Thursday 8 December 2016

Blue is the colour for National expert Mouse in Kerry

Johnny Ward

Published 14/09/2016 | 02:30

Mouse Morris. Photo: Barry Cregg/Sportsfile
Mouse Morris. Photo: Barry Cregg/Sportsfile

When it comes to training one with a target in mind, there is hardly one more adept than Mouse Morris.

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It has been a terrific year for the Galwegian, with Rule The World snaring the Aintree National and Rogue Angel adding the Irish National to the yearly list of honours for the yard and Gigginstown House Stud. The axis might have won the Scottish National but for some misfortune.

Ridden by Andrew Ring on that Ayr afternoon, Folsom Blue was travelling kindly six out when brought down and his jumping had been easier on the eye than has been the case in the past. Given his abundant stamina, Morris reckoned the horse may well have won.

He was last seen finishing placed in a staying contest at Punchestown, having managed a fourth to his stablemate in the Irish National. He is perfectly good after a break and his low weight in today's Guinness Kerry National will be a major help as he is not the biggest of chasers.

Folsom Blue has had back problems but seemingly all is well, with Gigginstown's main rider Bryan Cooper taking the mount in the €175,000 contest, which is especially competitive this year. Indeed, seven of the field are out of the handicap.

One to consider at bigger prices is Mad Brian. Given his form since his Troytown second in 2013 he is risky, but well-handicapped if Gillian Callaghan can restore him to his best.

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The Ballygarry House Hotel Novice Hurdle is a good contest. The key to Oathkeeper's chance here may be the distance: over a half a mile shorter at Galway he seemed a little bit out of his comfort zone and he won a staying bumper too.

Bobby Jean is a sporting nap in the Seamus Mulvaney Handicap, which is sponsored by one of the veterans of the betting ring. This Jeremy filly will relish conditions, has a good record fresh and was beaten three parts of a length off a 7lb higher mark last year. She was put in at 10/1 in the early betting.

The feature Lartigue Hurdle yesterday had the appeal of a race in which almost any result was possible, yet it produced a ludicrously easy winner in Swamp Fox. An 11-length rout under David Mullins, winner of the National on Rule The World, had trainer Joe Murphy dreaming of Cheltenham.

He said: "I thought that he would need the run as he had a difficult preparation and he's such a lazy horse. He's always been consistent and has a big heart.

"He could go for the Cesarewitch. I'd like to run him at Cheltenham in November. It's always our dream to have a Cheltenham horse; maybe he's it."

A bumper crowd descended on the beach at Laytown, where a curious aspect of the day was Jamie Osborne running a half-dozen, each of which was backed in the market to some degree.

Osborne had two seconds and a third to show for his travels until hot favourite Room Key landed the finale under Kate Harrington. "It's been a great day, smashing fun for my owners and I," he said.

Irish Independent

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