Tiger Roll, Dunboyne & The Cheltenham Festival Q&A

By Keith Donoghue
 |  6 mins
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Tiger Roll, Dunboyne & The Cheltenham Festival Q&A

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I was delighted to grab another winner this week and it was great to see Dunboyne land one for very popular owners in the yard.

It was a good performance in the end as Dunboyne did it comfortably enough and going up in trip really helped as obviously he had two good runs over two miles before this, like when he chased home Bob Olinger. He was bought to be a three-mile chaser so it was nice to get a win out of the way over hurdles. He is one to look forward to over the bigger obstacles next season.

It's brilliant to ride a winner for his owner, Stephen O'Connor, as he sponsors me, is the Master of the Ward Union Hunt and was one of Gordon's first owners in the yard, before he had even started training! We all go a long, long way back.

Stephen's father, Philip, sadly passed away last week so I hope the win was a bit of a lift for him and his family.

Tiger Ready To Roll

Tiger Roll will go for the Boyne Hurdle this weekend all going well and hopefully he can show his spark again at the racecourse.

We've been happy with him at home, we jumped a few of fences on the cross country track at Punchestown last week and he was as good as ever over them. This is his time of the year and we hope that he shows a lot more life than he did last time out.

You just never fully know though so we'll have to just wait and see what happens. Hopefully the rain stays away and the ground isn't too heavy as Tiger Roll doesn't want conditions to be too bad anyway as we know!

He's as ready as he can be though and we're all looking forward to it.

Twitter Q & A

RubyTuesday (@Ruby_Tuesday59) asked: With Delta Work out will they consider supplementing The Storyteller to the Gold Cup field?

I don't think so. The plan has always been the Stayers Hurdle and I can't imagine Gordon and the owners will change at this point. As I've said before many times, Gordon knows best with these decisions and whatever he decides is the right call usually!

Chris Bowman (@thaBowmanator) asked: What is your dark horse for Cheltenham?

This is a tough question Chris, but from a win point of view I'd be leaning towards Escaria Ten wherever he shows up. He has a few entries and as Gordon has said the National Hunt Chase is probably where he'll go. Time will tell though and I'd be a big fan of his in whatever race he shows up in.

Stuart Akister (@StuartAkister) asked: If he could ride any horse outside of Gordon Elliott's or Matthew Smiths' yards at Cheltenham 2021, who would it be?

Definitely Monkfish, Stuart. As I said last week I'm a huge fan and he blew me away at Leopardstown. He's one of the horses going into Cheltenham its very hard to see beaten.

Joe Bone (@josefbone) asked: Thoughts on Torygraph and where he might go at the festival?

Obviously Gigginstown and Gordon will decide, but I don't see any reason why he wouldn't go for the Albert Bartlett. His form is good and he's a proper stayer. He looks made for that race really.

Lloyd Murphy (@lloyd_murphy) asked: Feel My Pulse, are we likely to ever see him race? I know you mentioned previously he is very fragile.

He's been hard to keep sound, Lloyd and we haven't got any sort of a run at home with him. Hopefully he might appear later on in the year if he can stay right.

ArchieWilkinson (@_awilkinson) asked: Any chance Ballyadam could be stepped up in trip for the Ballymore? His jumping will surely be put under pressure in a fast run Supreme. #AskKeith.

I don't see that happening, Archie. Better ground will help him jump a lot better and he is such a quick horse I don't see any need to step him up in trip anytime soon anyway!

Rob Scott (@robscott121114) asked: Does he think Envoi Allen would beat Monkfish over 3 miles at Punchestown!!

Yes, Rob, I do. As much as I'm a massive Monkfish fan, Envoi Allen is the best horse I've ever had the pleasure of sitting on at home and that's even taking into account the likes of Don Cossack etc. He's just very special, but Monkfish will be one massive task when they do clash.

Jay Dutton (@JayLfc94) asked: In your own opinion is 151 too high for The Bosses Oscar to be winning a race like the Pertemps, or do you think he is currently or likely to be close to a grade 1 horse in the future? #AskKeith

This is a good question, Jay, and it's hard to know really. I wouldn't ever have said that he was a Grade One horse and you nearly have to be to win the Pertemps off that kind of mark. He's a good horse though so we'll just have to wait and see. Off this mark I'd still expect a very big run don't get me wrong, but I'd wonder if he is a bit vulnerable so high in the weights as you say.

@todd10068 asked: Do you think Fakiera will make a nice chaser next year? Could he be an ideal candidate for the National hunt chase next season

Yes I agree with this. In all his runs so far he just looks like he stays and stays, and he will only get better jumping fences. That is the ideal characteristic for a National Hunt Chase horse, but we think a lot of Fakiera so he could well prove himself top class over 3 miles as well.

Sam Harley (@Sharley1995) asked: How is Sir Gerhard's prep going for the Champion Bumper?

He's very well, Sam. Mark Foley rides him a lot at home and he's very happy with him. His work will really start building up now and he's one to really look forward to. Kilcruit was visually very impressive at Leopardstown and he is obviously the one to beat, but I'd like to see that performance again as the horses in front might just have stopped. He was unbelievably impressive either way. We think a lot of Sir Gerhard and we are really looking forward to Cheltenham in a few weeks time.

TheRacingGuide (@NHRacingGuide) asked: Hi Keith, can you tell us what the plan Is for column of fire? Would the coral cup be the aim or will he be entered in a Pertemps qualifier? #AskKeith

Column Of Fire is well, but his reappearance was disappointing overall really and he has to come on from that. He has to qualify for the Pertemps yet, so it's hard to say at the minute where his target lies. He's a nice horse though and if he was to bounce back he could go well in any of the handicaps you mentioned really.

Eoghan Burke (@EoghanBurke2) asked: When will Glenglass run? Any nice pointers bought that haven’t ran?

I'd imagine you'll see Glenglass at one of the Spring Festivals, Eoghan. Of the others, Classic Getaway won a point to point and was bought by Cheveley Park Stud. He's a really nice horse and I'm looking forward to seeing him at the course.

Ryang (@ryangethins) asked: Is Riviere D'etel well handicapped for the boodles? #askkeith

I think she is, Ryan. That was a big run when you look back now at Navan and the winner, Thedevilscoachman, has obviously backed that up since. She was running against older horses that day too so she should find it a lot easier back in her own grade. She has a few entries so we'll have to see what the owners and Gordon decide, but I'd like her myself were she to go for a Boodles.

Sean Tanner (@seantanner1997) asked: Is conflated ok after being withdrawn the last day with colic? Will he go to Cheltenham?.

Conflated is fine, Sean. He had Colic which is never good, but he seems to have got over it and is back in work. At the minute I'd be hopeful he'll end up in Cheltenham, but with this kind of thing you can only wait and see what happens!

Adam (@OB_14) asked: What horses are likely to go for the NHC? Surely all 4 of Galvin, Coko Beach, Escaria Ten & Pencilfulloflead dont all go? Won’t Escaria Ten be aimed at the Ultima?

They all could go, Adam. I'd imagine Galvin and Pencilfulloflead are fully booked in for it, and I think myself Escaria Ten might end up there as well, but obviously the owners and Gordon will fully decide on that, and I haven't heard any plans there. If any of them are to be held back it might be Coko Beach as he does look made for the Irish National.

As I said though, Gordon will decide this and he rarely gets it wrong!

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Keith Donoghue is one of the top National Hunt jockeys in the world, famed for his partnership with Tiger Roll winning two Cross Country Chases at the Cheltenham Festival. Keith also boasts a Grade 1 winner over fences, and is a great writer to boot. Keith covered the day to day of being a jockey in his weekly blog exclusive to Bookmakers.

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