Tiger Roll returns to a racecourse for the first time since November on Sunday in the Boyne Hurdle at Navan.
Trainer Gordon Elliott is hoping the real Tiger Roll will turn up at Navan, having disappointed at Cheltenham when last seen. Keith Donoghue will again be on board, as he was when he last won this race in 2019.
This week, Tiger Roll was allotted second from top weight of 11 stone nine pounds for the 2021 Grand National at Aintree, a race he is looking to win for the third time.
Elliott told his Betfair blog: “There’s nothing more that can be said about Tiger Roll. He’s an absolute legend, and it’s just very exciting to be back here again at this time of year with him as we look towards Cheltenham and Aintree.
“I know he was disappointing when he was last seen in action at Cheltenham in November, but I’m hoping we will see a different Tiger Roll here.
“He’s been in very good form at home and looks to retain all his interest and enthusiasm, and he’s giving me all the right signs, so hopefully we will see it from him on the track for the first time this season.
“Obviously the focus for most people is not today but rather the future, and I understand completely, but we’ll just get this race out of the way first. He won’t be mad about the soft ground, but he’s run well on it before — and I’m just hoping that he produces a performance which shows me that the old spark is still there.”
Elliott also saddles fellow Gigginstown House Stud-owned runner Fury Road, who is looking to bounce back having suffered defeat when favourite for the Christmas Hurdle at Leopardstown.
The trainer added: “I don’t think we saw the best of Fury Road at Christmas when he was fourth to Flooring Porter, and I’m still to be convinced he is an out-and-out three-miler, and this sort of trip might turn out to be his optimum."
While there will be no crowds at Navan on Sunday, viewers will be hoping, like Elliott that Tiger Roll can put on a show.