Grand National hero Tiger Roll seeks more Cheltenham glory

Fri 16 Nov 2018

Read what connections have to say ahead of the first day of the November Meeting at Cheltenham, plus watch galloping clues, interviews and analysis.

Grand National hero Tiger Roll returns to action at Cheltenham on Friday in the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase.

Gordon Elliott’s charge has packed a lot into his eight years to date, as he has also won at the Festival three times – in three different races.

That shows his versatility, but he had looked in the doldrums before springing back to life in March, winning over the cross-country course before going on to write his name into the Aintree history books.

"He is only an eight-year-old, but he has been around a long time, having won the JCB Triumph Hurdle as a four-year-old," Elliott said. "He has been a great servant to the yard and has really taken well to the cross country fences.

"This time last year, he wasn't easy to train and we had a few problems with him. I was kind of scratching my head thinking what route we were going to go with him, but he has come back this season a completely different prospect. He is strong and looks great.

"I am looking forward to starting him off Friday. I know it will be a tough ask with top-weight. The cross country race in March is going to be his Gold Cup and that is the one we want to win."

He added: "Trying to win the Grand National again is going to be a huge ask. He is not the biggest horse in the world and he will have a lot of weight this season. But if you are not in, you can't win, and he has proven that he likes the track at Aintree.

 Tiger Roll seeks anothern cross-country success (PA)
Tiger Roll seeks anothern cross-country success (PA)

"He is a favourite around the yard at home and is a character of a horse. If we could get him back to win for a fourth time at The Festival that would be special for me.

Elliott also runs the 13-year-old Bless The Wings, who also ran a fine race at Aintree to finish third.

Josies Orders, a three-time winner over the course and distance, represents Enda Bolger, with Peter Fahey’s Bay Of Freedom and the Gearoid O’Loughlin-trained Jarob also making the journey over the Irish sea.

Midnight Shot and Fact Of The Matter complete the seven-runner field.

Click here for Matt Tomb's guide to the Cross Country Chase

Pauling expecting more from Le Breuil:

The Steel Plate And Sections Novices’ Chase has an illustrious roll of honour, which includes Denman, Grands Crus and last year the ill-fated Finian’s Oscar.

Seven promising types line up on this occasion, with Nicky Henderson running Jenkins, who is already a winner over fences, and Mr Whipped, who is making his chasing debut.

Colin Tizzard’s White Moon returns after a wind operation, while Jerrysback is having his first outing for over 600 days for Philip Hobbs.

Count Meribel, Graasten and Le Breuil all have a win over fences to their name, with Ben Pauling hoping the latter fulfils his potential.

“I think he’s very nice, he couldn’t have jumped any better the other day and while there were only two of them, they went a good gallop and it looked a fair test,” said Pauling.

“It usually takes him a run to get fit, so he’ll come on massively for that, and if he puts in a nice round of jumping he could have a fair chance.

“Trying to give weight to a horse like Mr Whipped, if he’s on form, could prove tricky, but he’s always a horse I’ve thought a lot of and it’s nice to have a day he can prove how good he is.”

Click here for Matt Tomb's guide to the Cross Country Chase

Treasure sets standard:

Pauling gives a hurdling debut to Nestor Park in the Grade Two Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle.

“He’s a very nice horse, I wanted to run him at Exeter on Wednesday, but the ground was too quick,” said Pauling.

“He hits the ground quite hard, so I will have to check the ground when I get there, but he’s a very able horse who I think a lot of.”

Jamie Snowden’s Double Treasure sets the standard, having finished second in the Persian War at Chepstow last time out. Henderson’s Pym, a beaten odds-on favourite at Ascot, is another to note.

Fresh Breath back for more:

[(full)Watch Replay] () A Hare Beath has a fine record whe fresh at Cheltenham

Only seven go to post for the BetVictor Handicap Chase in which Pauling provides the top weight, A Hare Breath, who has won first time out in two of his three seasons with the trainer.

His sole defeat came when a fine fourth in the Greatwood Hurdle at this meeting.

A Hare Breath is at his best first time out
A Hare Breath is at his best first time out

“He looks well handicapped even with top weight and he’s always very good first time out,” said Pauling.

“He’s in exceptional form at home, he’s just got to jump nicely and he didn’t have a nice experience in the Arkle there.

“He’s schooled well at home, though, and I’d like to hope he’ll run well.”

Doitforthevillage, winner of the race 12 months ago for Paul Henderson, is back off a 2lb higher mark, with Bun Doran and 2015 Galway Plate winner Shanahan’s Turn in the mix.

Paul Henderson sent out Un Beau Roman to victory in the 2016 BetVictor Handicap Chase and said of Doitforthevillage: "Everything that fell in the Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Handicap Chase seemed to fall in front of him, but he stayed on to finish sixth, and his Aintree run was possibly a race too many after a long season.

"I have done more with him at home this season than I normally do, but I would have liked to get a run into him beforehand. He won the race last year on his third run of the season, so we are a bit behind this time around and my horses tend to improve for a run.

"Doitforthevillage hasn't lost any of his ability and is just coming into his prime as a nine-year-old. It's only because I haven't been able to get a race into him beforehand that I am not as confident as last year."

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