Cross Country Chase Ante-Post Odds: Back the Tiger to roar to fourth victory

Tiger Roll Cheltenham Cross Country

Tiger Roll maybe double the age of emerging Cross Country star Prengarde, but the pair are set to do battle in a fascinating renewal of the Cross Country Chase on day two of the Cheltenham Festival on March 16, and we take a look at the latest odds here...

A sensational five-times winner at the Cheltenham Festival during his illustrious career, the dual Grand National winner Tiger Roll has become synonymous with the spring festivals, and now at the tender of age of 12 years old, the Gordon Elliott-trained superstar will have another crack at notching festival glory, and he's currently the second favourite for the Cross Country Chase.

A winner in 2018, 2019 and 2021, Tiger Roll produced a rip-snorting display to romp to an 18-length victory over Easysland in last year's Cross Country Chase, and if he can turn up in anything like that form then he will be extremely tough to beat. Having shown very little when last of six in the Boyne Hurdle ahead of last year's event, Tiger Roll was doubted by several heading to the festival, but he showed his dominance over the unique course by scooting clear in the closing stages to land the hat-trick.

it's been an equally barren spell this campaign, as he was pulled up over fences in the Many Clouds Chase at Aintree, before he finished 14th of 17 in a Navan handicap hurdle. To be fair, little was expected in those two runs, and they were all going to be used as blowouts before a crack at the festival, and it's a place he can't be under-estimated.

He maybe reaching his teenage years, but Tiger Roll's ability to produce the goods at Cheltenham is astonishing, and with the buzz and razzmatazz of the Prestbury Park extravaganza sure to focus his attentions on the job in hand, and with him ultimately still being arguably the best Cross Country star around then the Tiger can roar once again.

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While Tiger Roll has the benefit of experience, the exuberance of youth will come in the shape of six-year-old French raider Prengarde, who soared to the head of the betting (5/1) after he was purchased by JP McManus in the aftermath of winning the Grand Steeple-Chase-Cross-Country de Compiegne at Compiegne. An eight-length winner of that 3m 3f contest, Prengarde cruised clear of his rivals in the closing stages which duly forced the hand of McManus, who bought him with the Cross Country in mind.

Now, most of his wins in France have come on heavy or very soft going, so he could potentially have different underfoot conditions to deal with at Cheltenham, especially with the centre of the course avoiding being watered at times, as they focus on the main track itself. There's no doubting that he has shown huge signs that he could be the next star alongside the likes of Spot Thedifference, Garde Champetre and Josies Orders, who have all carried the green and gold silks to victory in this race, but he will face a major yardstick in the shape of Tiger Roll, who may just have his measure on the French raider's first visit to Cheltenham.

A winner of the 2020 Cross Country, Easysland was sent off an Evens favourite for last year's event, but failed to land any sort of blow when finishing second to Tiger Roll. Having switched from David Cottin's yard to Jonjo O'Neill's stable at Jackdaws Castle, the eight-year-old will be eager to bounce back here, and he's around an 8/1 chance. Pulled up in a Sandown handicap hurdle last week when unfancied, O'Neill would've wanted to blow the cobwebs off him before he sends him back to Cheltenham, but it's hard to see him reversing the form with Tiger Roll, who can have his measure again.

Cottin could be represented by Ajas (10/1), who won some valuable prizes at Auteuil last season, and could make a trip over on day two of the Cheltenham Festival, while the Enda Bolger-trained Shady Operator (10/1) won the Risk Of Thunder Chase by seven lengths at Punchestown earlier in the season, and he was last seen finishing down the field alongside Tiger Roll at Navan last month.

Some contenders that have sparkled this season already at Cheltenham include Richard Bandey's Diesel D'Allier (14/1), who beat Potters Corner (20/1) at the December meeting over course and distance, while Martin Keighley's Back On The Lash (14/1) won at the November meeting, and has shown he can excel at the Gloucestershire venue.

However, while that form has to be respected, those races were both handicaps, and with the Cross Country Chase at the festival now being a non-handicap then those inferior performers will struggle to deal with a horse like Tiger Roll, who is rated significantly higher in the ratings. They are likely to run well for a long while, but when they go out on the third and final circuit they will find it tough to live with the leading fancies here, and it's Tiger Roll that can sparkle once again on the biggest stage and claim his fourth win in this race and his sixth Cheltenham Festival success.

Tiger Roll to win the Cross Country Chase
9/2
Odds correct as of 2022-02-08 13:15 Odds subject to change.
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