Rogue Angel the Irish National hero for Mouse Morris at Fairyhouse
Rogue Angel produced a tremendously game front-running performance to claim victory in the BoyleSports Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse.
The Mouse Morris-trained eight-year-old was in front from flag-fall in the hands of conditional jockey Ger Fox and some prodigious leaps on the second circuit kept up the momentum.
Fox made the best of his way home from the home turn, a move that left most of his opponents floundering, but all the while Bless The Wings appeared to be travelling ominously well in the hands of a confident Ruby Walsh.
The multiple champion jockey looked to have timed his challenge to perfection as Bless The Wings hit the front on landing over the final fence, but 16-1 shot Rogue Angel roared back tenaciously to win an absolute thriller by a short head.
Ballyadam Approach was third, ahead of the winner's stable companion Folsom Blue in fourth.
Fox said: "I'm still pinching myself - I can't believe it. This is my local track and I'm just trying to take it all in, it's brilliant.
"I've only ridden him twice and he's given me a Kerry National and an Irish National. My thanks go to Mouse Morris and Michael and Eddie O'Leary (of Gigginstown House Stud) for giving me the chance on him again.
"I did what I did in the Kerry National, just jumped out in front and let him do his own thing. He jumped from fence to fence and I think he only made two mistakes on the way round. What he has is guts and when he got headed, he battled back and got back up again. He never gives up."
He added: "This means the world to me. Rides are getting slim at the moment, so to get something like this should be a great help."
Morris, who rode Billycan to win the Irish National in 1977 and trained Hear The Echo to claim the prestigious prize in 2008, paid tribute to his late son, Christopher, who tragically died last summer from suspected carbon monoxide poisoning while travelling in South America.
"It's unbelievable. Tiffer (Christopher) was looking down on me today. He helped me there. That's just special," said Morris.
"I gave Ger no instructions. He knew the horse as he had rode him in Listowel and won a Kerry National on him, so there was no need for instructions.
"The fourth horse ran a blinder as well and I couldn't be happier."
William Hill cut Rogue Angel to 33-1 from 66-1 for the Crabbie's Grand National at Aintree next month, with Ladbrokes halving him in price to 25-1.
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