2018 Grand National winner Tiger Roll took a further step towards his target of being one of the very few horses to win the Grand National in two consecutive seasons.
Gordon Elliott's nine year old gelding at the back end of last season was superb winning at the Cheltenham Festival for a third time and then going on to land the 38 renewal of the Grand National.
He will be looking to go down the same route this season, but so far this campaign he has only raced twice with Elliott being very patient with him.
He started the season off at his favourite track, Cheltenham where has won four times in his career, and that day it was more of a race to blow the cob webs away and get race fit.
This was very evident with him finishing fourth in a Cross Country even where he was giving over a stone to the winner and still stayed on nicely up the hill, overall it was a pleasing seasonal debut.
That was back in November an it was only on Sunday where he was seen again with another practise race for the nine year old to get fit and ready for his next two races in which he will be looking to defend his title.
Tiger Roll started off as the 25/1 outsider in the Grade 2 Boyne Hurdle at Naas yesterday and again with all race fans knowing that this was was a prep run for the Grand National winner and winning was never thought to be on the agenda.
However, he is a superstar just keeps on surprising and to the delight of his trainer and Gigginstown owners he went on to land the 2 mile 5 furlong hurdle contest at a canter.
(Credit Racing TV)
(Credit Racing Post) Gordon Elliott said:"I thought he and Cracking Smart would have been second-last and last, so it's a nice surprise!
"The plan is to go for the Cross Country at Cheltenham now. He'll take a fair bit of beating with a clear round, and then hopefully will go for the Grand National again.
"He’ll be Keith’s ride in the Cross Country, but Davy Russell will ride him in the National if he wants to."
He added: "He's a special horse, he's a favourite around the yard and everyone loves him. He has paid for himself now for the year once again.
"We put the blinkers back on today as he was getting a bit lazy at home. He'll improve plenty for this; I'd say he was only 75 per cent fit."
As said by his trainer his target will be to go and gain his fourth win at the Cheltenham Festival and his second in the Cross Country Chase in which before that race he was 3/1 at most bookmakers but now after his display at the weekend he is a best price of 5/4.
Another race he could go for at the festival off the back of his hurdles success is the Stayers Hurdle, it looks very unlikely but the option is definitely now there for the gelding.
The big target overall looks to be the Aintree Grand National and with his odds taking a big tumble after his exploits at Navan from 20/1 to now a best price of 12/1 to retain is title, we are asking the question, can he actually win it?
Tiger Roll last year showed he just about stayed every little bit of the four mile steeple chase but if the race was any further he would have been beat.
He is known for not being a very big horse and this years renewal does look to have some really smart contenders that might just be to much for the nine year old but in our opinion we can't look anywhere else when thinking of the next winner of this race.
Gordon Elliott is bidding to win his third Grand National in England after Silver Birch in 2008 and Obviously 2018 with Tiger Roll. Elliott has also landed other Grand National contests around the world with the Americans version of the race coming last year through Clarcam.
Tiger Roll is arguably the leading staying horse on the planet and that run at Navan at only 75 percent fit is frightening. The Sky is his limit and we hope he can land the Cross Country and the Grand National for a second year running.