Even though the Aintree hero appeared to be travelling smoothly in the slowly-run race, he did not pick up under Keith Donoghue when the pace quickened on the turn for home and he literally climbed over the final flight.
Record-breaking rider Sir AP McCoy was among those to express disappointment in the run of Tiger Roll who has had a number of slight setbacks since winning his second successive National in 2019.
Owner Michael O’Leary has also said that Tiger Roll may swerve this year’s National – and be retired – because he believes the 11st 9lb handicap mark for the big race is unrealistic.
But trainer Gordon Elliott believes there were legitimate excuses for the disappointing run and that the 11-year-old remains on course for the cross-country race at Cheltenham.
Elliott said: “Keith said he travelled well to the third last, in horrible ground, and just got tired.
“It’s still all systems go for Cheltenham. Keith said he was happy with him, but he just got tired in the ground. He’ll be OK.
“Of course you want him to run better, but he hated that ground.”
Yet, given Tiger Roll won the Boyne Hurdle en route to Aintree history two years ago, it will not be the greatest surprise if the so-called ‘horse with the heart of a lion’ is now retired.
Support The Yorkshire Post and become a subscriber today. Your subscription will help us to continue to bring quality news to the people of Yorkshire. In return, you’ll see fewer ads on site, get free access to our app and receive exclusive members-only offers. Click HERE to subscribe.