Tiger's season rolls on to the festival after pleasing comeback behind Josies
You will not be surprised to learn that for Josies Orders the rest of this season will revolve around trying to supplement success in Cheltenham's November cross-country chase by winning the one staged over course and distance in March.
You may be more surprised to learn that same festival prize is also the prime aim for Tiger Roll, even more so than defending his Randox Health Grand National crown.
On this occasion Tiger Roll was a staying-on fourth at the end of a Glenfarclas-backed handicap the Enda Bolger-trained Josies Orders took despite being briefly headed by Fact Of The Matter just after the final fence. The winner will be back here in December and March, as will Tiger Roll, who by winning that event last term became a triple festival hero.
"The festival race will be more important than the National, to be honest," said Tiger Roll's trainer Gordon Elliott.
"I would love to win at Aintree again, but he'll probably have top weight and you have to be realistic. It would be easier to win at the festival - and to win at the Cheltenham Festival four times would be a dream come true."
Elliott added: "I was delighted with him today. I loved the way he galloped from the last fence to the line. That's the most important thing. I thought I had him a bit fitter but Tiger must be getting cuter at home."
No horses are cuter, smarter or more potent over Cheltenham's cross-country track than those trained by Bolger, whose latest winner here had taken the same race three years ago.
"He really knows his way around here and cuts the corners," said Bolger, who was also full of praise for winning rider Mark Walsh, now the trainer's first-choice pilot for these centre-course marathons following the retirement of Nina Carberry.
"A lot of the professionals either love it or they don't," said Bolger. "There was a gap to be filled and Mark really enjoys these races."
He really does.
"I've loved jumping banks and hedges so to race over them at Cheltenham is a dream come true," said Walsh.
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