Dual Grand National winner Tiger Roll seeks a fairytale farewell by winning his final race at the Cheltenham Festival before retiring
- Tiger Roll will run his 45th and final race at the Cheltenham Festival
- Owner Michael O’Leary believes that it is the appropriate stage to bow out
- The Gordon Elliott-trained gelding is arguably the best-known jumper in training
Tiger Roll may be a dual Grand National winner but owner Michael O’Leary believes that the Cheltenham Festival is the appropriate stage for the 12-year-old to run his 45th and final race on Wednesday afternoon.
The Gordon Elliott-trained gelding, arguably the best-known jumper in training because of his Aintree exploits, will be retired no matter what the outcome of the Cross Country Chase which he is attempting to win for a fourth time.
Should he manage to do that, it will be a sixth victory at the Cheltenham Festival — equalling the record of Willie Mullins-trained Quevega, who won the Mares’ Hurdle six years running.
Dual Grand National winner Tiger Roll will bow out at the Cheltenham Festival on Wednesday
Tiger Roll’s first Cheltenham Festival appearance came when winning the Triumph Hurdle in 2014 and he also won the 2017 National Hunt Chase.
O’Leary said: ‘In many ways, this place is the appropriate place to retire him. It started with the Triumph Hurdle, he then won the National Hunt Chase and three Cross Country Chases. Win, lose or draw he has been an amazing horse and he deserves to have his last run here at Cheltenham. We are very proud of him.
‘I’d like him just not to pull up. He is 12 years old and I think it is a big ask. If he won it would be a fairytale but Cheltenham doesn’t deliver fairytales.
‘It will be his last race and as long as he runs well home in one piece we will be thrilled.
The Gordon Elliott-trained gelding is arguably the best-known jumper in training
‘If rain comes and the ground softens, it won’t be for him. If we don’t get much rain and the ground stays good, he should run reasonably well.’
O’Leary paid £80,000 for Tiger Roll, who has won over £1.4million in prize money.
He will be ridden by Davy Russell, who was on board when Tiger Roll won the National in 2018 and 2019.
It will be Tiger Roll’s eighth Festival run and Elliott said: ‘He’s been the horse of a lifetime. We probably don’t realise how lucky we are to have a horse like him.
‘He’s getting older. Whether he is still what he was in his pomp is probably difficult to say but if he can turn up in 80 per cent of the form he has for the last couple of years, then he will take all the beating.’