Cheltenham crowd boo as Tiger Roll pipped in farewell cross country chase

Owner Michael O'Leary hailed "horse of a lifetime" Tiger Roll after his gallant final Cheltenham Festival run.

Chasing his sixth triumph at the meeting, the 12-year-old, one of the greats of National Hunt racing, gave his all at his favourite course. Fans were in full voice as he hit the front, on ground softer than ideal – and they sensed another memorable victory on day two of the 2022 edition

But stablemate Delta Work was the one to spoil the party, overhauling the legend up the run-in by three-quarters-of-a-length. After being excited at the prospect of another Tiger Roll win, racegoers booed the result after the principals crossed the line.

Despite also being the owner of Delta Work, an emotional O’Leary said: “I really would have loved to see Tiger go out on a win. It’s hard not be disappointed. You’ve a winner at Cheltenham and I’m disappointed.

“It’s just a magical fairytale on ground that doesn’t suit him. He’s gone out on his shield, he’s a warrior and that’s a Gold Cup horse that has beat him and only just on ground he wouldn’t like. I’m actually upset – I would have loved to see him win it.” He added: “This is his send-off – he owes us nothing. He’s been wonderful to come back here for the six, seven, eight years.

“He’s been the horse of a lifetime and in many ways Cheltenham has been his spiritual home. He’s won five times here in Cheltenham. I know he’s won two Grand Nationals, but he started here in Cheltenham. To start off winning the Triumph Hurdle here as a four-year-old, then win the National Hunt Chase and three cross-country races, it’s incredible. He’s a legend.”

Tiger Roll won back-to-back Grand National titles for trainer Gordon Elliott in 2018 and 2019. As well as his impressive Aintree record, the veteran chaser will be regarded as one of the greatest Cheltenham runners, having won an impressive five Festival titles throughout his career.

Delta Work and Tiger Roll were brought into the winners enclosure together, as fans watched the equine hero be unsaddled at the racecourse for the final time.

In 44 races, Tiger Roll won 13 times, earning connections just over £1.4million in prize money.

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