Irish were smiling both on and off the track at last week’s Grand National meeting at Aintree.
While the Mullins clan copper fastened their grip on the National Hunt racing scene the Liverpool Irish turned out in force and style to enjoy the festival.
From Annie Power’s wonderful performance on the opening day to Ivan Grozny in the last race on Saturday evening Willie Mullins again showed what a master trainer he is with six winners and numerous placed horses over the three days.
But the real story of the meeting and indeed the racing year belonged to Mullins nephew David.
While Leighton Aspell’s dream of a fairytale three in a row died in the heavy going 19 yr old wrote a whole new one for himself and trainer Mouse Morris by powering home on board 33/1 shot Rule The World.
Tribute For Morris it was a particularly emotional occasion as he paid tribute to his late son Christopher (Tiffer) who tragically was killed by Carbon Monoxide poisoning in Argentina last year.
For the amiable Mouse it capped a remarkable fortnight after capturing the Irish National with Rogue Angel.
Even the horse was an unlikely hero having recovered from two broken pelvis’ and had never won a race over fences although he was a good 2nd in last year’s Irish National.
A year ago David Mullins was also seeking his first win over the bigger obstacles but in his first attempt he swept to victory over the biggest fences of all. If the day could have got any better for the baby faced equine pilot it did when he went straight back out to win the last for his uncle.
Winning owner Michael O Leary paid a glowing and sincere tribute to his trainer, jockey and horse after another famous Irish victory in the world’s most famous horse race.
Elsewhere Friday was Ladies Day with all the glitz and glam on display but for this scribe by far the most impressive female on show was on Thursday when the aforementioned Annie Power once again captured the hearts of race goers.