Racing

"He thinks he's better than everybody else" | Donoghue explains Tiger Roll's swagger

Jake O'Donnell
Jake O'Donnell

19:07 14 Feb 2020

Fresh off the news of Tiger Roll's likely entry in this year's Aintree Grand National, jockey Keith Donoghue joined Friday Night Racing to give his unique insight into racing's horse of the moment. 

Donoghue works full-time in Gordon Elliott's yard with the two-time Grand National winner who now looks set to defend his title at Aintree if he comes through this weekend's run at Navan and the Cheltenham Festival.

Donoghue will also ride Tiger Roll out at Sunday's Boyne Hurdle in what is likely to be the horse's final race in Ireland.

It will be the 10-year-old's first run since suffering a chipped bone in his joint, with the Michael O'Leary-owned horse only returning to riding at the start of January.

Admitting that the injury was a set back to his plans, Donoghue noted that Tiger Roll will have to make up ground quickly to get back to the level he was at last year.

"He's probably not as fit as he was coming into this race last year and he hasn't been away from home yet either. But he's ready to start off and it will be a nice start I think.

"He's coming, we know he's not there yet. He is coming though."

Asked what Tiger Roll is like working with in the yard, Donoghue explained that the five-time winner at Cheltenham knows he is a superstar. Although he may not be the best horse in the yard "by a long way out", Donoghue detailed that it doesn't stop Tiger Roll from acting like he is.

"He knows he's good. When he's starting to come to form come March and April he will be bucking and plunging and knocking rails down at the gallops. He would probably never be a great workhorse but you just know him that when he is in good form, he is good.

"The only thing about Tiger Roll is he thinks he's better than everybody else. There's a bit of Ronaldo about him. There is a bit of class, a bit of swagger."

While it's not yet known what shape Tiger Roll will be in this year, Donoghue explained this weekend's race will go some way to indicating whether he can compete again at the Grand National.

"You never know until he gets back onto the track how he is going to perform and he has come in and out of form before, so you just don't know.

"You could find out on Sunday or you could find out in Cheltenham if he is not sparking. If he's not sparking on Sunday or at Cheltenham it's probably doubtful he'd go for a Grand National.

However, Donoghue is confident that Tiger Roll will go for history by attempting to make it three-in-a-row at Aintree this year.

"He's not showing any signs of not sparking, so there should be no problem there," he concluded.

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