Irish bookmaker Paddy Power estimates that Cheltenham Festival hero Tiger Roll has earned punters in the region of half a billion pounds over the course of his career.
The mega sum was revealed as the racehorse – owned by Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary – was primed to land one final blow against the bookies in the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase (4:10pm) at Cheltenham this afternoon, ahead of his anticipated retirement from racing.
To celebrate Tiger Roll being put out to pasture, the cheeky bookie sent a special delivery to Cheltenham Racecourse in the form of a GIANT retirement card, created on behalf of all the happy punters he won money for over the course of his career.
Fans will have the opportunity to say farewell to Tiger Roll by personally signing the enormous card, which stands at 10ft in height and 14ft wide, as they make their way to the track for day two of the action in the heart of the Cotswolds.
Those who can’t be there can contribute their message via Twitter (@paddypower) using the hashtag #FarewellTigerRoll.
Having been purchased as ‘an afterthought’ for £10k by trainer Gordon Elliott, Tiger Roll went on to win the Aintree Grand National twice, earned over £1.4m in prize money over the course of his career, and secured five back-to-back wins at the Cheltenham festival.
He had been due to have a crack at equalling Red Rum’s record hattrick in the English National, but a row with the UK handicapper saw owner O’Leary pull his horse out of contention for what is considered the biggest race in the world, next month.
The upshot means that his swansong will instead occur at The Cheltenham Festival this afternoon, where he bids to equal a record set by wonder mare Quevega, who made it six-in-a-row with Ruby Walsh onboard back in 2014.
Speaking about the prospect of his achievement on Quevega being equalled, record-holding Cheltenham champion jockey and Paddy Power ambassador Ruby Walsh said: “It would be great to see it. He’s a wonderful horse.
“He’s won two Grand Nationals. He’s won a Triumph Hurdle, a National Hunt Chase and now he’s trying to win his fourth Cross Country Chase. Whatever accolades have been thrown at the horse, you’d have to say his trainer deserves them every bit as much.”
A new poll commissioned by Paddy Power revealed Tiger Roll was voted Ireland’s No.1 horse when measured against racing greats like Red Rum (17%), Hurricane Fly (14%), Desert Orchid (9%), Arkle and Kauto Star (6%) and Istabraq (5%).
UK racing fans put him in the No. 2 spot with 18% of votes, behind Grand National hattrick winning racehorse, Red Rum (28%).
Paddy Power, spokesman for the Irish betting firm of the same name, said: “He might have cost us dearly over the course of his career, but it was worth every penny to see how this horse captured the hearts and imaginations of racing fans.
“The famous Cheltenham roar we heard earlier this week will sound like a whimper compared to the cheers we expect to hear when Tiger Roll comes up the famous Cheltenham hill in front.
“But I must confess, while his retirement is a bittersweet day for most, it can’t come quick enough for us bookies. So, we sent him this supersized special delivery in the hope his connections won’t have any second thoughts!”
Tiger Roll remains the firm favourite to win the Cross Country Chase at odds of 6/4 and punters are so confident the superstar racehorse will pull it off, that Paddy is offering odds of the distance he will win by when it does.