Tiger Roll set for Aintree return but Elliott uncertain of National prospects

Gordon Elliott on Monday lifted the lid on his big hopes for the Leopardstown Christmas festival, while more immediately revealing Tiger Roll will make his eagerly anticipated return in the Grade 2 Unibet Many Clouds Chase at Aintree on Saturday. 

Tiger Roll has not been seen since finishing a well-beaten fourth in the Grade 1 Betway Bowl at Aintree in the spring and Elliott explained that, if he had his way, he would concentrate solely on securing a sixth Cheltenham Festival victory with the dual Grand National hero in the cross-country race next March. 

Elliott said: "Tiger Roll will probably run at Aintree on Saturday. After that, we'll look at the Boyne Hurdle at Navan followed by the cross-country race at Cheltenham. He may not be the Tiger Roll of old but, if we can get him back to win another cross-country race, it will be a dream come true. He's a horse of a lifetime and for anyone who drives into the yard at Cullentra, he lives in the first stable as you walk in, and to have a horse like him around the place is unbelievable.”

Admitting that it will be difficult for Tiger Roll to emulate Red Rum by securing a third Grand National triumph, Elliott added: “The dream would be to go back and win a third Grand National but the stats don't lie. It will have been three years since he won the Grand National and it's not going to be any easier for him as he's not getting any younger. 

“To be honest, I'd love to win another cross-country race with him at Cheltenham. If he won it, it would blow the roof off Cheltenham. Looking at Cheltenham this year, Tiger Roll winning the cross-country was probably one of the proudest moments of my training career. He's a little superstar and we're very lucky to have him.”

If Tiger Roll reappears at Aintree on Saturday he could face former dual Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Al Boum Photo, who also features among the 13 entries for the race. 

Elliott will be bidding to flex his muscles for the Gold Cup on December 28 at Leopardstown, where Delta Work and Galvin spearhead the trainer's entries for the Savills Chase.

Speaking about the pair, he said: “I was very happy with Delta Work at Down Royal and, anyone who knows the horse, he always takes a run to leave him right. He never does anything fancy at home and hopefully we'll have Jack Kennedy back to ride him. He'll probably be joined by Galvin, who'll like Leopardstown. He'll like the ground and will be ridden to pick up the pieces.”
Elliott also confirmed he will step Abacadabras up in trip in the Grade 1 Christmas Hurdle on the same day. Sire De Berlais and Grand Roi are also likely to run. 

The trainer will be hoping for the best possible start to the Christmas period with Riviere D’Etel tackling the Racing Post Novice Chase on December 26, the first Grade 1 of the four-day bonanza at Leopardstown.

Elliott said: “I'd say the plan will be to go for the Racing Post Novice Chase with her. She gets all the allowances and she jumps very well, so I don't see any reason why we wouldn't go there. If she comes through that well, you'd have to be thinking about the Arkle for her. 

He added: “I’d imagine Fil Dor will run in the juvenile hurdle on the same day. I love the way he switches off and races behind the bridle. That was just the third race of his career at Fairyhouse on Sunday and Davy [Russell] only gave him one little flick and he won hands and heels. He was a little bit more confident than I was watching the race.”

Elliott also revealed that Mighty Potter, an unlucky third in the Royal Bond Novice Hurdle at Fairyhouse on Sunday, will be joined by Three Stripe Life in the Paddy Power Future Champions Novice Hurdle at Leopardstown on December 27 as well as firming up plans for some of the leading lights of his stable.

He said: “I'd imagine Mighty Potter and Three Stripe Life will go for the Paddy Power Future Champions Novice Hurdle. It's going to be a good race and it'll be interesting to see what Willie [Mullins] gets out in the next couple of weeks. 

"I suppose if I was to give you two for the Paddy Power Handicap Chase, it would be The Bosses Oscar, having his first run in a handicap, and at a big price, Mortal. I thought he ran very well in the Troytown. He's going to go over to Cheltenham for the cross-country now and we'll bring him back for the Paddy Power, all being well.”

Elliott added: “I'm thinking of running Run Wild Fred in the Neville Hotels Novice Chase on December 29. He went up 14lb for winning at Navan. He's off a mark of 159 and it's a fair standard for a novice chaser at this stage in the season. He's very straightforward and he'll love the ground. 

“Zanahiyr and Petit Mouchoir will definitely run in the Matheson Hurdle but I'm not sure if Teahupoo will run there or in the winners' race at Limerick instead.”