Tuesday 23 January 2018

Mouse Morris hopes to ride his luck as he saddles up for third Grand National win

Trainer ‘Mouse’ Morris with his dog EJ. Photo: INPHO
Trainer ‘Mouse’ Morris with his dog EJ. Photo: INPHO

Jennifer O'Brien

He trained the winner last year, now Tipperary-based Michael 'Mouse' Morris says he certainly wouldn't turn his nose up at the €500,000 prize money on offer for this year's winner of the BoyleSports Irish Grand National.

The launch of the race - which will be at Fairyhouse on Easter Monday - took place at Mouse's yard outside Fethard in Co Tipperary, with last year's Grand National winner Rogue Angel on hand.

A record-breaking entry of 124 horses has been made for the most eagerly anticipated race in the Irish calendar.

"With prize-money like that, who wouldn't want to bring it home?" Mouse Morris said.

"Rogue Angel has been in good form all right, but he's a spring horse and he wants better ground.

"The Irish National has proved a good race in the past for novices and it's been a lucky race for me. I've won it as a jockey and twice as a trainer."

Sarah Smyth with Rogue Angel. Photo: INPHO
Sarah Smyth with Rogue Angel. Photo: INPHO

His son Jamie, assistant trainer at the yard, admitted that last year's Irish Grand National win with Rogue Angel and their Grand National win with Rule the World would be hard to top.

"After the high of last year, you have to come back to earth again, but we are looking ahead to Cheltenham and Aintree and then the Grand National," he told the Irish Independent.

"Training has been going well, even though there was probably a slower start to the season than we would have liked.

"We have three horses now going to Cheltenham next week, so we will keep the fingers crossed."

With the prize money jumping from €275,000 to €500,000, the landmark 'Race of the People' now becomes the most valuable Irish jumps race and the third biggest between Ireland and the UK.

Overall, the entries are dominated by Gordon Elliott, who has put 28 horses into the race, including early top-weight Outlander.

A top contender for next week's Cheltenham Gold Cup, Outlander has been handed 11st 10lbs.

Mr Elliot has also entered last year's runner-up, Bless The Wings.

Mr Elliot, however, has yet to win the race, and the same can be said of champion trainer Willie Mullins, who has made 14 entries this year.

Peter Roe, general manager of Firhouse Racecourse, added: "This is shaping up to be a race of the highest quality. It has attracted a top-class entry of 124 horses, which is a modern-day record."

Irish Independent

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