Tiger Cliff has been a late developer, but has then developed so rapidly that he has become one of Britain’s top stayers.
He began his four-year-old season as something of a disappointment, the winner of just an ordinary Kempton Park maiden from four career starts when trained by Sir Henry Cecil.
But he won his 2013 seasonal debut – a mile and three-quarter handicap at Newmarket on May 18 – in taking fashion and has not looked back since.
An unfortunate defeat in the Ascot Stakes at Royal Ascot, when he came from an impossible position to snatch second place, was followed by a narrow victory in Europe’s joint richest handicap, the £250,000 Betfred Ebor for his trainer Lady Jane Cecil.
His next appearance came in Europe’s other £250,000 handicap, the Betfred Cesarewitch. But, having looked the likely winner when moving into the lead with three furlongs to race, Tiger Cliff’s run petered out and he finished seventh.
Owner Henry Ponsonby then decided to send him to trainer Alan King to begin a hurdling career. However, he did not sparkle in his early days with his new handler and connections decided to give him a break and shelve the jumping option.
This policy was well rewarded on his 2014 reappearance when, making his QIPCO British Champions Series debut in the Group 2 Sky Bet Yorkshire Cup, he produced a career best effort to go down by less than a length in third behind the two favourites, Gospel Choir and Tac de Boistron. He then ran in the Henry II Stakes at Sandown Park but could only finish fifth, six lengths behind the winner, Brown Panther, on very sticky ground.
He then went to Royal Ascot but finished a well beaten fourth in the Queen Alexandra Stakes, very sadly collapsing and dying of a heart attack shortly afterwards.