insists it’s still ‘all systems go’ for Cheltenham with Tiger Roll after the
two-time Grand National hero finished last of six runners in the Ladbrokes
Ireland Boyne Hurdle at Navan, writes Will Jennings.
Noel Meade’s Beacon Edge toppled Elliott’s Fury Road in a thriller but Tiger Roll, who memorably won the race for Cullentra in 2019, tired at the end with jockey Keith Donoghue on board.
Elliott’s 11-year-old struggled with the heavy ground in County Meath and despite travelling smoothly throughout, faltered at the final few fences to trail the rest of the field.
Gigginstown House Stud did have reason to celebrate, however, as Meade’s star Beacon Edge – ridden by Sean Flanagan – pipped pre-race favourite Fury Road on the line in a pulsating finale.
Tiger Roll was pulled up in his previous encounter at Cheltenham but Elliott, who did rack up four winners on Sunday including Coko Beach and Frontal Assault in Graded company, says he’s still pressing on with his Prestbury Park plans.
Upbeat Elliott, 42, said: “It’s still all systems go for Cheltenham. Keith said he was happy with him, but he just got tired in the ground. He’ll be OK.
“Keith said he travelled well to the third last, in horrible ground, and just got tired.
“Of course you want him to run better, but he hated that ground."
Tiger Roll remained in contention for much of the 2m5f contest but tired at the third-last as Beacon Edge and Fury Road, ridden by Jack Kennedy, duelled it out at the front.
Kennedy looked in pole position to clinch the Sunday showpiece but Beacon Edge, who finished third at Naas last time out, narrowly reeled him in with Flanagan on board.
And that marked one of three Gigginstown triumphs on Boyne Hurdle Day as Coko Beach and Frontal Assault notched wins for Elliott in their Graded races.
Thyestes Chase hero Coko Beach triumphed in the Grade 2 Ladbrokes Watch Racing Online For Free Ten Up Novice Chase to get Cullentra’s day off to a flyer while Frontal Assault, also ridden by Kennedy, followed suit in the Grade 3 Surehaul Mercedes-Benz
Coko Beach beat Barry Connell’s Espanito Bello by four lengths in the day’s opening contest while Frontal Assault won a tighter affair against Sam Curling’s Angels Dawn.
And Elliott wasn’t finished there, as Fierami and Ginto won the day’s final two contests to mean the 31-time Cheltenham Festival winner swept up half the Sunday card.
Young jockey Jordan Gainford steered unfancied Fierami to Ladbrokes Committed To Safer Gambling Handicap Hurdle victory while at the other end of the spectrum, evergreen Jamie Codd piloted Ginto to glory in the Flower Hill (Pro/Am) INH Flat Race.
Elliott was the day’s most prolific trainer but Denis Hogan got on the board after a quite remarkable ride from Hugh Morgan in the Racing Again March 6th Handicap Chase.
On board Young Dev, Morgan lost his irons after just a single fence but completed an extraordinary display of horsemanship to beat the widely-fancied Se Mo Laoch and Dubai Devils.
The young rider, 25, broke his right stirrup before the second fence but miraculously stayed on board and surged to a truly staggering victory.
Ruby Walsh hailed Morgan for showing ‘horsemanship at its absolute best’ and while the 5lbs claimer revelled in his triumph, he admits he’s dreading getting out of bed in the morning.
“My right stirrup broke after the first and I kicked it out,” he recalled. “He had run plenty of times so I said I might as well keep going.
“It took a bit of getting used to going down to the fences without them and I just left him to sort himself out and give him a squeeze.
“It was great - it was something new anyway! It's my first ride for Denis so it's very important to get a win.
“I'm grand at the minute but I'd say I'll be sore in the morning!”
Morgan is based with Henry de Bromhead and the County Waterford trainer also got on the scoresheet with Atlantic Fairy.
Ridden by partner in crime Rachael Blackmore, De Bromhead’s seven-year-old beat Global Equity by one and three quarter lengths in the Listed Apple's Jade Mares Novice Hurdle.
Elsewhere, Alko Rouge triumphed in the Navan Members Maiden Hurdle for 2020 Savills Chase-winning jockey Darragh O’Keeffe and trainer Tom Gibney.