Monday 23 September 2019

Gordon Elliott confirms that 'the people's horse' Tiger Roll will bid to complete historic Aintree Grand National hat-trick

Michael O’Leary (right), Gordon Elliott and Tiger Roll. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA
Michael O’Leary (right), Gordon Elliott and Tiger Roll. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA
Michael Verney

Michael Verney

Gordon Elliott has confirmed that 'the people's horse' Tiger Roll will bid to become the first horse to complete a hat-trick of Randox Health Aintree Grand National victories next April.

Tiger Roll emulated the legendary Red Rum when winning the world's greatest steeplechase in successive years in April and Elliott confirmed for the first time that the Gigginstown House Stud-owned nine-year-old is definitely being aimed at the Aintree showpiece once again.

Davy Russell will be in the saddle next April but Tiger Roll will not set foot on a racecourse until the New Year in preparation for his record-breaking attempt, with a bid to win at a fifth Cheltenham Festival also planned.

"It is great to see him back, doing a bit of work again. He has had a nice couple of months of summer holidays," Elliott said in an exclusive interview with Aintree Racecourse.

"He went back to Gigginstown obviously. He was probably out there and had about 10-12 weeks out on grass. He hasn't had a saddle on him since Aintree and the National but he has done a few parades and had a few good days out, which is great.

"I have seen him a couple of times during the summer at Gigginstown and he was good and strong, and I have seen him when he was here for a while before he went off to do his flat work and he looked good.

"He will probably do three or four weeks of flat work before he comes back to us in the main yard here. Obviously he won't be that busy this year. We are going to have to mind him now and pick and choose where we go.

"He will probably have one run over hurdles, maybe something like the Boyne Hurdle (Navan in February) again. He will go back to Cheltenham (in March) for the Cross Country race and then we'll go for the Grand National."

The trainer revealed riding arrangements for this season will stay the same with Keith Donoghue set to keep the ride on Tiger Roll in the Cross Country race at Cheltenham and the Boyne Hurdle while Russell will ride him in the National.

Elliott admits that he only realised how much his stable superstar meant to people after the his second National when reading headlines and meeting people while he sounded a warning shot to his rivals when proclaiming that Tiger Roll is as good as ever.

"Everyone who comes into the yard, there's only one horse they want to see and that is Tiger Roll. He's the people's horse now and we are very lucky to have him. Red Rum was before my time but you've seen the videos and heard all about him," Elliott said.

"He was an amazing horse and to be in the same league as him is unbelievable. It's a funny thing to say but he was arguably a better horse this year than he was last year.

"I think the build up to the English National this season is going to be unbelievable. The hype – people are talking about him already. Whether he wins, loses or draws if he gets back there to have a go at three in a row it's going to be great.

"The hype is going to be brilliant. If we can get him there in half as good a form next year then he will have a massive chance."

Online Editors

The Left Wing - RWC daily: Bullet trains as Ireland spread wings

Also in Sport