The popularity in National hunt racing continues to grow, and it is certainly at fever pitch at present as we move nearer to both the Cheltenham Festival and of course the Grand National 2019. The 2018 winner Tiger Roll posted a remarkable season last year in firstly landing the Cross Country at the festival. Following this he put in that mighty performance to land the world’s richest steeplechase, which was an incredible achievement of one of the most durable horses in racing. The question now arises can he do it again this season?
The Gordon Elliott trained nine year old is without a doubt one of the most popular horses in the sport, due to the fact he is a small horse but is so tough. This is shown in the fact he has not only landed the Grand National but is a three time Cheltenham festival winner. This has included a victory in each of the last two seasons, and the 2014 running of the Triumph hurdle.
When he landed the 2017 National hunt chase he stayed on very powerfully to win by three lengths, and showed that he has endless amounts of stamina. This was the first indication that he could be a future national horse. The following season was another of great success with another festival success, before going on to land the gamble in the national for jockey Davy Russell.
Tiger Roll Rolls in Boyne Hurdle
Tiger Roll returned recently with a jaw dropping performance in the Boyne hurdle, winning on the bridle by four lengths from the Ladbrokes hurdle winner, Off you go. This was a performance that showed the horse has returned better than ever, which his trainer also believes is this case. This means he is going to take all the beating at Cheltenham again in the Cross Country, before he attempts his second Grand National.
Tiger Roll has been allotted a weight of 11 stone 1lb, due to a BHA rating of 159. This means he will be running off 9lb higher than last season. Considering the victory of a head last season, it would appear he has it all to do to defy that mark. However, he travelled much like the best horse in the race, and had been pushed six lengths clear at the elbow. The winning distance was heavily reduced as Tiger Roll slowed up the run in, whereas the Willie Mullins trained Pleasant Company rallied gamely. There is little doubt that if he has returned better than ever, that Tiger Roll has as good a chance as any horse for some time in defending their Grand National crown.