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Dublin: 11°C Thursday 22 April 2021

Grand National hero Tiger Roll lands victory at Cheltenham for the fifth time

Keith Donoghue steered the two-time Grand National victor home in the Cross-Country Chase.

THE BRILLIANT TIGER Roll was back in the winners’ enclosure at Cheltenham today after landing a remarkable fifth win at the Festival.

cheltenham-festival-2021-day-two-cheltenham-racecourse Tiger Roll on top again at Cheltenham. Source: PA

After disappointing form to date this season, Tiger Roll bounced back to land the Cross Country chase for the third time with Keith Donoghue piloting the 9-2 shot to victory.

After losing out to Easysland in this race last year, Tiger Roll turned the tables with a storming 18 length success, Denise Foster now the trainer after the suspension handed down to Gordon Elliott.

The French challenger Easysland did briefly threaten but Tiger Roll quickly went clear again to win comfortably. Some Neck was back in third with Alpha Des Obeaux behind in fourth.

The Tiger Roll success story at Cheltenham began with a win in the Triumph Hurdle in 2014 before winning the National Hunt Chase in 2017, and then a pair of Cross Country Chase successes in 2018 and 2019.

Eddie O’Leary, racing manager for owners Gigginstown House Stud, said: “That was unbelievable – what a fantastic horse, we’re over the moon here. He’s a legend of a horse.

“There was a rush to retire this horse earlier in the season, but he’s a cross-country horse, that’s what he is, and we always said we’ll wait to see how he gets on over the cross-country fences once more. To win at five Festivals is amazing, what a horse.

“Aintree is off the agenda and we’ve no regrets about that. Both him and Easysland are rated too high. He is rated the equal of our Gold Cup horse, Delta Work, and we know he’s not as good.

“It’s going to be hard to retire him after that, now, and he loves racing in any case.

keith-donoghue-with-tiger-roll-celebrates-after-winning Keith Donoghue with Tiger Roll celebrates after winning. Source: Francesca Altoft/INPHO

“He’ll probably have to run at Punchestown in the Grade One, where he will probably prove he is nowhere near a 166-rated horse, and it is a pity we have to do that.

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“Cross-country racing got this horse back after he had completely lost his way, but we’ll have to go in a Grade One just to prove he has the wrong rating. He’s a cross-country horse, that’s what he is.

“Whatever we decide to do, and if he never wins another race, we will enjoy today.”

- Additional reporting by PA

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Fintan O'Toole

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