Tiger Roll gives Gordon Elliott an opening day hat-trick
Lisa O’Neill and 16-1 shot round off a stunning opening day at Cheltenham for Elliott
Lisa O’Neill and Tiger Roll gave Gordon Elliott an opening day hat-trick at Cheltenham. Photograph: David Davies/PA
Following on from the earlier victories of Labaik and Apple’s Jade, Gordon Elliott completed a famous Cheltenham treble with Tiger Roll in the JT McNamara National Hunt Chase.
Winner of the Triumph Hurdle over two miles in 2014, the Gigginstown House Stud-owned gelding was sent off at 16-1 for this four-mile test.
The seven-year-old was pulling rider Lisa O’Neill’s arms out running down the hill and picked up from the home turn for a ready three-length success.
Missed Approach was second ahead of Haymount in third.
O’Neill said: “It’s surreal, to be honest. It’s an overwhelming feeling.
“I was just hoping up the hill that there was nothing there to pass me.
“It’s a good team effort and it’s absolutely brilliant.”
Elliott said of the jockey: “She’s decent and is an absolute star.
“She pre-trains our horses and does everything for us.
Elliott added of the winner: “I knew after three fences he was on a going day.
“He’s a Triumph Hurdle winner and he’s won here twice. He’s never been moving so well at home.
“I can’t believe it. To train three winners on the first day of Cheltenham. I thought if I had one this year I’d be delighted. It’s a credit to the staff I have at home and the owners and the horses. It’s brilliant.”
Earlier Un Temps Pour Tout bravely won back-to-back renewals of the Ultima Handicap Chase at Cheltenham.
David Pipe’s inmate fought back like a seriously tough beast to get the measure of 5-1 favourite Singlefarmpayment after a pulse-chasing finish.
A photo-finish was called, but Tom Scudamore”s partner, who was saddled with top weight, had just enough in reserve when it mattered.
Pipe said of the 9-1 winner: “I’m absolutely thrilled and Tom has given him an amazing ride.
“It was a great performance from the horse under top weight and it was a tougher race than last year, I thought.
“He found a lot under pressure, he’s not very big but he finds a lot and he’s a good horse on a going day.”
Scudamore said: “Pipe’s a genius, nothing more needs to be said.
“He’s a different horse in the spring and he loves the hill. I knew halfway up the run-in I’d win, he’s so tough.
“I’m so pleased for everyone.”
Un Temps Pour Tout’s winning distance was a short head, with Noble Endeavor and Buywise third and fourth respectively.
Pipe added: “We fancied him in the Hennessy and he didn’t perform that day.
“You could tell from an early stage he was going to run a big race.
“He’s very gutsy. He’s some horse.”
And in the day’s final race Tully East was an 8-1 winner of the Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap Chase.
Alan Fleming’s charge was produced with a well-timed challenge by Denis O’Regan and galloped all the way to the line to beat Gold Present into second.
Two Taffs was third and Powersbomb was fourth.