The fairytale ending was to not be. Tiger Roll couldn’t log out his fabulous profession with victory within the Glenfarclas Cross Nation Chase at Cheltenham, but he went out on his protect in usually, totally valiant style, with a gallant second-place end behind stablemate Delta Work.
The Gordon Elliott-trained Tiger Roll, a twin Grand Nationwide winner, was trying to win the three-and-three-quarter-mile race for a fourth time and was despatched off the 3-1 second-favourite.
But with the bottom formally modified to heavy after the Betway Queen Mom Champion Chase, the possibilities of emulating Quevega’s report six Cheltenham Pageant victories diminished with each drop of rain.
The Aintree and Cheltenham nice, who was having the forty fifth and last run of a profession which began in 2014 and earned proprietor Michael O’Leary over £1.4 million in prize-money, did not learn the script, nevertheless.
Davy Russell’s mount was travelling so nicely when taking it up on the twenty fourth of the 32 fences and the 12-year-old former Triumph Hurdle winner regarded to briefly have the 5-2 market chief in hassle leaping the second-last.
However Delta Work, on his first attempt over the cross-country fences, was all the time shut sufficient below Jack Kennedy, and slowly, with each stride, inched nearer and finally put his head in entrance 200 yards from the road to go rating by three-quarters of a size. Plan Of Assault was an additional 21 lengths additional again in third.
To an almighty cheer, each Each Delta Work and Tiger Roll have been led in collectively.
An emotional O’Leary stated: “I actually would have liked to see Tiger exit on a win. It is arduous not be dissatisfied. You have a winner at Cheltenham and I am dissatisfied.
“It is only a magical fairytale on floor that does not go well with him. He is gone out on his protect, he is a warrior and that is a Gold Cup horse that has beat him and solely simply on floor he would not like.
“I am really upset – I might have liked to see him win it.”
He added: “That is his send-off – he owes us nothing. He is been great to come back again right here for the six, seven, eight years.
“He is been the horse of a lifetime and in some ways Cheltenham has been his religious dwelling. He is gained 5 occasions right here in Cheltenham. I do know he is gained two Grand Nationals, however he began right here in Cheltenham.
“To begin off successful the Triumph Hurdle right here as a four-year-old, then win the Nationwide Hunt Chase and three cross-country races, it is unimaginable.
“He is a legend.”
There have been boos from the gang as Delta Work handed the road in entrance, however Kennedy stated: “It is comprehensible (the boos). Clearly everyone would have liked to see Tiger Roll win, however you’ll be able to’t take away from my horse both.
“I believed I used to be all the time going to get there. I knew I may very well be probably the most hated man in Cheltenham on Wednesday night if I gained.
“I am delighted to win, his education had been good. I believed the bottom can be gone for him (Tiger Roll), I used to be shocked with how nicely he was going. I suppose it was in my head that he won’t stand up the hill in addition to my lad on that floor.
“It could have been an ideal story for Tiger Roll to win.”
Reflecting on the race, Elliott stated: “After all I wished Tiger to win, however as soon as I gained the race I did not thoughts particularly as a result of it was Gigginstown who’re large supporters of Cullentra. Seeing them come into the ring (collectively) is what it is all about.
“Tiger has been the horse of a lifetime and he’ll have an excellent retirement now with Gigginstown and Michael.
“He is been with us 9 years and he’ll be inconceivable to interchange. To be sincere I had a tear in my eye on the reception he acquired, if he’d gained it could have been unbelievable however I am nonetheless delighted with him.
“Tiger has been a giant a part of my life, we love him. The response did not shock me, it was very good, however think about what it could have been like had he gained. He acquired the response he deserved. It was an ideal race and we’re very blissful.
“The bottom got here to go well with Delta Work and he’ll get pleasure from being in these races over the following few years.”