Saturday 10 December 2016

Morris gives upbeat bulletin on his leading Lieutenant

Published 06/12/2011 | 05:00

MOUSE Morris is hopeful last season's Cheltenham Festival winner First Lieutenant can recover from his dismal showing in the Drinmore Novice Chase at Fairyhouse.

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Davy Russell performed miracles to stay in the saddle following the gelding's blunder at the eighth fence but, after briefly getting back into contention, he was forced to pull up.

It was initially reported after the race that he had burst a blood vessel, but Morris was keen to stress the blood was caused by the impact of hitting the fence.

"He's grand, I think it was more the bang on the head," said Morris. "He bled from his nose. There was so much I think he would have been dead if it came up from his lungs.

"It was just one of those things. I don't know why he made a mistake as he was jumping grand up until then. Maybe it was the ground, he doesn't jump as well out of soft.

"Because he hasn't really burst, I wouldn't be too worried. We'll just have to see if he runs at Christmas. I'd be loath to run him on heavy ground again."

Morris had better news of China Rock, which is due to return to action at Christmas after picking up an injury when running a big race in the Gold Cup at Cheltenham.

"China Rock will hopefully come back in the Lexus, though I wouldn't want to run him on heavy ground first time back," he said.

Meanwhile, trainer Pat Flynn has been successful in his appeal against the punishment handed out to him following Mister Music Man's run at Wexford in October.

Flynn was fined €1,000 and Mister Music Man suspended from running for 42 days after he finished 11th in the a maiden hurdle.

The stewards on the day found he had not obtained the best possible placing, but that was reversed by the appeal panel and Flynn's money was refunded and the horse's ban was overturned.

However, jockey Shay Barry's seven-day ban was upheld and the rider will be out of action on December 8, 10, 11, 15, 17, 18 and 19. The panel also ordered the forfeiture of Barry's deposit and imposed a fine of €250 towards costs.

Irish Independent

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