Morris and Mullins Rule the World at Aintree
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 this year's Aintree showpiece.
In what has been a testing 12 months for the popular County Tipperary 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. 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 33-1 shot straightened up with his sights firmly set on the duelling pair of The Last Samuri and Vics Canvas, who after jumping the last were virtually inseparable.
As The Last Samuri eventually mastered the veteran Vics Canvas just after the elbow in his bid to give trainer Kim Bailey a first win since that of Mr Frisk back in 1990, he was then forced to try and hold off the sustained challenge from Rule The World, who dug deep inside the final furlong and take the spoils by six lengths.
Morris, who landed the Irish equivalent last month with Rogue Angel, said: “He’s a class horse on his day, even though he was a maiden over fences coming into this. The last few weeks have been a bit like a Disney story. I just can’t believe it. 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.
O’Leary said: “This is the cream on top. I don’t know what to feel, I’m numb. This horse could have been a Gold Cup horse without the injuries, but I’m not sure what we’ll do with him now. He could even retire, as what else does he need to do?”