Tiger Roll is all set to race this weekend at Aintree where the veteran eleven-year-old has won the last two Grand National races, 2018/19; unfortunately the sensational Irish-trained ‘pocket rocket’ will not be attempting a hat-trick in the ‘Worlds’ Greatest Horserace’ on Saturday due to extremely bizarre circumstances which millions of once-a-year punters will not be aware of as they obviously do not follow horse-racing avidly.
Former trainer Gordon Elliott was suspended for six months, just before the Cheltenham Festival last month, when a ‘private’ photo went viral to media sources showing him sitting on a dead horse!
There was an outcry, you’d have thought World War three had been announced and owner of Tiger Roll, the boss of Ryanair Travel, Michael O’Leary, reacted ludicrously by stating he would stand by Elliott but, ironically and unbelievably, decided to withdraw Tiger Roll from the ‘National’ declarations, in a stance of unity.
It’s amazing what stupidity surfaces in so many of us when our routines are compromised unexpectedly; I’ve done some daft things, which have indeed impacted on others in the horse-racing world, but none which compare to denying millions ‘World-wide’ the opportunity to see a ‘National treasure’ in action for no good reason whatsoever.
What Elliott did was indeed foolish, not a criminal act but the wholesale furore universally represented a colossal over-reaction; in the final analysis Gordon’s license was transferred to Mrs Denise Foster who will hold the reins at Liverpool and until the early Autumn.
Several so-called ‘famous fashionables’ were guilty of a ‘stance’ amounting to support for the ‘paragon of virtue brigade’ but nothing surprises this veteran anymore, absolutely nothing.
Hopefully we can all put the ridiculous much-chronicled episode into the background and cheer on the ‘home guard’ against the might of another Irish challenge, so successful on Prestbury Park last month when Tiger Roll won the ‘cross country’ by EIGHTEEN LENGTHS!.
That’s tomorrow, in the meantime we have an intriguing Newcastle tapeta fixture to scrutinise; all-weather racing is my speciality and the bulk of naps will be confined to action on artificial surfaces at six dedicated venues.
Gosforth Park is, apparently, riding ‘slow to standard’ according to reports but they are somewhat fallacious and misleading; for what it’s worth, none of them is quick!
On the fairest and most demanding track imaginable twice-raced Mark Johnston-trained Khezaana has an excellent chance in a five-runner Novice Stakes over ten furlongs; Jason Hart’s mount is top-rated on my time-handicap, before ‘building in’ a 5lbs sex allowance, and what beats this Muhaarar filly will win!
Earlier Lingfield stages an eight race programme during which Seagull’s Nest, advantaged by filles and maiden allowances will not be a surprise if causing one in the eight-runner Novice Stakes over ten furlongs.
Selections, Lingfield, 2.00 Seagull’s Nest (e.w); Nottingham, 2.10 Ebnzaidoon (e.w); Newcastle, 5.15 Khezaana.
Footnote: an extremely famous one-time multi-champ[ion jockey was asked about Gordon sitting on a dead horse and rerplied, ‘yeah I know the feeling, I’ve sat on a few!’
Jeffrey Ross, horse-racing correspondent for WMN since 1983 when winning the most prestigious racing journalist award, Sporting Life Naps Table, before winning it a record number of six times collectively in the Racing Post, the current ‘trade’ paper, including 2019