By Damian Dolan.
When Mouse Morris tells you that First Lieutenant has what it takes to be a Gold Cup winner, you’d be well advised to take heed. The Tipperary-based trainer knows a thing or two about the Gold Cup.
As synonymous with Cheltenham as Arkle, Best Mate or Golden Miller, Morris trained War of Attrition to Gold Cup glory eight years ago. It remains the crowning moment of a long and mightily impressive career.
He can still see War of Attrition now, charging up the hill on with Conor O’Dwyer on board to claim victory in a spectacular fashion by two-and-a-half lengths from Willie Mullins’ Hedgehunter, ridden by Barry Geraghty. And all on St Patrick’s Day.
“I wouldn’t swap it for all the tea in China,” said Morris. “I fancied him; he arrived at the race and he just came alive. Conor was magic; he always got on with him. They were a unit.
“He was built like an athlete, he was very genuine, he had a very big engine and could win over 2m as easy as he’d win over 3m. He had everything that a Gold Cup winning horse should have. He had speed, he stayed and he jumped well. I want to do it again before I die.”
For more see this week’s edition of the Irish World