Horses To Follow » Tiger Roll

Tiger Roll

Tiger Roll sprang a bit of a surprise when he won the JT McNamara Ladbrokes Munster National at Limerick on Sunday, but it was an impressive performance and he may not get due recognition for it.

Settled towards the rear of the field through the early stages of the race by Donagh Meyler, he made a significant mistake at the fourth fence but, that aside, his jumping was good. He moved up into sixth place at the top of the home straight first time, and he travelled really well from there. He jumped into fourth place at the third last in the back straight, jumped into third past Stellar Notion at the second last on that part of the track, and moved into second behind Kylecrue as they left the back straight. Moving through on the inside of the leader as they raced around the home turn, he travelled well in front on the run to the second last, jumped the last two well and kept on really well all the way to the line.

It was a fine performance by the Gigginstown House horse. Not only was the performance visually impressive, and not only did he clock a good time, 0.57secs/furlong slower than standard, but he also came through his field in a race in which it was probably an advantage to race handily. He was the only horse who was able to get into the race from the rear, and the second, third and fourth horses home were all prominent from early.

It was interesting that trainer Gordon Elliott said afterwards that he thought about taking his horse out of the race, that he didn’t think that three miles on the yielding ground would be the thing for him, and the trainer’s pessimism was reflected in the market. But Tiger Roll loved it. The Triumph Hurdle winner of 2014, it is difficult to believe that he is still only six, but he has raced just eight times over fences, and he has plenty of scope to progress from this now. This was the Authorized gelding’s first run over three miles over fences, and he seemed to see out the trip really well. Also, he handled the easy ground well, which shouldn’t really be surprising for a son of Authorized.

It is difficult to know what was the key to this performance, a career-best by some way. Perhaps it was the trip, perhaps it was the big field, being ridden patiently and passing horses, or perhaps he is just an improving chaser anyway. He is still a young horse, even though he has had plenty of racing. A six-year-old who has raced just once over three miles over fences, he has plenty of scope for progression now as a staying chaser. The handicapper raised him 9lb for this, to a mark of 147, but that is still 3lb lower than his peak over hurdles, and he has the potential to go beyond that now as a staying chaser. He will be of interest wherever he goes next. Longer term, he could be an Irish National horse this season, and perhaps an Aintree National horse in the next couple of years.

9th October 2016