Tiger roars to victory at Cheltenham as Elliott scores a double

Story by Fergal Lynch

Wednesday, 13th March, 2019 5:27pm

Tiger roars to victory at Cheltenham as Elliott scores a double

Keith Donoghue and Gordon Elliott

After Gavin Cromwell's heroics with Espoir D'Allen in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham yesterday, today was all about Tiger Roll, Keith Donoghue and Gordon Elliott as the Aintree Grand National winner romped to victory in the Cross-Country Chase at the Prestbury Park.

Skryne footballer Donoghue steered Tiger Roll impressively as he  landed his fourth Cheltenham Festival win with an utterly dominant performance in the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase.

The Enda Bolger-trained Josies Orders was 22 lengths behind in second, with French raider Urgent De Gregaine less than a length back in third.

The nine-year-old Tiger Roll provided Longwood bassed trainer Gordon Elliott from Summerhill with a welcome first winner of the week following several disappointments and strolled to an easy success under Dunshaughlin man Donoghue.

He's definitely a legend in my eyes anyway, he's some horse and that was some performance. He tanked the whole way and he kept going, he has got the heart of a lion,”the Dunshaughlin man told ITV Racing immediately after the race.

What he's done is serious, he's won at four Cheltenham festivals in three different races, a Grand National and a Munster National, what a trainer Gordon (Elliott) is to get him back here every year.

"He's had his problems but Gordon's got him to Cheltenham every yearm what a trainer. This is a dream come true for me, last year was unreal but this year you appreciate it more."

When asked if Tiger Roll could be the new Red Rum and win back-to-back Grand Nationals, Donoghue believes he can and he will be happy to hand the reins to Davy Russell.

I think so, but we'll leave that to Davy Russell and I hope he does it for him,” concluded Donoghue.

Trainer Elliott bore a grin of relief as Tiger Roll ended his wait for a first winner at this years festival and the Summerhill man thanked his owners for showing faith in him before he heaped praise on his “legend”.

I is unbelieveable, Tiger (Roll) is something else and it is great for Keith. He got us out of trouble because we are having a rough week,” Elliott told ITV Racing.

Everyone knows there's a lot of pressure when you come here and I'm very lucky that I've got a great bunch of owners who are all behind me 100 per cent, so it was nice to get a winner.

Tiger Roll is a legend, the way he done gthat today and the way he done in the Boyne Hurdle (at Navan), was great. I'd say there will be some sheer when he comes in here.

The way he won the Boyne Hurdle was something else, but he is class, pure class. I don't (if he can emulate Red Rum) we'll enjoy today and see what happens,” concluded the trainer.


Tiger Roll did indeed get a huge welcome back into the winner's enclosure and on his way there jockey Donoghue was met by his Skryne team mate, former Meath goalkeeper Paddy O'Rourke who handed him a Meath scarf to proudly wave into the winner's enclosure.

Like Dublin bus, after waiting a day and half for a winner, a second came along for Elliott when he saddled Envoi Allen to victory in the Champion Bumper in the final race of day two of the Festival.

Irish amateur Jamie Codd, who struck in the National Hunt Chase on Tuesday, scored with Elliott's five-year-old by three-quarters of a length to earn his ninth festival success.

There was little between Envoi Allen and Willie Mullins' Blue Sari a furlong out, but the 2-1 favourite just had an extra gear to beat the mount of Barry Geraghty's to thwart Mullins' hopes of a tenth success in the race.

The Philip Hobbs-trained Thyme Hill showed prominence throughout and finished a length and three-quarters back in third under Richard Johnson, with Elliott's other runner Abacadabras coming fourth.

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