Tiger Roll© Photo Healy Racing
Grand National winner Tiger Roll successfully returned to hurdling at Navan today as the Gordon Elliott trained, Gigginstown House Stud owned marvel landed the Grade 2 Ladbrokes Ireland Boyne Hurdle at odds of 25/1, under Keith Donoghue.
Tiger Roll's list of big race wins includes three races, the Triumph Hurdle, National Hunt Chase and Cross-Country Chase, at Cheltenham festivals and famously won last April's Aintree Grand National, for jockey Davy Russell.
Today the nine year old was having his first hurdles outing since pulling up at Punchestown in April 2016 and, over 2m5f, was also tackling recent Ladbroke Hurdle winner Off You Go and Willie Mullins' smart chaser Bachasson
Six-footer Donoghue rides Tiger Roll when able to make the weight and must have been as surprised as anyone to see the gelding pull him to the front before the second last flight, with the pair in the end scooting clear to beat Off You Go by four lengths.
The win was Tiger Roll's tenth career success and Elliott later said “that's brilliant, I'm delighted with the way he ran. He's a great horse and he never lets us down.
“The plan is the cross-country race at Cheltenham and obviously the English National all being well.
“It was a nice surprise. I thought the two horses, Bless The Wings (which finished last) 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.
“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. Keith said he would come on from the run.
“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.”
Quotes from Gary Carson