Don't Write Off The Tiger
This wasn't as negative a run as social media would have you believe. I find it crazy to see people talking about retirement as Tiger Roll showed me a lot of old spark and I certainly wouldn't throw in the towel just yet.
The fact is that if you stopped the Boyne Hurdle three out you would be delighted and say that Tiger Roll is back. He has travelled with his old enthusiasm and at times was pulling to go a bit quicker. These are all great signs for Tiger as that shows how well he is in himself.
He simply hated the holding and deep ground, and I could feel it in him at every part of the journey. Tiger Roll has always been a horse who enjoys better ground and Sunday was tough going at Navan.
I heard a few people saying that the ground isn't an excuse as he won a Grand National on heavy ground at Aintree, but they aren't comparable. That Grand National he won was soft or even yielding when you compare it to Sunday!
There is a massive difference between heavy ground at Navan in February, and heavy ground at a racecourse like Aintree in April. Of course I'm not knocking Navan, it's a brilliant track, but heavy at one racecourse is not the same as heavy at another, and there are big differences for whatever reason between Ireland and the UK. I wonder if maybe having a "very heavy" description might help punters in this regard.
His run in November was concerning as he was completely lifeless, but that wasn't the case on Sunday - he just emptied out a bit at the end.
Of course I was somewhat disappointed with his finishing effort, but I know Tiger Roll very well and those conditions just weren't what he wanted. I'm very happy to put a line through it and hope the sun comes out before Cheltenham.
If we get better going at Cheltenham, and the early signs are good for that, I'm hoping everyone will see a different horse. He loves Cheltenham and comes alive at the festival and we can only hope this happens again.
Tiger Roll doesn't owe anything to anybody - he is an absolute legend who has meant so much to myself, and everybody in the yard. If Cheltenham doesn't go to plan then Michael and Eddie O'Leary will no doubt come to a decision.
It's far too early now and he showed enough at Navan to give us all hope anyway. Michael and Eddie absolutely adore Tiger Roll, like we all do, and they'll make the right call for the horse.
It would be very foolish to write Tiger Roll off just yet!