree, the then 8-year old gelding Tiger Roll got a well-deserved vacation in anticipation of returning to test the Aintree course again in 2019.
A disappointing effort at Cheltenham in November, Tiger Roll’s connections were likely scratching their collective heads as the now 9-year old gelding could only manage a 4th place finish against modest company. Perhaps that raced served as nothing more than an opportunity for the brilliant jumper and stayer to stretch his legs. After an easy victory this past weekend in the Group 2 Ladbrokes Ireland Boyne Hurdle at Navan, punters can rest easy and turn their attention to the cheltenham-betting-offers.co.uk site in anticipation of Tiger Roll’s next race in the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase at Cheltenham in March.
Racing enthusiasts will note the is the same race trainer Gordon Elliot used last year as a warmup for the 4-mile 514 yards Group 1 Grand National to be held in April at the historic Aintree Race Course. The grueling hurdle championship will require participants to navigate 30 hurdles faster the rest of the field. Last year, there were 37 other runners that were looking a Tiger Roll’s heels by the end of the race.
In the Boyne Hurdle, Tiger Roll was sent off at a generous price of 25-1. As he tracked the leaders, including pacesetter Coquin Mans to just before the penultimate hurdle, rider Keith Donoghue hit the gas pedal and gave Tiger Roll his head. The stayer jumped into the bridle and quickly hit the front after the last hurdle before pulling away to an easy 4-length victory. Off You Go finished a game 2nd.
While talking with the press following the race, trainer Elliot’s enthusiasm was hard to contain. He told reporters, “That’s brilliant, I’m delighted with the way he ran. He’s a great horse and never lets us down. The plan is the cross-country race at Cheltenham and obviously the English National, all being well.”
He would go on to add: “It was a nice surprise. I thought the two horses, Bless the Wings and him, would finish second-last and last so it was a nice surprise. He’s paid for himself for the year again. That’s arguably one of his best performances over hurdles.”
Bless the Wings was Elliot’s other entrant into the Navan race.
According to rider Donoghue, “I thought he would need the run badly, and we knew there was plenty of improvement in him, but he was obviously a bit fitter than I thought. He’s going to be some horse to go for the cross-country race now and he should taking a fair bit of beating with a clear round.”
In the future books, Tiger Roll moved to heavy favoritism for the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase, dropping to 11-10 from 15-8 at Paddy Power. The bookmaker also dropped the defending Grand National champion to favoritsm in the National at 12-1, down from 20-1 for the big race.