Social media was alight today (15 December) when Irish National Hunt trainer Gordon Elliott posted photos of one horse currently in his care out hunting — none other than dual Grand National winner, Tiger Roll.
Tiger was enjoying a day out following hounds with the Ward Union in his native Ireland, under his usual jockey, Keith Donoghue. Keith partnered the 10-year-old to both his 2018 and 2019 Cheltenham Festival cross-country race wins, and would have ridden him in his initial Grand National start, were it not for the fact he was unable to ride at the low weight allotted to the horse at the time.
On his latest start, in the Glenfarclas Cross-country race at Cheltenham (13 November), Tiger Roll disappointed when going off second favourite and was pulled up after the 20th obstacle under Robbie Power, who was stepping in for Keith, given Covid-related travel restrictions. Gordon Elliott’s representative reported that the gelding was not travelling or jumping fluently, and the vet said a post-race examination failed to reveal any abnormalities.
A victory in this year’s race would make Tiger Roll the only horse to land three consecutive runnings of the
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So, with a return planned in February in the Boyne Hurdle before eyeing his third Cheltenham cross-country title, it looks as though Tiger Roll enjoyed his day’s hunting, which may have helped freshen him up sufficiently in a bid to emulate the mighty Red Rum as a three-time National hero come next April.
Owner Eddie O’Leary told the Racing Post after his recent below-par run: “Tiger Roll will be retired when Tiger Roll tells us he wants to retire. He wasn’t standing still with his back to the ditch when he was let out into the field on Saturday morning. He was bucking and kicking and full of himself. He’s still loving life. Once he starts telling us he’s sick of it, that will be it. The horse deserves a chance to show us the spark is still there. I think we owe him that.”
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