Cheltenham Festival: Tiger Roll wins the JCB Triumph Hurdle as Ruby Walsh takes heavy fall
Last Updated: 14/03/14 2:38pm
Tiger Roll: Won the Triumph Hurdle
Tiger Roll won the JCB Triumph Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival for Gordon Elliott and Davy Russell.
Runner-up to Guitar Pete last time on just his second start over hurdles, Elliott was confident that his juvenile could reverse the form with his more experienced rival and the son of Authorized didn't disappoint.
There was early drama as Abbyssial and Ruby Walsh took a crashing fall and suffered a suspected broken wrist, bringing down stablemate Adriana Des Mottes, and there was drama at the finish as Daryl Jacob had to ride the last two furlongs aboard the favourite Calipto without his stirrups after a leather snapped and they could only stay on into fourth.
Ahead of the unbalanced Jacob, Tiger Roll was making the best of his way home alongside the stands rail to oblige by three and a quarter lengths at 10/1.
Kentucky Hyden was in second, outrunning better fancied stablemate Royal Irish Hussar, with Guitar Pete third.
Tiger Roll made his debut at Market Rasen for Nigel Hawke, after which Gigginstown snapped him up. On his first run for Elliott he was second to Guitar Pete in Grade One company, but Elliott had said all along he was not afraid of taking on that rival again and he turned the form around in no uncertain terms.
It was vindication for Russell, who lost his job as number one rider for Gigginstown halfway through the season.
Russell said: "I had a couple of OK rides coming in and obviously I picked up this due to Bryan's (Cooper) injury. Gordon has done a marvellous job with this horse.
"It's only a third start in his career. He never ran on the Flat. Gordon had him on the button. Life will throw plenty of things at you. There's been a lot worse happen to other people. What happened to me (losing number one position at Gigginstown) it's just life."
Winning owner Michael O'Leary said: "It's wonderful. I'm delighted for Gordon Elliott. He's a brilliant trainer. He's been having a tough week as well. It's lovely to get one on the board, even if we had to wait until the last day."
Elliott said: "It's a dream come true. We've hit the crosssbar all week, but I feel sorry for Bryan Cooper and I'm delighted for Davy because he's always very lucky when he rides for me.
"I was a bit nervous early as he was keen, but he's won and I'm delighted. We'll look at Punchestown but I'll talk with Michael and Eddie (O'Leary) and see."
Paul Nicholls was left to rue his luck with Calipto, saying: "It's just the way the week's gone, the leather snapped and it was a simple as that. He nearly got brought down when Ruby's horse fell and whether something happened then, I don't know.
"The leather snapped coming to the second-last and that was that. It's unbelievable. He's a super horse and will be a lovely runner next year. We have to look forward not back now."
Dessie Hughes, trainer of third home Guitar Pete, said: "He has run a good race. The winner was second to us at Leopardstown but he seemed to have improved a fair bit. I'm sure he'll go to Punchestown."
Tiger Roll and Calipto were both given quotes of 25/1 for the 2015 Champion Hurdle by Sky Bet whose Racing PR Manager Michael Shinners said: "Tiger Roll was very impressive and is a fascinating long-term prospect while Calipto will surely gain compensation for his luckless run here at some stage."