Wednesday 28 September 2016

Mullins rules the world

'The last few weeks have been like a Disney story' for trainer Morris

Nick Robson

Published 10/04/2016 | 02:30

David Mullins riding Rule The World celebrates winning the Crabbie’s Grand National at Aintree yesterday. Photo: Michael Steele
David Mullins riding Rule The World celebrates winning the Crabbie’s Grand National at Aintree yesterday. Photo: Michael Steele

Few trainers can boast a win in the Cheltenham Gold Cup and Grand National on their CV but Mouse Morris is now a signed-up member to that elite club after Rule The World gave him an emotional victory in the Aintree showpiece.

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In what has been a testing 12 months for the popular handler following the tragic death of his son, Christopher, last summer, the nine-year-old delivered him a triumph that had eluded him since sending out his first runner in the race more than 30 years ago - and in the process broke his maiden status over fences.

"He's a class horse on his day, even though he was a maiden over fences coming into this," said Morris, who landed the Irish equivalent last month with Rogue Angel. "The last few weeks have been a bit like a Disney story. I just can't believe it.

"With half a mile to go I was going to be happy with third, but somebody was obviously looking down on us again.

"I didn't want to ask (Christopher) twice, having already won an Irish National. I thought we'd used up all our luck.

"But he must be an iron horse to win a Grand National after his injuries. He's fractured his pelvis twice. Before that I always thought he was the best horse I ever had, how good would he be with a proper rear end on him?

Winning owner Michael O'Leary crowned what has been a phenomenal few weeks having tasted success in last month's Cheltenham Gold Cup with Don Cossack.

"This is the cream on top," said O'Leary. "I don't know what to feel, I'm numb. I thought I had no chance in it, I wanted to win a Gold Cup and it was beyond dreams that I could win a Grand National."

Prominently positioned throughout the extended four-and-a-quarter-mile contest by teenager David Mullins on his first National ride, the Grade Two-winning hurdler seemed to take a distinct liking to the unique fences.

The 19-year-old jockey crowned an incredible day when he completed a double aboard the Willie Mullins-trained Ivan Grozny in the concluding handicap hurdle. "It's unbelievable. I just couldn't expect things to have gone better," he said. "There was one little mishap at the fourth-last, but thank god I came out (the other side). Everything went to plan really."

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