Horses To Follow » Tiger Roll

Tiger Roll

Tiger Roll put up a really good performance on just his second ever run to finish second behind Guitar Pete in the Spring Juvenile Hurdle at Leopardstown on Sunday.

It was a brave move by Gigginstown House and Gordon Elliott to pitch the Authorized gelding into Grade 1 company on just his second ever run. A game winner on his hurdling bow at Market Rasen last November when trained by Nigel Hawke, Elliott said before Sunday’s race that they just wanted to see where they stood with the horse, but he had obviously impressed his owner before he bought him, and he had obviously impressed his trainer at home sufficiently to justify a Grade 1 jaunt.

As it happened, he didn’t let his owner or his trainer down on Sunday. Held up by Bryan Cooper in the early stages, he came under pressure on the run out of the back straight between the third last and second last flights, but he found plenty for that pressure. He moved into second place behind Guitar Pete on the run to the final flight, but the leader pinged the last – as he had just about every other obstacle on the course – whereas Tiger Roll got in tight and lost his hind legs at the back of it. The fact that his rider lost his whip did not make any difference to the outcome but, you never know, if he had jumped the last a little better, or if Guitar Pete hadn’t jumped it as well as he did, the runner-up might have got a lot closer to the winner than the two lengths by which he was beaten.

It was interesting that Gordon Elliott said afterwards that Tiger Roll would go for the Triumph Hurdle now, perhaps with another run in between. There was no hint of ducking into the Fred Winter, despite the fact that Elliott won the Fred Winter last year with Flaxen Flare who, incidentally, had finished fifth in Sunday’s race as a prelude to Cheltenham. Tiger Roll may be at his best on soft ground, but he hasn’t been tried on good ground yet and, you never know, it might still come up soft on the last day at Cheltenham, as it did last year. He could improve significantly for this, just his second ever run, and he could be an interesting outsider in the Triumph Hurdle.

9th February 2014