LONDON, United Kingdom (AFP) – Tiger Roll ran an encouraging trial ahead of his tilt at winning an unprecedented third Grand National by finishing second in the Cross Country race at the Cheltenham Festival on Wednesday.
Tiger Roll had to give second best to the highly impressive French runner Easysland, who was given a brilliant ride by Jonathan Plouganou.
Tiger Roll’s trainer Gordon Elliott professed himself pleased with his star’s performance, who won this race in the past two years on his way to triumphing in the Grand National.
“I am delighted,” he said. “Disappointed as we always are in not winning but in terms of a trial it was perfect. He was brilliant.”
Some bookmakers were less impressed with one pushing him out to 10/1 from 5/1 for a threepeat at Aintree on April 4.
His owner, combative Ryanair chief Micheal O’Leary, who was not present as he is heading up his airline’s response to the coronavirus crisis, has complained about the weight Tiger Roll has been allotted for the National.
However, Keith Donoghue, who rides Tiger Roll in this race with Davy Russell then taking it on National day, said the four-time Cheltenham Festival winner had run the ideal warm-up.
“He has run a cracking race,” said Donoghue. “The heavy ground caught him out. He ran his heart out but just ran into a better horse on the day.”