Mouse Morris

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Mouse Morris
Full nameMichael Morris
Occupation Trainer
Born (1951-04-04) 4 April 1951 (age 69)
Co Galway
Major racing wins
Supreme Novices' Hurdle (1983)
Queen Mother Champion Chase (1986)
Christie's Foxhunter Chase (1986)
Stayers' Hurdle (1990)
Grand Annual Chase (2005)
Cheltenham Gold Cup (2006)
Neptune Novices' Hurdle (2011)
Irish Grand National (2008, 2016)
The Grand National (2016)
Significant horses
Buck House, Trapper John, Cahervillahow, War Of Attrition, First Lieutenant, Rule The World

Michael "Mouse" Morris, formally the Hon. Michael Morris, (born 4 April 1951) is an Irish racehorse trainer and former amateur and professional jockey. As a trainer, he has won the Grand National and the Cheltenham Gold Cup, and has won the Irish Grand National twice. In 2016, he won both the Grand National and Irish Grand National double.

Contents

Early life

Morris is the third son of Michael Morris, 3rd Baron Killanin, who was president of the International Olympic Committee from 1972 to 1980 and Chairman of Galway Racecourse from 1970 to 1985. [1] His mother, Sheila, was the daughter of Canon Douglas Dunlop, Rector of Oughterard and the granddaughter of Henry Dunlop who was involved in the construction of Lansdowne Road in 1872. [2] During World War II his mother was a cryptographer at Bletchley Park. [3] According to Morris, "she was in Hut 6, but she wouldn't ever talk about it. Neither of them would talk about the war. She was bound by the Official Secrets Act, but whatever she did, she got an MBE for it." [3]

Morris's twin brother John "Johnny" became a photographer and married Thelma Mansfield. Their elder brother, George Redmond "Red", followed in the footsteps of their father, Lord Killanin, by becoming a film producer. They also have one sister, Monica Deborah. [4] [5] [6] [7]

At aged fifteen his formal education ended following his diagnosis with dyslexia. Morris then began working at racing stables. [8]

Family

Morris was married to Susanna Felicity Clark. They had two sons, James "Jamie" born in 1983 and Christopher "Tiffer" born in 1985. Tiffer died in June 2015, aged 30, of carbon monoxide poisoning while traveling in Argentina. [5] [9] [10] [11]

Jockey

Initially, Morris came to prominence as an amateur jockey. In 1974 he rode Mr Midland to victory at Cheltenham giving Edward O'Grady his first Festival winner. [12] In 1975 he turned professional. [13] He rode Skymas in his successive victories in 1976 and 1977 the Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham. He rode Billycan to victory in the 1977 Irish Grand National, a race he was subsequently to win twice as a trainer. His career as a rider was over after a fall in South Carolina's Colonial Cup. [8]

Trainer

Morris is based in Fethard Co Tipperary. [14] In 1981, he took out a licence and began his National Hunt training career. [13] Morris's first major breakthrough came when Buck House won the 1983 Supreme Novice Hurdle, giving him his first winner at Cheltenham. [12]

The 1990s started brightly for the Mouse Morris yard when Trapper John ridden by jockey Charlie Swan won the Stayers' Hurdle at the 1990 Cheltenham Festival. The following year Cahervillahow was beaten by a short head in the Irish Grand National [15] and merely three weeks later in the Whitbread Gold Cup he was controversially judged to have interfered with runner-up Docklands Express in the closing stages. As a result, Docklands Express was awarded the race. [16] He finished second in the 1993 Grand National which was voided after a false start. [17] Morris trained His Song who was one of the best novice hurdlers of the period. [12] His Song finished second behind the J. P. McManus owned Istabraq [18] in the 1998 AIG Irish Champion Hurdle on his fourth race outing before again finishing second in the Supreme Novice Hurdle at Leopardstown. [19] One of Morris's most important wins as a trainer came in 2006 when he sent out the seven-year-old gelding War Of Attrition to win the 2006 Cheltenham Gold Cup, beating another Irish challenger Hedgehunter on Saint Patrick's Day. [20] In 2008, he trained Hear The Echo to victory in the Irish Grand National. In 2011, he trained the winner of the Grade 1 Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham, First Lieutenant, ridden by Davy Russell. In 2016, he won the Irish Grand National again this time with Rogue Angel. Also in 2016, he won the Grand National for the first time with Rule The World.[ citation needed ]

Major wins

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References

  1. Hyland, Francis (2008). History Of Galway Races.
  2. Collins, Liam (4 March 2007). "Double blow to Gold Cup trainer". Irish Independent . Retrieved 1 September 2012.
  3. 1 2 "Grand National build-up: The Mouse who roared". London: The Independent. 1 April 2009. Retrieved 31 July 2012.
  4. O'Brien, Stephen (30 April 1999). "Haughey in tribute to Lord Killanin". Irish Independent . Retrieved 10 April 2016.
  5. 1 2 Collins, Liam (4 June 2015). "Great tragedy for family steeped in sport and history". Irish Independent . Retrieved 10 April 2016.
  6. Lundy, Darryl. "Person Page - 38693: Michael Morris, 3rd Baron Killanin". The Peerage. Retrieved 10 April 2016.
  7. Berry, Claire (28 July 2012). "Lord of Ballybrit". The Irish Field .
  8. 1 2 "Mouse Morris: His Extraordinary Racing Life" . Retrieved 28 July 2012.
  9. Wood, Greg (9 April 2016). "Emotional trainer Mouse Morris wins the Grand National after year of tragedy". The Guardian . Retrieved 10 April 2016.
  10. Feehan, Conor (4 June 2015). "Trainer Mouse's tragic son was coming home to open own restaurant". The Herald . Retrieved 10 April 2016.
  11. Lundy, Darryl. "Person Page - 49042: Hon. Michael Francis Leo Morris". The Peerage. Retrieved 10 April 2016.
  12. 1 2 3 "Michael Mouse Morris". Go Racing.ie. Retrieved 10 August 2012.
  13. 1 2 "Mouse Morris Jump Trainer". www. Racehorse Trainers .co.uk. Archived from the original on 7 January 2011. Retrieved 3 August 2012.
  14. "Homepage Official website" . Retrieved 6 September 2016.
  15. "Race Result Fairyhouse". irishracing.com. Retrieved 10 August 2012.
  16. Hughes, Clive (23 April 1993). "Swan returns to pursue justice: Ireland's champion rider seeks redress in tomorrow's Whitbread Gold Cup". The Independent . London. Retrieved 23 August 2012.
  17. Goggin, Eddie. "The Grand National". The Cork Independent . Archived from the original on 17 October 2012. Retrieved 23 August 2012.
  18. "Istabraq (IRE)". Racing Post. Retrieved 4 December 2012.
  19. "Race Result Leopardstown" . Retrieved 10 August 2012.
  20. Sport (18 March 2006). "War of Attrition wins Gold Cup". London: Daily Telegraph . Retrieved 28 August 2012.