'Maybe his best days are behind him' - Tiger Roll future uncertain after defeat
Gordon Elliott conceded Tiger Roll's best days may be behind him and that the dual Grand National winner's future is uncertain after he was pulled up in the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase at Cheltenham on Friday.
The performance prompted Ladbrokes to remove Tiger Roll from the betting for the Glenfarclas Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, for which he had been a 4-1 shot.
The trainer could offer no excuse for the lifeless display, with the ten-year-old travelling without his usual zest under Robbie Power, and connections look likely to make a decision about the ten-year-old's career after assessing the situation when he returns home.
Elliott said: "It was disappointing. He never really travelled or jumped. He's not getting any younger. Maybe his better days are behind him. We'll see how he is, but on his last two runs he doesn't look like the horse he was last year. We'll see how he is. There's no excuse, maybe he's just getting older."
Tiger Roll had been warm in the paddock before the race and dropped to the back of the field, having initially raced in the middle of the pack.
"It's not ideal but there's no point making excuses," Elliott said of the preliminaries. "He was beaten after two fences."
Elliott added: "I spoke to Robert and he said he never travelled. We'll get him home and see how he is. If he never does another thing he owes us nothing."
Power, having his first ride aboard the Cheltenham Festival icon, said: "He was never travelling and never had a cut at his fences. I pulled him up as he was in no sort of rhythm."
Rating is 'completely crazy' – O'Leary
Tiger Roll's future is set to be discussed by Elliott and the O'Leary brothers of owner Gigginstown House Stud, with Eddie O'Leary, who manages the operation for Michael, calling the run "very poor".
O'Leary added that Tiger Roll's rating of 171 would have to be reassessed by the handicapper saying that it was "completely crazy" for the ten-year-old to have the mark he does.
"I hope he's okay and obviously it's disappointing but I'd say maybe age is catching up with him," O'Leary said. "That was a very poor run and we'll have to see how he is. We'll get him back and see how he is but his rating has to be readjusted because it's crazy. It always has been crazy but now it's completely crazy.
"He seemed very happy and Gordon was happy with him over there – the fire still seemed to be lit. But if he ran like that again you'd have to think about pulling up stumps."
Much of the pre-race talk had been about the clash between Tiger Roll and Easysland, who came out on top when the pair met in March.
Easysland could manage only fourth on Friday having made mistakes during the race won by Kingswell Theatre, and was eased to 7-4 (from 11-8) by Ladbrokes for the Cheltenham Festival.
Jason Kiely, travelling head lad to trainer David Cottin, said: "He was carrying a lot of weight and it's tough on that ground first time out. He made a mistake halfway through the race and he just got tired at the end. He seems fine afterwards."
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