When Tiger Roll won the 2019 edition of this 3m6f contest by more than twenty lengths, it was arguably the best winning performance of the meeting. The Gordon Elliott trained gelding was completing a two-timer in this event after also scoring in previous visits to the Festival. Can the 10-year-old claim a repeat victory prior to his attempt at a Triple Grand National?
The preparations for Tiger Roll could not be more different this time than with last season. An uninterrupted schedule during the 2019 season allowed him to win the Boyne Hurdle at Navan before appearing at the Festival.
This year, an injury enforced his absence from the racecourse until that same Navan event where he could finish only fifth. Connections were pleased with the performance and suggest he will improve for that display, but he may not be as fit as last season for this race. That said, any sort of victory would still be considered a very decent performance and he is generally offered at 10/11.
Among the likely opponents for Tiger Roll may be French horse Easysland who is unbeaten in his last six races over fences including a cross-country victory at Cheltenham back in December. He may be more race fit that the Irish favourite.
There is also the lightly-raced Yanworth from the cross-country specialist trainer Edna Bolger. Reverting to this type of event for his last two races, the 10-year-old has always promised much but never really delivered on a regular basis, and he fell at Cheltenham when Easysland won. That was uncharacteristic from the normally reliable jumper and he regained some confidence when finishing third over three miles last time. He may be worth watching at 12/1.
Neverushacon may be another contender after finishing fifth behind Easysland at Cheltenham but he has since won a cross-country event at Punchestown. A very versatile horse over both obstacles and the flat, he beat Yanworth and Josies Orders that day and may be more comfortable in testing conditions.