Mouse Morris taking the mickey?
Frank Monkhouse | 8 April 2017
Trainer targets a Grand National double
Trainer Mouse Morris won the Grand National last year, with his representative Rule The World getting home in front off a chunky SP. The winning horse won’t be back to defend, but the winning trainer certainly will be. We are non-runner money back, place your Grand National bets here.
66-year-old Irishman Morris did the double last year, winning both the Grand National and the Irish Grand National. That was his second success in the Irish version, and he also has a Cheltenham Gold Cup sitting at home to keep them company.
Irish National winner Rogue Angel his best bet
This year the best of his chances looks to go in the form of Rogue Angel. The nine-year-old gelding travels to Aintree with a CV reading five wins and nine placed efforts from 38 starts, which may not immediately jump off the page at punters on the day, but Coral traders want to keep him close in the early betting.
He hasn’t been seen getting his head in front for over a year now, banking the prize money in the Irish National at Fairyhouse last March. He edged out Bless The Wings that day by a short-head in a heart-stopping finish, but it was an all guts and glory performance that saw him grind out the desired result. He’s a lovely horse with a real fondness for a scrap, and backers who saw that performance will have no hesitation in taking him again.
Since then he’s not done too much to get excited about, and finished well off the pace in the Becher Chase around here, which gives plenty of clues as to how this race will pan out. Including the likes of national hopefuls Vieux Lion Rouge, who won that day, Highland Lodge, The Last Samuri and Ucello Conti, his 10th-place finish would suggest he has much improvement to find to feature on Saturday.
Last seen fifth in the Goffs Thyestes Chase at Gowran in January, Coral are now trading Rogue Angel at 25/1 to give Morris another title, meaning he currently has 11 horses ahead of him in the betting. This race is famous for upsets and fairytale endings, but he looks one for each-way backers in our view.
Thunder And Roses ready to rumble
Further down the pecking order and Morris can also cheer home Thunder And Roses, who goes into the week as a 33/1 shot with us. Another who is no spring chicken, the nine-year-old gelding will be taking part in his 38th career race on Saturday, with five wins already achieved.
He was largely unimpressive in the Leinster National over three-miles last time, finishing sixth in a race won by Abolitionist, but excuses can be made for the bare result and he was going great guns when hampered by a loose horse. That appeared to break his concentration, and he offered nothing at the business end, despite leading earlier in the contest.
Punters will be happy enough to put a line through that, given the circumstances, and take more from the fact he has finished as runner-up twice in his last three goes, both around Fairyhouse. The second of those came in the Bobbyjo Chase in February, when being edged out by Pleasant Company by ½ a length. The winner came out of that exchange with plenty of credit, but it would be foolish to overlook Thunder And Roses, who led the way for parts of the race and just found one marginally better on the day.
He is another who boasts an Irish National winner’s medal, doing the job in 2015, and on current form looks a better play than his stablemate. A nice price, with every chance of springing an upset.