Morris has high hopes for stars
Sunday 2 September 2012
Mouse Morris is looking forward to seeing star chasers China Rock and First Lieutenant return to action this coming season.
After running some decent races in defeat during the early part of the last campaign, China Rock signed off with a surprise victory in the Punchestown Gold Cup.
Having failed to get home after travelling ominously well in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, the nine-year-old was fitted with a tongue-tie, and Morris feels this could help his charge raise his game this season.
The trainer said: "China Rock is in good form, but I'm not sure where he'll start off yet. The tongue-tie made all the difference to him at Punchestown and hopefully that will help him again this season.
"There are all the obvious races at Punchestown, Down Royal and the Charlie Hall in Wetherby early on in the season."
First Lieutenant is a second potential challenger for the Gold Cup route. The proven good-ground performer was an excellent second to Bobs Worth in the RSA Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, but failed to fire in the Punchestown mud when dropped from three miles to two for his final start as a novice.
"He'll probably run over two and half to three miles. He's done well over the summer and we'll have to wait and see how he gets on," said Morris.
"There is every chance he could run against China Rock at some stage, but we'll see. Let's hope they all stay in one piece."
First Lieutenant is a best-priced 16-1 for the Cheltenham Gold Cup next March, while China Rock can be backed at 50-1 with Stan James.