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O'Leary dismisses Tiger retirement talk with Grand National still the aim

  • Eddie O'Leary has dismissed the chances of Tiger Roll being retired before the spring
  • Tiger Roll was removed from the Cheltenham Festival betting after being pulled up on Friday
  • O'Leary told the press that his two-time Grand National winner will be retired "when Tiger Roll tells us he wants to retire"
tiger roll
Robbie Power riding Tiger Roll after being pulled up in The Glenfarclas Cross Country Handicap Chase. (Getty)

Gigginstown Studd boss, Eddie O'Leary has talked down the chances of Tiger Roll being retired immediately, despite being pulled up at Cheltenham's Showcase Meeting.

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Bookmakers removed Tiger Roll from the Cheltenham Festival betting on Friday, after the two-time Grand National hero put in a shocking performance in the Cross Country Handicap.

Robbie Power's mount sweated up before the race, and made a real hash of the opening couple of obstacles. After trying to get his mount to pick up the bit for the best part of a mile, Power finally gave up the ghost at the half-way stage, pulling Gordon Elliott's star up.

That was the first time since the 2017 Irish Grand National that Tiger Roll had failed to complete a race. Naturally, the airwaves were abuzz with rumours that the four-time Cheltenham Festival hero would be retired straight away, and Gordon Elliott did little to quell those whispers when he spoke to the press straight after the race.

Eddie O'Leary, the outspoken head of Gigginstown Stud, was in a far more positive mood when he addressed this issue on Tuesday.

“Tiger Roll will be retired when Tiger Roll tells us he wants to retire,” said O’Leary told the Racing Post. “He wasn’t standing still with his back to the ditch when he was let out into the field on Saturday morning.

“He was bucking and kicking and full of himself. He’s still loving life. Once he starts telling us he’s sick of it, that will be it. The horse deserves a chance to show us the spark is still there. I think we owe him that.

“If he shows us the spark is still there in those two races (Boyne Hurdle and Cross Country Chase), then I’d imagine he will run in the Grand National. If he doesn’t, he won’t.”

Following the news that Tiger Roll was in good spirits following his trip to Cheltenham, bet365 re-introduced Tiger Roll into the betting for the 2021 Cross Country, listing Elliott's charge as the 7/1 favourite behind Easysland. 

Tiger Roll remains bet365's 20/1 ante-post favourite for the 2021 Grand National too, but he'll return to action with a point-to-prove when the Boyne Hurdle rolls around in February.

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