Rogue Angel produced an incredible frontrunning performance to win the Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse on Easter Monday.
The Mouse Morris-trained eight-year-old led from the start under Ger Fox with Ruby Walsh travelling well on board Bless The Wings. Bless The Wings edged in front after the final fence, but the 16-1 shot Rogue Angel beat him on pace by a short head.
William Hill cut Rogue Angel to 33-1 from 66-1 for the Grand National at Aintree while Ladbrokes halved his price to 25-1. “I’m still pinching myself – I can’t believe it,” Fox said.
“It’s my local track and I’m trying to take it all in. I’ve only ever ridden this horse twice and he’s given me a Kerry National and an Irish National.” Fox said the tactics had been left up to him and went on: “I came out to Mouse and asked him what to do and he said ‘you know him yourself’ so I did what I did in the Kerry National.
“He jumped from fence to fence and what he has is guts. When he got headed after the last he battled back. He never gives up.”
Bless The Wings, trained by Gordon Elliott, was second at 12-1 with Ballyadam Approach third at 33-1 and Folsom Blue fourth at 20-1.
Morris, who won the Irish National as a jockey in 1977 and trained Hear The Echo to claim the crown in 2008, paid tribute to his late son Christopher. He passed away last summer from suspected carbon monoxide poisoning while travelling in South America.
“It’s unbelievable. Tiffer (Christopher) was looking down on me today. He helped me there. That’s just special,” said Morris.
“I gave Ger no instructions.
“He knew the horse as he had rode him in Listowel and won a Kerry National on him, so there was no need for instructions.”