Tiger Roll may have only finished fifth in the Boyne Hurdle at the weekend but this was an encouraging return to action following a year during which he has mainly been out of action. Indeed this was his first race since his victory in the 2019 Randox Health Grand National and while this was a relatively low-key affair, his next two outings will once again thrust him into the spotlight with appearances at the Cheltenham Festival and Grand National.
Gordon Elliott’s immediate reaction following the Boyne was that he performed very well in the race, the trainer saying: “I thought he ran a brilliant race.”
Keith Donoghue partnered Tiger Roll on this occasion and he believed that he was going to win the race for the second time in a row, his mount travelling well before the final three hurdles. Soon after this, the lack of fitness became apparent and the front three managed to get away from him.
Elliott predicted that this would be the case. “He’s only been back cantering since 1 January and people shouldn’t be expecting fireworks, he said. “He’ll be ridden out the back and hopefully he can pass a few horses. If he does that and enjoys himself, it’ll be job done.”
Tiger Roll noticeably drifted in the betting markets prior to the race as punters realised that the expectation wasn’t nearly as high as expected, the odds lengthening from an opening 7/2 to a starting price of 9/1. Put into this context, his performance was admirable, Elliott adding: “I was very, very worried with the [heavy] ground and I was worried about his fitness. But I thought it was a positive run.
“As long as he’s OK in the morning, it’ll be all systems go for Cheltenham and then all being well the Randox Health Grand National. He’ll probably go to Cheltenham in the next 10 days for a pop round over the cross-country course. I’m absolutely thrilled.”
Bookies have generally left their prices unchanged for Tiger Roll in his next two outings, the ten-year-old 6/4 for the Cheltenham Cross Country and 6/1 for the Grand National.