Sport Horse Racing

Wednesday 22 January 2020

War to skip Aintree over weight row

RACING Thomas Kelly

Mouse Morris yesterday hit out at the British handicapper over the weight given to War Of Attrition for the Aintree Grand National, claiming his former Gold Cup winner wasn't wanted in the big race.

The Co Tipperary trainer was unhappy with the weight of 11st 1lb allotted to the Michael O'Leary-owned gelding, and the 11-year-old will now miss the April 10 showpiece.

"I think with that weight, they are basically saying they don't want us to run," said Morris, who had hoped to take in the Ladbrokes World Hurdle at Cheltenham before going on to the National.

"If (joint top-weight) Albertas Run is rated 164 and we are getting 9lb, that means he's rating us 155. I entered our horse in a handicap chase at Sandown the other week and they rated him 149, so I don't know how they've come up with 11st 1lb.

"We've decided we're not going to go as we won't be going where we're not wanted. The plan now would be to go straight to the World Hurdle and he'll then probably have his last run at the Punchestown Festival."

British handicapper Phil Smith, whose treatment of some Irish-trained runners was criticised on the same day last year, defended the rating.

"In the case of War Of Attrition, I ignored his hurdles win at the weekend, as his chase level seems to have stabilised at around 149. On that mark he's actually a pound lower than he is in Ireland," he stated.

Irish Independent

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