Tiger Roll excels in defeat
Trainer Gordon Elliott felt Tiger Roll put on a superb display on his seasonal reappearance despite finishing fifth at Navan on Sunday.
The 10-year-old had not been seen since making it back-to-back Grand National wins in April 2019 and there had been questions over whether he would return to Merseyside later this year for a crack at the hat-trick.
However, connections confirmed his participation in the world's greatest steeplechase earlier this week and he returned to action in the Ladbrokes Ireland Boyne Hurdle.
The gelding's stablemate Cracking Smart took the race by four lengths from Penhil, with Bachasson and Kilfenora also finishing ahead of Tiger Roll.
Having travelled at the rear of the field, the Aintree ace looked as though he might challenge but, under Keith Donoghue, did not have the stamina to match the leading contenders.
However, Elliott believes it was a decent run-out and is now relishing the upcoming challenges.
"It was great for Cracking Smart to win it but he's probably going to be overshadowed by Tiger Roll," he told Racing TV. "He ran a brilliant race.
"He jumped and Keith said after three out he thought he was going to win but after two out just had a blow. We kind of knew that was going to happen with him as he only started cantering on January 1st.
"I'm absolutely thrilled with the horse. As long as he's OK in the morning it's all-systems-go to Cheltenham and then all being well the Randox Health Grand National at Aintree."
Neil Foster is an experienced journalist who specialises in cricket and rugby union. Neil also has a solid knowledge of tennis, golf and football.