Talking Horses: Tiger Roll back on the Flat in build-up to Grand National

Tiger Roll makes a surprise return on the Flat as the chaser starts his build-up to a bid at Grand National history

Tiger Roll, the Grand National winner in 2018 and 2019, already has strong claims to be the most versatile National Hunt horse in training as well as the most popular, and he will attempt to break new ground once again on Thursday by recording his first win on the Flat at the age of 10.

“It’ll be a racecourse gallop and he’ll come on plenty for the run, but it’s a nice starting point for the season,” his trainer, Gordon Elliott said on Tuesday. “We don’t think he’s going to be winning it, we just want him to have a nice day out and enjoy himself.

“He’s done well [over the summer], it’s only October though and it’s a long way to next March. There’s a fair chance he’ll go to Cheltenham in November for the cross-country race [on 13 November] but we’ll play it by ear, one race at a time.”

Elliott’s gelding is one of 10 declared runners for the Flower Hill Maiden Stakes over 14 furlongs at Navan, which will be his first run on the Flat since finishing second in a maiden on the all-weather surface at Dundalk in March 2016.

At the time, Tiger Roll appeared to be on the downslope of his career, having managed a single victory in eight starts over jumps after winning the Triumph Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March 2014.

Tiger Roll’s sole outing on the level to date had little immediate effect on his form over jumps, as he finished 14th in a handicap hurdle at Aintree’s National meeting and was then pulled up in a similar race at Punchestown. His next start, though, was in a beginners’ chase at Ballinrobe in May 2016 and since then he has, for the most part, been on an upward curve.

Sam Ewing, an apprentice rider, will take 7lb off Tiger Roll’s back, leaving him with 9st 7lb to carry – a featherweight compared to the 11st 5lb he lugged around more than four miles at Aintree in 2019 to win his second Grand National by nearly three lengths.

Tiger Roll, a son of the Derby winner Authorized, was bought for 70,000 guineas as a foal to join Sheikh Mohammed’s Flat racing operation but was sold to the jumps trainer Nigel Hawke for 10,000 guineas three years later without running on the Flat. He was then sold to join Elliott’s stable after one run for Hawke for £80,000.

Tiger Roll’s opponents on Thursday include runners from the elite Flat stables of Aidan O’Brien and Dermot Weld. Ciel D’Afrique, by the Derby and Arc winner Sea The Stars, runs for Weld while Greek Gladiator, by Galileo out of a Danehill mare, lines up for O’Brien.

Wednesday’s best bets

Soft ground will make it a test for the two-year-olds at Newmarket, where six of the seven races are for juveniles and there is, as always at this meeting, a scattering of runners who are bred to excel at three making a low-key start to their racing careers.

Runners to keep a close eye on include Dubawi Sands (1.35), a half-brother by Dubawi to Galileo Gold, who took the 2,000 Guineas and St James’s Palace Stakes in 2016, and Royal Touch (3.55), a half-brother to Farhh, who was an extra behind Frankel in his four-year-old campaign in 2012 but took two Group Ones at five, including the Champion Stakes at Ascot.

Among the horses that bring some form to the table, Genuflex (2.45) has to be an each-way bet against Act Of Wisdom, the top-weight and possible favourite, in the 10-furlong nursery, having finished a length and a quarter behind Charlie Appleby’s colt on heavy ground at Nottingham last time. Unlike most of their rivals, they are both proven at this trip, and Genuflex is 2lb better off with Act Of Wisdom but available to back at 16-1.

Zezenia (3.20) should return to her earlier upward trajectory in the fillies’ handicap having been heavily eased at Nottingham last time when her saddle slipped, while at Fontwell, Waikiki Waves will catch the eye of some punters given that he is running in the “Waikiki Waves Won This Race 2019 Handicap Chase”.

Newmarket 1.00 Rattling Rosie 1.35 Dubawi Sands 2.10 Pied Piper 2.45 Genuflex 3.20 Zezenia (nap) 3.55 Royal Touch 4.30 Elusive Artist

Hereford 1.15 Marada 1.50 El Presente 2.25 Ziggy Rose 3.00 Carolines Charm 3.35 Anightinlambourn 4.15 The Boola Bee 4.45 Gerard Mentor 5.20 Translink 

Fontwell Park 1.25 Lord Accord 2.00 Coquelicot 2.35 Atomix 3.10 Chirico Vallis 3.45 Never Learn 4.23 Caviciana 4.55 Seaside Girl 5.30 Ucanaver

Kempton Park  4.10 Galahad Threepwood 4.40 Relative Choice 5.15 Sunset Bay 5.45 Looktotherainbow 6.15 Quintillus 6.45 Noble Dynasty 7.15 Areehaa (nb) 7.45 Limaro Prospect 8.15 Gherkin

The race has also attracted Never Learn (3.45), who was a very easy winner of the same race 12 months earlier and is only 7lb higher in the weights. Areehaa (7.15) and Gherkin (8.15) look best on the evening card at Kempton.


Greg Wood

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Talking Horses: Tiger Roll could be fit for Grand National hat-trick attempt
Gordon Elliott appears more optimistic than the owner after saying horse might be fit to try and match Red Rum’s record

Greg Wood in Longwood and Chris Cook

28, Nov, 2019 @9:56 AM

Article image
Talking Horses: Tiger Roll guessing game continues for Grand National
This year’s Grand National revolves around Tiger Roll, but there is uncertainty about whether he will even be there

Greg Wood

17, Feb, 2021 @10:46 AM

Article image
Talking Horses: Tiger Roll is back at Aintree, but not in the right race
The dual Grand National winner lines up over traditional fences on Thursday and misses his chance for Aintree immortality

Greg Wood

08, Apr, 2021 @8:34 AM

Article image
Tiger Roll out of Grand National after Aintree weights are revealed
Tiger Roll’s owner, Michael O’Leary, has said the two-time winner will not be taking part in this year’s Grand National, calling the ratings ‘absurd’

Greg Wood

15, Feb, 2022 @7:12 PM

Article image
Talking Horses: Tiger Roll withdrawn from Grand National in handicap row
Tiger Roll has been withdrawn from this year’s Grand National by his owner, Michael O’Leary, ending hopes of a hat-trick of Aintree wins

Greg Wood

02, Mar, 2021 @11:59 AM

Article image
Tiger Roll: Russell stays cool in bid to make Grand National history
The jockey, trying to ride Tiger Roll to the first repeat National win since Red Rum, is laid-back before Saturday’s big race

Greg Wood at Aintree

06, Apr, 2019 @7:23 AM

Article image
Tame Cheltenham run suggests Tiger Roll has lost his Grand National roar
Tiger Roll has three weeks to reach peak condition to win a third successive Grand National but will he get there after finishing second at Cheltenham?

Chris Cook at Cheltenham

11, Mar, 2020 @8:25 PM

Article image
Talking Horses: weighty problem over Tiger Roll and the Grand National
It is reasonable for Tiger Roll’s owners to expect some reduction in their horse’s rating for Aintree but 8lb may be asking too much

Chris Cook

30, Jan, 2020 @11:58 AM

Article image
Talking Horses: roll up for our answer to the Grand National mystery
What would have happened at Aintree on Saturday if the great race had gone ahead?

Chris Cook

03, Apr, 2020 @2:23 PM

Article image
O’Leary tempted to say ‘no dice’ to demands for another roll by Tiger | Greg Wood
The Ryanair chief executive, Michael O’Leary, admits he will face a tricky decision over Tiger Roll seeking a third Grand National win

Greg Wood

07, Apr, 2019 @5:18 PM