Tiger Roll's highly anticipated seasonal return at Navan this afternoon saw him finish fifth in the Ladbrokes Ireland Boyne Hurdle.
The Gordon Elliott trained 10-year-old will bid for a historic third consecutive Grand National in April and heads to Cheltenham next month bidding for a fifth win at the festival.
Another Gordon Elliott trained and Gigginstown House Stud horse won the race via 16/1 shot Cracking Smart but Elliott was particularly pleased with Tiger Roll's performance.
A well deserved cool down for 🐯
"I thought he ran a brilliant race. I'm absolutely thrilled with the horse."@gelliott_racing is delighted with Tiger Roll and it's all systems go for @CheltenhamRaces & @AintreeRaces pic.twitter.com/2O90WQKnoz
— Horse Racing Ireland (@HRIRacing) February 16, 2020
Gordan Elliott gave his reaction to Racing TV afterwards;
"It was great for Cracking Smart to win it but he's probably going to get out shadowed by Tiger Roll.
"I thought he ran a brilliant race, he thought three out he was going to win down to the second last, he just had a blow.
"We kind of knew that's what was going to happen, he's only back cantering since the 1st of January.
"We're absolutely thrilled with the horse, just once he's ok in the morning it'll be all systems go for Cheltenham and then all being well the Grand National."
Tiger Roll won this race 12 months ago and many were worried how he'd get on having not jumped over fences in so long but Elliot was pleased as he set his sights now on Cheltenham preparations.
"I was very, very worried about the ground and about his fitness but I thought it was a positive run, a brilliant run.
"It's all systems to Cheltenham now, he'll probably go in the next week or 10 days for a pop around the cross country races, I'm absolutely thrilled."
Connections confirmed this week that Tiger Roll will defend his Grand National crown at Aintree, after being allotted top weight.