Rule The World clears a fence en route to victory in the Grand National
PICTURE: John Grossick (racingpost.com/photos)
CRABBIE’S Grand National hero Rule The World could be ushered into retirement after connections ruled out returning to Aintree next year to defend the title he so gloriously gained on Saturday.
The Mouse Morris-trained nine-year-old shook off his maiden tag over fences at the 14th attempt in sensational style to the delight of 19-year-old jockey David Mullins, who was riding in the world famous race for the first time.
The victory capped an amazing few weeks for owners Gigginstown House Stud following Don Cossack’s Cheltenham Gold Cup win and success for Rogue Angel in the Irish Grand National.
The 33-1 winner, who won at Grade 2 level over hurdles, has needed to be nursed back to fitness after two serious pelvic injuries kept him on the sidelines during a stop-start career.
‘We could retire him after that’
“This horse [Rule The World] could have been Gold Cup standard but for the injuries he has suffered,” said winning owner Michael O’Leary.
“He’s nine now and after that we could retire him – I wouldn’t want to bring him back here again, and Mouse will have to decide how he comes out of this race, but if he never runs again who cares?
“He’ll come back to Gigginstown one day and be retired with Don Cossack and our other good horses.”
Speaking on Sunday morning, Morris confirmed talks would take place regarding Rule The World’s future.
“He’ll have a rest now and we’ll discuss it with Michael and Eddie [Michael’s brother] and we’ll see where we go – he doesn’t have to go anywhere really after this,” the trainer said on At The Races.
Rule The World is due to parade at Mullingar town park, next to the Annebrook Hotel, at 12.30pm on Sunday, where he will be accompanied by Morris, Mullins and the O’Leary family.
Morris has gained satisfaction from seeing a horse he has held in the highest regard show his true colours on the greatest stage of all.
“He’s a horse I’d always thought a lot of until he had his injuries,” the trainer added. “He’s a typically National horse in that he’s big and jumps well, and has that little bit of class. It’s a dream to think he’d win a Grand National.”
Morris described Mullins as having “an old head on young shoulders” after he became the first teenage winner since 1963.
‘Not sunk in yet’
The enormity of the achievement was beginning to sink in on Sunday morning as Mullins said At The Races: “It’s an amazing feeling and it’s not really fully sunk in yet.
“I was just hoping for a bit of luck and thankfully everything went to plan. We got in too tight to one fence [four out] and give it a bit of a wrap but I was kind of glad I’d got one mistake out of the way.
“Coming across the Melling Road [for the second time] I knew I was going well and at the second last I heard Davy Russell give me a shout, saying ‘Go on David!’, but it was only at the line I realised I’d done it.”
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