Tiger Roll takes an encouraging first step on the way to Grand National by finishing fifth in Boyne Hurdle near Navan
- Tiger Roll was just pipped for fourth place in the Boyne Hurdle in Navan
- Gelding wants to become a member of Red Rum as a triple winner of the Grand National
- Tiger Roll did not return to training until January 1 after undergoing surgery
Tiger Roll took an encouraging first step back on the road to the Randox Heath Grand National when he just finished fourth in the Boyne Hurdle near Navan.
The gelding, trained by Gordon Elliott, haunts history at Aintree on April 4 when he tries to join the legendary Red Rum as the triple winner of Britain’s biggest steeplechase.
After defeating Magic of Light in the 2019 Grand National and only returning on January 1 after surgery to remove a bone chip from his knee in November, expectations were modest in Tiger Roll, which began 9-1 in a race he had won 12 months earlier.
Tiger Roll was just sucked for fourth place in the Boyne Hurdle near Navan when he returned
But he showed the light-heartedness that served him so well at Aintree with a neat hurdle, still fighting to finish in the first three under jockey Keith Donoghue until his lack of top fitness took its toll after the last hurdle in a race by its stablemate Cracking Smart.
Elliott said: “Keith said he was galloping for the penultimate one. He thought he was going to win, but he took a blow and then drove him hands and heels to the line.
“I would have been very happy if he had defeated one or two houses. I thought that many benefits had to be taken out of the race. “
The gelding, trained by Gordon Elliott, tries to win the Grand National for the third time
Tiger Roll, who was defeated 14 ¼ lengths and whose presence doubled the normal presence on his local track, is Ladbrokes’ 5-1 favorite for the Grand National in which he will carry the highest weight as 11th 10lb.
He is 13-8 to win the Cross Country Chase at the Cheltenham Festival for the third time next month. That is the direct target of Tiger Roll and if he wins, it will be a fifth success at the festival.
Elliott will follow his usual routine of bringing Tiger Roll to Cheltenham for the next two weeks to warm up around the Cross Country course.
Meanwhile, two-time champion Flat jockey Paul Hanagan is confronted with a lengthy spell on the sidelines after breaking his T6 whirl in Newcastle in the fall of Saturday on Saturday night.