Tiger Roll will run only twice this National Hunt season before bidding to become the first horse in history to win the £1-million Randox Health Grand National for a third consecutive year, his trainer Gordon Elliott has revealed.
In April, Gigginstown House Stud-owned Tiger Roll emulated the legendary Red Rum to win the world’s greatest steeplechase back to back.
Trainer Gordon Elliott has confirmed for the first time that the nine-year-old is definitely being aimed at the Aintree showpiece on Saturday, 4th April 2020, with Co. Cork jockey Davy Russell named as the man who will partner him again.
However, 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.
In an interview with Aintree Racecourse, Elliott said Tiger Roll has returned to the yard from his summer holiday fit and well:
“It is great to see him back, doing a bit of work again. He has had a nice couple of months of summer holidays. 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.”
Talking about possible races for Tiger Roll in 2020, Elliott said:
” 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 (March) for the Cross Country race and then we’ll go for the Randox Health Grand National.”
The trainer went on to reveal riding arrangements for this season, stating:
“Keith (Donoghue) will ride him in Cheltenham in the Cross Country race and the Boyne Hurdle and then Davy Russell will ride him in the National.”
Tiger Roll’s second Randox Health Grand National win in April this year sparked huge interest around Britain and Ireland in the horse, along with a number of public appearances in the weeks which followed.
Elliott admits that he only realised how much his stable superstar meant to people after the race when reading headlines and meeting people.
“You know, he has got a great name, Tiger Roll, and he’s got a great heart. He has obviously won at four Cheltenham Festivals and to win two Randox Health Grand Nationals has been unbelievable.
Ominously for his rivals, Elliott says he thinks Tiger Roll has improved as a horse and, if everything in his preparation goes right, he will have a fantastic chance to make history:
“I suppose last year (2018) we thought he would hose up until the last 50 yards and he just nearly got caught. I was still confident when he had got past the line last year that he had won but, until they call the result, you never know.
“This year was probably easier to watch. He travelled and jumped and did everything right. You know, it’s a funny thing to say but he was arguably a better horse this year than he was last year.”