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Gordon Elliott announces his plans for Tiger Roll

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Two-time Grand National winner Tiger Roll may be set to start his season with an appearance in the Ladbrokes Champion Chase at Down Royal on 31st October. The runner was denied a chance to make history by becoming the first horse to win the Grand National three years in succession in April, the Covid-19 pandemic necessitating the cancellation of the 2020 renewal of the famous steeplechase.

The ten-year-old was last in action back in March at the Cheltenham Festival when he finished second in the Cross-country Chase, Easyland denying him a fifth success at the meeting.

There are high hopes that Tiger Roll will be back at Aintree on April 10th 2021, however trainer Gordon Elliott is setting his sights firmly on Cheltenham a month earlier. Of more immediate concern is the outcome of talks in the Republic of Ireland over a possible second lockdown and the implications for racing.

Elliott said: “It was a very rushed preparation to get him to Cheltenham last year and he got a little setback, as everyone knows.

“We got him to Cheltenham. He was very tired after Cheltenham. He was very tired. He had a hard race. The ground was probably softer than what he wanted that day. He was stiff and sore after the race.

“If you watch the re-run again, he loses his hind-end a little bit turning in, and he was sore. I think it might have been a blessing in disguise (no Grand National run). He’s a fresh horse this year. He’s absolutely bouncing at the moment.

“I’m not sure where I’m going to start him off yet, but do you know, he’s definitely going to have an entry in Down Royal in the big chase.”

When asked about the Cheltenham Festival and whether this was to be the horse’s main target, Elliott added: “It’s a big priority for me and he’ll be trained for Cheltenham, number one, and the Aintree Grand National, number two.”