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VIDEO: Tiger Roll tailed off in Navan hurdle race
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VIDEO: Tiger Roll tailed off in Navan hurdle race
on 21 February 2021
But Gordon Elliott's stablestar remains on course for the cross-country chase at Cheltenham

Dual Grand National hero Tiger Roll remains on course for the Cheltenham Festival despite finishing a tailed-off last of six runners behind Beacon Edge in the Ladbrokes Boyne Hurdle at Navan on Sunday.

A surprise winner of this Grade 2 contest two years ago before going on to seal his second success at Aintree a couple of months later, Tiger Roll returned to Navan on a recovery mission following a disappointing start to his season around Cheltenham’s cross-country course.

However, while the 11-year-old travelled strongly for much of the two-mile-five-furlong journey under Keith Donoghue, he weakened out of contention early in the home straight and finished some 48 lengths behind the fifth placed Decor Irlandais.

Trainer Gordon Elliott was not too disappointed as he felt conditions were against his runner, who is now set to head for the Glenfarclas Chase at the Festival next month.

Elliott said: “Keith said he travelled well to the third last, in horrible ground, and just got tired.

“It’s still all systems go for Cheltenham. Keith said he was happy with him, but he just got tired in the ground. He’ll be okay. Of course you want him to run better, but he hated that ground.”

At the business end of proceedings, it was the other two Gigginstown House Stud-owned runners who fought out the finish.

Tiger Roll’s stablemate Fury Road was the 11/8 favourite in the hands of Jack Kennedy and cut out much of the running before being joined by the Noel Meade-trained Beacon Edge (15/8) and Sean Flanagan after the final obstacle.

No quarter was given by either horse or jockey after the final flight, but it was Beacon Edge who pushed ahead where it mattered to prevail by a neck.

Meade said of the winner: “He had a colic at Christmas and he spent nearly a week in Kildare. Even though we thought he was at the time, he just wasn’t himself on his last run at Naas.

“He’s a fair horse. I wondered about him getting the trip, but he stays.

“Michael (O’Leary, owner) had it in his head that he’d go to Liverpool (Aintree) for the two-and-a-half-mile race (Aintree Hurdle), but he is in the Stayers’ Hurdle at Cheltenham. We have Diol Ker for that as well and we’ll see what turns up in it.”

ELLIOTT FOUR-TIMER

Gordon Elliott, Jack Kennedy and Gigginstown House Stud won the other two graded races on the card, while Elliott also saddled the bumper winner and a handicap hurdle winner.

Thyestes Chase hero Coko Beach followed up in the Grade 2 Ladbrokes Novice Chase.

Three and a half weeks on from his lucrative handicap success at Gowran Park, Gordon Elliott’s grey was the 5/4 favourite at Grade 2 level in the hands of Jack Kennedy.

It was not entirely straightforward for the market leader though, with Espanito Bello looking a major threat halfway up the home straight.

However, just when he appeared to be getting the better of the argument, Espanito Bello stumbled on landing after jumping the final fence – handing the initiative back to Coko Beach, who went on to score by four lengths.

“Jack said he’s better in a big field, with horses around him, where something can keep him travelling,” said Elliott.

“I was standing out on the track and I wasn’t sure whether he would have won or not. Jack said he thought he would have.

“He said he needed the jump to win it and he got it.”

Coko Beach holds several entries at next month’s Cheltenham Festival, but Elliott added: “I’d imagine we’ll keep him at home and he might go for the Irish Grand National.”

The same owner-trainer-rider combination won the Grade 3 novice hurdle (rescheduled from Clonmel) with Frontal Assault (4/1), who possibly benefited from the fall of Minella Escape at the second last flight.

Elliott sent out 25/1 shot Fierami to win the two-mile, five-furlong handicap hurdle (a first winner for Jordan Gainford since turning professional) and the €470,000 purchase Ginto brought up the Elliott four-timer in the closing bumper.

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