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[00:00:01]

On the inside and then Tiger who jumped in the pool and still going well for the Russell. Then there's a moment in every horse race where things become clear. They can be at the finishing line around the last turn over the last fence, something that had happened before. All of them tell that it's destiny. So out in front of the bad magic of light leads back into the Taichiro every year there's one horse race that sparks the world's imagination, the grand master.

[00:00:33]

And in 2019, an Irish horse named Tiger Rory was centre stage last in the National Tiger Road, moving through the press, aiming to do something that hadn't been done in almost 50 years, winning the world's greatest steeplechase for a second time in a row. Don't last and gradually going to meeting the last time brilliant strategist just at this point where everything is starting to become clear in this race, if you look at Tiger Woods jockey Dave Grohl, he's pretty much motionless.

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It's as if Tiger is racing himself. All I do is I open up my fingers. I don't even have to push him to squeeze my legs and just open up the fingers. And quick things don't last. I'm just gonna race down the water until I got to. At the national level, the noise from the crowd in the home stretch is deafening. The weight of expectation from everyone connected to Tiger is heavy. The 600 million people watching the race live around the world get all that sits Asian tigers back just as DaVita's and Destiny is about to unfold.

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Tiger Roar was nine years old when he won a second grand national. His route to that point was anything but straightforward. Smooth as silk. Little Tiny got poked around the inside, but his head up of balance, you don't really need to know about Posterous to follow the story of Tiger Roar because it's the ultimate story of an underdog, an unlikely champion, or in the words of his trainer, the horse of a lifetime. I don't get a off, but this everyone of the people's horses.

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After winning two grand nations back to back, the 2020 race was cancelled due to coal. So in 2021, the dream is still alive for Tiger to do something that's never been done before and create unique sporting history by winning three grand nationals in a row Tiger Road just to recover from that long bursting effort. You're listening to Episode one of Tiger Road, The People's House, a new six part podcast series from Archie's documentary in One in Ireland. My name is Liam O'Brien and together with my colleague Michael Lawlis, we've spent the last two years following Tiger Rule and all those who've played a part in his life.

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Some you might know, some who've never spoken publicly. It's like you died and went to heaven. I think, you know, it's just phenomenal. And take a role as an it. It's incredible. I'm floating on air here.

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Tiger story begins just outside the village of Port Portland in County Tipperary, live in an apartment and you can have that.

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All right. Yeah, this is where Jerry O'Brien lives. He's the man who bred Tokoroa. Jerry is retired now, but he used to work as a vet and was always involved in horse breeding.

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The large, elegant house where Jerry lives sits at the end of a long driveway overlooking the shores of Lake Dark. Jerry lives here with his two dogs and one horse, Tiger, Raul's mother. How are you? Hey, Jerry. Michael. Great. It's a beautiful place.

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And it's where Tiger all spent the first seven months of his life and where his mother still lives.

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Richard Burton said he said those low grade clouds are squeezing my spirit like a vice. I'm out of here. He left South Wales for a California. First, it's January twenty, twenty four months before last year's Grand National was cancelled due to Colvert my IT.

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As we step into Jerry's kitchen, we see glimpses of horse racing everywhere, including lots of images of Tiger all.

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Gerry's relationship with Tiger began years before he was even born because he owned Tiger's grandmother, a horse named on air.

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His grandmother, Ninio, couldn't get her to stay in a stable, her to be out there night, winter, summer, good temperament, tough family, a very tough mind over body to, you know, so much about racehorses is about their breeding.

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All race horses today can trace their lineage back to just three stallions. In the 1796, Tiger's grandmother had a filly full of her own, a female whom Gerry named Suess rode.

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And it is she who become Tiger's mother and who's at least part responsible for his name, too, because originally I named the Swiss rolls after my mother in the sense that all our mothers were great cooks. They used to make these Swiss rolls. So I just said it might be a nice name for Tiger's mother.

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Swiss Roll was born in the year 2000, and Jerry placed her in the hands of trainer Tommy Stack, also based in coming to Tipperary.

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She was she was just an ordinary horse and she won a race of two, but she was just a normal male. She was OK in training. We had up to three years, you know, that was it.

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The last horse before Tiger all to win back to back grand nationals was a horse named Red Room. And Tommy Stack was one of the jockeys who rode Red Room to Grand National success back in the 1970s.

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People used to come up and ask me about him always. And even to this day they still like enquire about him.

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You know, it makes you feel they haven't forgotten things and things haven't forgotten. But to win something like that, I never forgotten.

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You know, put back to Swiss roll Tiger Woods mother, she raced in the flat, never jumped fences. And of the 19 times she raced, she won twice.

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When her race career ended, Swiss roll became what's known as a broodmare going on to give birth to a foal each year. Well, she always going to be a broodmare.

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Yeah, she was always going to be a Broadmarsh. She was so well made, finishes well made and everything else. She knows she's a good body and good legs and and a good head on her and everything else, you know. So to to breed something like she's bred now is something else, you know, that doesn't happen too often.

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When Swiss Roll returned home, Gerry's instincts told him that she could produce some top quality foals, Swiss rolls. She never gave up. She kept trying and trying. And I mean, if you think about it in rugby and it was one thing that the fellows that are determined in the second half don't, and this family is full of it, like, you know. Stamina, the tough and keep going, you know, will to win. They're racing to any the derby in choosing a stallion to put Suess Roland forward.

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Jerry knew that if he could add some speed into the mix and the fall could be something special, at least that was the dream. He's coming to the fore authorised. He settled in about midfield, maybe slightly worse.

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And so he got in contact with his pal Mike Buckley, who was then a manager working at Killed Yangon's stud in County Kildare, part of a global horse racing operation named Godolphin and home to some of the best racehorse stallions in the world. This one in particular.

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I caught Jerry's eight and I quite liked, authorised, authorised his midfield a little deep on the course. Just struggling to get a good racehorse might be understating it a little on the field. In 2007, authorised run in the Epsom Derby, Britain's richest horse race. It's designed for three year old horses who want be very fast.

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This is a flat race, so no jumps and it's run over a mile and a half weeks.

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Partner, a strategic prince authorises in ninth place, racing horses would hit speeds of over 40 miles an hour. And that year the winner's check was in excess of 700000 pound sterling. Previous winners of the race and killed horses like Shergar. And in 2007, all eyes in the Derby were on authoress. He was the favourite to win, and his jockey, Frankie Dettori, had failed to win the race in his previous 14 attempts at Eagle Mountain himself. Get regulatory this started after that huge authorised raced just three more times before retiring from racing to become a breeding stallion for his owners, Godolphin stallion breeding can be a very lucrative business, with top stallions earning well in excess of 100000 euros every time they get a mare into foal.

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When Jerry chose authorised as the starlin to put his mistress Swiss roll into fall, he didn't pay any fee. So make give me a full share because he made what's known as a full share deal.

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I put the mirror and stadium. People put the stadium. Well, I don't have to pay the station fee, so he wouldn't pay anything now.

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But when the fall was sold, Jerry and the stallion owners would share the proceeds whatever the fall next.

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And we divide it. So it says we have to put up the fee that's worked out for well. But I can thank you for that. You know, he was very generous about the whole thing.

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Jerry brought Swiss roll back home to Tipperary to wait out her pregnancy, which would last for 11 months before she was carrying would become Tirol that year.

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Like every year, Jerry Fed and handle Swiss Roll Daily. He talked to her, occasionally groom her and move her from paddock to paddock.

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It was just the two of them in this sport of kings or breeders can sometimes have hundreds of broodmares. Jerry O'Brien only has one Swiss roll.

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As the winter of 2009 passed into 2010, Swiss roll continued her pregnancy at home with Jerry right through until early March, when her fall was due to arrive.

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Jerry isn't set up to have a forward born at home, so he took Swiss roll to Castle Heights, stood just outside for my county cork and up the road from Michael Flatley Place. This is where Swiss roll would have fall with round the clock attention.

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Joe Hernon is the manager there, the Merfeld on the 14th of March at about four or five in the morning because I just looked it up. Paddy Roach and the Roach family do all the filing with us. She's like any other mayor. They all give signs. You know, some can get into trouble and they don't give signs. But this man was plain, ordinary and simple and follow the textbook. She went into labour maybe an hour or two before she fell and she broke her office and came the phone.

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These are the moments that breeders like Jerry anxiously wait for news that the mayor was fine and the foal was fine. Then it's to find out the gender in general calls or males make better resources, and that's what this fall was. Son of the stallion authorised and the mayor, Suess Roll.

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Feingold, he weighed in as one three five, if I remember correctly, which would have been a good, strong vote, weighing in at about nine and a half stone, the newborn tiger rule quickly got to his feet and began looking for his mother's teeth and first drink of milk.

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Then he just pulled himself together and he had a lot of quality and strength about him. He was always, always a bit different.

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Swiss rolls fall was a big colour, a kind of a reddish brown coloured body with a black mane, tail, ear edges and lower lakes. And this fall had something else that Mark Thomas white star on his forehead.

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Jerry didn't come down to see the phone for about two or three days. And I had been pressurising him, too, because we recognise that the phone was a little bit different. We found a lot of memories here and one phone is often very much like another. But you see quality. And this horse had a lovely head here, good bone, good structure. And he was always alert and he was beautifully marked.

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I remember when I went down to see him, we just had a lot of presence about him when I went into the box to see him with his mother. Just that's the first time as of all, he was I would say he was above average height.

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When you'd walk into the stable, he would look at you before he would go back to his mother. And you just ignore plenty of strength about him to you.

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Just the way it's done, the way he'd look. It was very happy within himself. You couldn't agitate him or anything like that. Great. You like charisma. Some people have gone without saying anything. And he had that local party, lord of all of his surveyed, if they came out on you got that lovely person, white star.

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After a few weeks, Jerry brought Swiss roll and her noufal back to his home on the Lake Shore in County Tipperary, where his focus was now on giving this Noufal the best start in life.

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Quartier that's just in front of the lake, more stable than forests. I just said before the Tiger Woods was kept himself and his mother there were mostly out by night. Anyway, most of the time would only come in if if the hut doesn't have a decent, stable forest, plenty of room and decent food and stuff and fresh water there.

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So what did you call Tiger? Did you call him a nickname? Hurry. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

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Having now been named Harry for the next six months, Harry grew upwards and his mother, Swiss roll began to grow outwards. She was in foal again. Jerry began working with his fall on his temperament and eating his food. Neither of those things can come easy. Sometimes it's a little and often approach, but it can pay dividends throughout the life of a thoroughbred racehorse.

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If you have a small number and you look after him and if you get their temperament right. Yeah. When they're young falls and GERB.

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And then if you feed them well, so when they go into training, they're temperamental, right, and they're good eaters.

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So you have a lot done for now as the spring of 2010 turned into summer. Jerry maintained the same routine each morning out to the field with fresh hay and feed, even though Swiss Roll and Jerry were farm companions. Hurry or fall, well, he was only figuring things out. But slow and gentle encouragement from Jerry brought him closer and closer. And as his confidence grew, Harry liked to put on a bit of a show for Jerry.

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How do we know if we go out in the evening, he'd put on a little performance here like all all of them. They all seem to do that part of that family. They're just waiting for it to come out and jump. And they are like pet lambs and like do a figure of eight or something and know. So they get, you know, plenty of individual attention and seem to like it, and I find that when they get to know you and that they'll do anything for you, they're always out there to please you.

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I find even as often it was becoming clear that the young tiger liked to do things on his own terms.

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If you took him on, try to bully and we'd lose that battle, you know. We'll have the very odd skirmish, but she just let him do his own thing and he'd do anything for you, but nothing, nothing major, but you knew that you wouldn't take him on. You could do anything with him out in the field, even it's Dunfee a whole lot. But if you're trying to push him to do something, you know, he'd do it in his own time.

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As the months progressed, Harry or Tiger, all as he'd eventually be named, continue to grow and gain confidence.

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At times, Jerry found himself having to hide behind the wall of his vegetable garden because of Jerry was spotted, the young tiger was off putting on another show on the subway.

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And I would have to hide if I was going to go hide, because if he saw me come straight down and do like, well, you know, like the lambs, you know, to go up in the air, that really hurt himself but never came to any harm here anyway.

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So from the days of Gerry standing alone in his fields with Swiss roll by his side and the young tiger running a circle of eight around him or coming to an end, these are the bittersweet times. Horse trading is an expensive business, and having retired a few years earlier, keeping Tiger role was never an option for Jerry.

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I probably if I was working at the time, I would have. Yeah, yeah. I'd have had the funds to keep him and put him in training. But no, I did it didn't it didn't enter my head at that stage now, I would have been thinking about it. All right. Walking, sure. But you just don't know where things are going to go in the horse business when there's so many permutations. You never know.

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The day when the young tiger all left his paddock at Jerry's home in Portugal was a difficult day for all three of them. Swiss roll would never meet her son again. Tiger would never meet his mother again. And Jerry was left wondering what lay ahead.

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It's not nice. I don't like to see them go. You know, they're like. They're like my dogs, you know. You just don't like anything you want to happen to them. You got just predictable. When you've only got a few, you get to know them individually really well.

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And that's when when they leave. Even after says you just don't like to see them going either.

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I know you have to make the thing pay, but there's always a lot of us, you know, traumatic when I go on the day Tiger left, Jerry's yard was the same day he was weaned from Swiss roll. Jerry leaves the weening for the phone, no longer suckles their mother to as late as possible in tune with how it would happen in the wild.

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And so in October 2010, at seven months of age and about five times heavier now than when he was born, Tiger, all was facing into the biggest transition in his young life, leaving everything and everyone he knew behind him.

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In the horse racing business, when foals are to be sold, they normally go to a place that specialises in getting horses ready for sale at public auctions. These are known as consignment cards. And the one Jeri's fall was heading for was near Trem in County Meath.

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My name is Bill Duhan from the Casterbridge consignment. My job is to resell and consign horses for other people. So basically what we do, it's like getting getting a diamond and basically polished them. So we get these foals in and we get them hand walking daily and build up their muscle and basically get their get them shining. It's like a beauty therapy for six to eight weeks.

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The things that Jerry had worked on with the young tiger, all his temperament, getting him to eat well, they were now beginning to pay off.

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It's a big change bringing a fall from a quiet stud like Jerry's into an environment where we would have maybe 20 or 30 other foals being prepared for a sale. So mentally, that's tough for them. But this horse handled it exceptionally well. So he he came straight into into a new stable and new farm, you know, new people looking after him. And he just put his head into the car and started easing, which, you know, may sound simple, but you would see other foals coming and, you know, the shouting and getting excited for weeks on end.

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This horse didn't do any of that absolutely nothing phase. And so he didn't do stress or he never got excited. Other foals you get there may cause problems. They might have, you know, sore legs are banging themselves, the bombs themselves. Again, thankfully, the tiger I checked back actually on his veterinary notes, and I don't think the vet ever even saw him. You could see how mature he was mentally and physically from an early stage.

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Horses are just like any of us. They love to be loved.

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Jerry is a very natural environment down there. The falls are outside a lot and they're out running around a lot. So he would have got very good individual care and individual attention. It's not as if he came off a big commercial stud with maybe 100 foals. You know, this was the apple of Jerry's eye. And and in fairness to Tiger, he knew to do so, you know, a seven month old foal. He was physically stronger than a lot of the falls of that age for Jerry's fall.

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It was like being in school with one of the girls. All of Cosgrove used to look after him during his fall and walk him every day.

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On his second day, he began to learn how to be walked around by somebody, just as he would in the salesroom. He'd also need to become used to people he didn't know handling and looking at him, picking up his feet, all the kind of things that potential buyers do before they decide to purchase a home for their two.

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We start we commenced hand walking basically, so they'd be fitted with a bridle and a bit for the first time.

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A bridle is what goes over the horse's head and the bit at the back of the horse's mouth helps us stay in place, attach a rope to the bridle and Tiger could now be walked around.

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A lot of these folds would know how to hand walk, and we have to kind of teach them to, you know, basically show themselves off as best they can. The tiger walk straight into it. And it very, very well. He seemed to sense he seemed to know exactly what you were doing from day one. We would then increase the hand walking on a daily basis. The more work you gave him, the better he got. He loved it.

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There was never a day that I'd want to do this or I don't want to do that. He took it all in his stride.

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After about six weeks and build one's consignment, Jared Jerry's fall was now ready for his biggest test, a public sales ring in Newmarket.

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The U.K. centre for the multi-billion pound racehorse breeding industry, and it's here that every year agents and owners gather in the hope of purchasing future racing stars.

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The decision was made then to bring him to England to participate, and probably for the reason being, he was by a so-called authorised who won the English Epsom Derby. And we just thought the science progeny might have more appeal in England rather than Ireland, now known as 975 in the sales catalogue, Tiger was under five foot and mouth to his back with his head now looking down at you. His coat was getting a little hairy, but with his black legs, white star and beige coloured body, he was in immaculate condition as he was loaded up for the next chapter of his young life.

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Today, we bring them to the sales. It's if the law, the horsebox. The tiger had left the farm here at five o'clock in the evening time and he would have got in to Newmarket about 6:00 a.m. the next morning. So it's a long trip for a young horse. And some of them, again, they may get a temperature. You know, we have to we observe the temperatures and get a vet to check them over when they arrive.

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But Tiger, thankfully, he just he just walked off the box in Newmarket and straight into the stables of Tattersall's. He didn't get excited. He put it again. He put his head in the car and he just started eating.

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For the two days before the sale, Gerry's foal was examined and looked at by potential buyers. His groom took him out for short walks, attracting lots of interest.

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This was a whole new world for the young tiger.

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Over a thousand foals were catalogued for sale over those four days, and Gerry's foal was down for sale and D3 November 26th, 2010.

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Here in front of me, I have the catalogue page of Tiger Old when he was sold as a full interesting. At the time, the mare had three foals. His withdrawal had three foals of racing age, but she hadn't bred a winner at that stage. So, you know, people would have been slightly starting to wonder, is this mare going to produce a winner or not?

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So the jury would be slightly out the catalogue page for each fall for sale lists their parents, grandparents and great grandparents. In Tiger's case, it showed something which was a little unusual back then, that both his mother and father shared the same grandfather, a stallion named Sadlers Wells, such as Wells, was the greatest player I've ever seen.

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It's basically having the best that you can get.

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You know, Gerry O'Brien had travelled over for the sale to see what everyone would make of his film.

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I don't go to any sales. I wouldn't be very of the what would be happening where the bids were coming from wouldn't be clued into it. But it was much admired. You know, it was very well for. And everybody everybody it was a very nice for, you know, a lot of fun, you know, lots of I don't know how many hundreds of them out there that week, but he stood out his own way.

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Fall sales on the day went anything from a fall, not selling to north of 300000 pound sterling. The question was, how would Jerry's fall fero?

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Seventy five percent of all. Yes, the brother.

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This is a recording of the actual sale of Tiger Room as an eight and a half month old fall.

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Well, Ron, individually, I'm proud that the son of authorised. Right. Give me a sovereign. Come on, give me one here. Come on, give me one. Give me thirty or forty four. I've got a ten.

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I got I got my name is John O'Kelley of one of the auctioneers at Tattersall's and Tiger Rule came into my life by way of the December sales 2010 and I had the pleasure of selling them.

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I don't know what you do is a bit not what you want to do. What are you, 40 to 45? 45. I got no problem. I know what you know. I don't know.

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Well, all I could do is refer to my notes and on my notes on the side, I'd written a well grown individual, which is funny as he's quite a small horse now, a handsome with a very proud step. And the other aspect which I found of I know which I find extraordinary, was that two interested parties that when you go round of the earnings to full sales, you're always keeping an eye on who might be interested in the horse.

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And I wrote two names down on one of them was Eddie O'Leary. And it's extraordinary to my mind, and I'm not sure that Eddie realises that maybe passing interest, but his story, to my mind, all those years later, he ended up in the ownership of the O'Leary family.

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I be a wonderful walk up there in the upper atmosphere, just as Tiger did everything that Gerry could have hoped for, working calmly and confidently around the ring before the hammer came down, I don't know.

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Sixty six thousand Muslim then I don't need sixty six thousand and sold in the gate at sixty eight. Seventy thousand seventy five we got there. I don't appreciate that he's gone now. I don't even want to get now company year old. I'm finished around about seventy dollars and all done now. I don't need seventy thousand last time John. The 70000, they get sold for 70000 guineas, about 85000 euros, this was considered a fair price. And the man who bought Tiger was John Ferguson, an agent acting on behalf of Godolphin, the biggest racehorse operation in the world, which is owned by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, one of the richest rulers in the Middle East.

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And it would be years before Tiger would make sporting history. But right now, Tiger's journey was not going to work out as his new owner had hoped.

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If you're going to be stable when he was tied up and say, for instance, you tripped over your bucket or anything, he would run backwards, break the string and panic. And that's where we're going in episode two of Tiger Roll the People's Horse. Tiger, All the people's horse was written, recorded and produced by Michael Lawless, Tim Desmond and myself, Limor Brian.

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Sound Design by Damien Schnell. Production assistance from the Auti documentary in one team and a special thanks to all our contributors and to the auto design, marketing and creative audio departments. For further information on the series, visit Aute Durry Forward Slash Roll. Thanks for listening.