It was memorable, captivating, emotional, poignant and brilliant in equal measure. Truly Rule The World’s triumph in last weekend’s Crabbie’s Grand National at Aintree was tailor made for jump racing’s most iconic prize.

This was a victory that simply had so much to it and in producing his charge in the form of his life to claim the great race, Mouse Morris warrants every plaudit that comes his way and more. At one stage of his career Rule The World looked genuinely top class but he twice fractured his pelvis, which has undoubtedly curtailed his prodigious potential, yet his trainer was still able to have him spot on for this daunting assignment.

Not only did Rule The World defy both significant injury but also the weight of history as he became the first horse since 1884 to make the National his first win over fences.

Central to the victory was the dashing ride he received from teenager David Mullins who only turned professional in December 2014. Indeed, such was the display given by both horse and jockey, that they both looked like hardened Aintree regulars.

Meanwhile Morris, who tragically lost his son Christopher last summer, was completing an amazing double after Rogue Angel, also owned by Michael O’Leary, landed the Irish National just 12 days previously. One of Ireland’s foremost National Hunt trainers for over 30 years, Morris has enjoyed an incredible end to a season in which his horses have distinguished themselves.

It is also quite fitting that the trainer should get his name on the National roll of honour. During a period when Irish horses simply weren’t a factor at Aintree, Morris sent out Lastofthebrownies to finish fourth in 1989 and fifth in 1990. His Three Brownies ran a tremendous race as a rank outsider in 1996, while few will forget the trainer’s Cahervillahow crossing the line in a valiant second in the voided edition of the race in 1993.


Following a rather fallow period for Irish horses in the National, it was all change this year as the raiders filled five of the first six placings and a special mention must be made of Dermot McLoughlin’s Vics Canvas who belied odds of 100/1 to take third.

He was all but down at Becher’s first time around but recovered splendidly to become the first 13-year-old since 1969 to achieve a podium finish in the great race.

To stay with Liverpool, it was a terrific meeting for Willie Mullins who saddled six winners of which four came at Grade 1 level. Unfortunately, Vautour came to grief in the Melling Chase but Annie Power and Douvan were utterly dominant and Apple’s Jade recorded a staggering 41-length win over Ivanovich Gorbatov in the Grade 1 juvenile hurdle.

Not since the 1952/1953 season has an Irish trainer (Vincent O’Brien) lifted the British National Hunt trainer’s title but that incredible feat is tantalisingly close for Mullins who emerged from Aintree over £180,000 ahead of Paul Nicholls in the title race.

If it comes to fruition, it will be a milestone for the ages. Also at Aintree mention must be made of star hunter chaser On The Fringe who did the Cheltenham-Liverpool double for the second year in succession. He can surely be labelled one of the great hunter chasers.

Meanwhile, Oldtown-based trainer Pat Griffin also contributed to a memorable week for the raiders when Maggio ran out a 50/1 winner of the handicap chase that preceded the National.