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  1. #1
    Senior Member Sprinter's Avatar
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    First Lieutenant : Gigginstown Chaser trained by Mouse Morris

    2011 Neptune Novice Hurdle Winner
    2012 RSA Chase Runner Up



    March 2012 Donn McClean

    First Lieutenant

    First Lieutenant put up a career-best performance to finish second behind Bobs Worth in the RSA Chase. The Gigginstown House Stud horse raced just a little more keenly than ideal through the early stages of the race, which was perfectly understandable given that the early pace was relatively sedate and that he was making his 2012 debut in the race, but it meant that he probably expended too much energy in the early throes, which left him vulnerable to Bobs Worth’s finishing surge.

    The Mouse Morris-trained gelding remains a highly talented and exciting staying chaser. The Grade 1 three-mile novices’ chase at Punchestown would appear to be the obvious race for him now this season, but it may be that he is at his best going left-handed, so he may instead be aimed at the Mildmay Chase at Aintree – a race that Gigginstown won with Quito De La Roque last year. He will be of interest wherever he goes next, and it is not unrealistic to think of him as a live Gold Cup prospect for next year.

    16th March 2012

    Report after JNWine Chase
    Leopardstown's Lexus Chase is the most likely next port of call for First Lieutenant following his excellent run in defeat at Down Royal on Saturday.
    The dual Grade One-winning hurdler progressed throughout his novice campaign over fences, running his best race of the season when a superb second to Bobs Worth in the RSA Chase at Cheltenham.

    Mouse Morris' seven-year-old looked in need of the run when fourth behind Sizing Europe on his Gowran Park return and he made the anticipated progress to go down by just a length to Kauto Stone in Saturday's JNwine.com Champion Chase.

    Morris had been considering a tilt at the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury on December 1 for his charge, but the handicapper has forced him into a rethink.

    "It was a good run and there's not a bother on him after the race, which is the main thing," said Morris.

    "I was delighted with how he ran and I think it was the right call in the end not to travel to Wetherby for the Charlie Hall.

    "We had been thinking about going for the Hennessy in Newbury with him, but the handicapper has put him up, so that's out now.

    "He'll probably wait until Christmas for either the Lexus or the King George. The Lexus would be more likely I'd say."

    First Lieutenant is 20-1 for this season's Cheltenham Gold Cup, a race Morris won with War Of Attrition in 2006, and Morris does not believe it is out of the question his gelding can improve enough to become a serious candidate for the Prestbury Park blue riband.

    "He was staying on well in Down Royal and I think he'd be better back on a stiffer track. Even War Of Attrition got beat in the Down Royal race," said Morris.

    "This lad has to improve to be a Gold Cup horse, but I do think he'll come on a fair bit for his run the other day."
    Last edited by Old Vic; 01-07-2014 at 04:27 PM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Old Vic's Avatar
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    Donn puts FL up gain. Likes this horse imo. Ryanair rather than Gold Cup ?

    Donn McClean 8.11.12 First Lieutenant

    First Lieutenant really stepped up on his reappearance run at Gowran to run a cracker in the JNwine.com Champion Chase at Down Royal on Saturday. He was going right-handed on soft ground on Saturday, but he is a horse who is probably at his best going left-handed on good ground, so it was an admirable effort by him to go down by just a length to Kauto Stone, who seems to be at his best in the first part of the season.

    Mouse Morris’s gelding was nicely backed on course, even though Gigginstown House also had the strong favourite, last year’s winner Quito De La Roque, in the race, the choice of Davy Russell. Bryan Cooper came in for the ride on First Lieutenant, who was wearing cheekpieces for the first time, and he immediately took him to the front. He jumped well in the lead, he was joined by Quite De La Roque early on the second circuit, but he stayed just ahead, jumping well, and had the favourite in trouble after the third last. Realt Dubh and Kauto Stone moved up either side of the Gigginstown pair between the third last and the second last, both of them yet to be asked for their efforts, but despite colliding with Realt Dubh over the second last, an incident that seemed to end Noel Meade’s horse’s chance, First Lieutenant stuck on pluckily to see off Quito De La Roque and only go down by a length to Kauto Stone.

    First Lieutenant could well make the step up from top novice to top chaser this term, and he will be interesting the next time he goes left-handed on good ground. He could be a Gold Cup horse, but they went a slow pace here, the final time was not good, and he was out-stayed by Bobs Worth in the RSA Chase last March after travelling best of all to the home turn, so it may be that the Ryanair Chase will be the race for him at Cheltenham this year. He does jump and travel really well, and he could be a potent force back over two and a half miles. Remember he had the class to beat last year’s Champion Hurdle winner Rock On Ruby over two miles and five furlongs in the Neptune Hurdle in 2011. It was also interesting that he ran in the two-mile Grade 1 novices’ chase at Punchestown last April having run in the RSA Chase, which suggests connections may be not be fully convinced that he is a genuine three-miler.

  3. #3
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    Mordin likes him too..reaction to Down Royal

    It was FIRST LIEUTENANT (41) that set the gallop and he jumped from fence to fence, putting in an exhibition round until things started got get very crowded approaching the second last. Both he and Realt Dubh were committed to go for a very narrow gap at the outermost wing of the fence. The pair were in the air together over the fence but Realt Dubh was just a bit behind and he couldn't avoid nudging First Lieutenant's back end which turned the leader sharply across him causing Realt Dubh to be turned sideways on landing and lose a lot of momentum. This effectively put Realt Dubh out of the race and it didn't exactly help First Lieutenant. He couldn't quite contain the late rush of Kauto Stone and went under by a length.

    It's impossible to say what would have happened but for the incident. However it's clear that trainer Mouse Morris was right to say First Lieutenant would be a better horse this season as he was immature last term. This run established him as a serious candidate for the Gold Cup.

    It's clear from the way First Lieutenant was able to rally so strongly after setting a searching gallop that he has plenty of stamina. He may not have the brilliance of Sir Des Champs or the raw talent of Last Instalment, two other Gold Cup candidates in the same ownership. But if the big race turns into a real slog due to soft ground or a searching gallop I can readily see him staying on to pass everything up Cheltenham's steep uphill finish. He'd have a fine chance in the Lexus and the Hennessy too.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Statto's Avatar
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    Road to cheltenham blog thinking ryanair


    First Lieutenant ran a blinder off 159 to be 8żl 3rd, again shaping as if the trip didn’t suit. He’s 16/1 for the Gold Cup but surely connections will aim him at the Ryanair, (which they sponsor). That’s proved a test of stamina at the 2m5f trip and going left handed on the prevailing good ground would be ideal. This was the first time I’d been convinced by the horse as he tried really hard and given that the front four in the market, (Cue Card, Al Ferof, Flemenstar and Silviniaco Conti,) could all end up in the Gold Cup, I took a bit of the 14/1 Boylesports were offering on Saturday evening. He’s into 10/1 and looks a worthy contender.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Old Vic's Avatar
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    Mordin

    Third placed FIRST LIEUTENANT (40) was always right up there, led seven out and then engaged in a long duel with Bobs Worth most of the way up the straight. He over jumped the third last massively with about a foot to spare but still only ceded best at the last. He wasn't subjected to an all out drive when his jockey saw he couldn't catch Tidal Bay who bounded past him on the run in and increased his advantage by half a length with every stride.

    I was impressed with the way First Lieutenant ran here. The way he duelled for so long with Bobs Worth tells me he still has to rank as one of the best three mile chasers. And there's every chance he can do better as his trainer Mouse Morris insists he's better on faster ground in the Spring - something I'm inclined to agree with.

    It's very possible that First Lieutenant will lose the Lexus next time and his prep for the Gold Cup. This would mean he could enter the Gold Cup on a losing streak of nine races and be a very big price as a result. However I'd be wary of dismissing his chances in that race because he's run one big race after another, winning two Grade 1's and placing in five others in his relatively short career.

    The race I like First Lieutenant for most of all is the Punchestown Gold Cup. He should get good ground for that race and he'll be fresher than most of his rivals because Mouse Morris plans on racing him sparingly till the Spring.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Old Vic's Avatar
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    More from Donn. I think Ryanair should be his race too...

    First chance

    First Lieutenant ran a huge race to finish third in the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury last Saturday. Always up in the van, the Gigginstown House horse got into a lovely rhythm from early on for Bryan Cooper. Jumping well in the main, with just one or two ‘fiddles’ when he got in tight, he looked a more-than-possible winner until Bobs Worth joined him at the second last fence.

    All the talk regarding the Mouse Morris-trained gelding before last Saturday was about his stamina, about how the extended three-and-a-quarter-mile trip would bring his undoubted stamina into play, but there is an ever-increasing body of evidence that suggests that he is worth another try now back down in trip.

    Remarkably, the son of Presenting has never won over three miles or more under Rules. Winner of his only point-to-point, his six wins on the track have been over two miles (once), two and a quarter miles (once) and two and a half miles (four times). True, he has run some mighty races in defeat over three miles, like last Saturday’s run, and his run in last month’s JNwine.com Chase at Down Royal, and in last season’s RSA Chase. But he was doing plenty when racing handily in the RSA Chase, as he was in Saturday’s Hennessy, and on both occasions he was out-stayed by Bobs Worth. Over a slightly shorter trip, his rider could be as aggressive on him as he liked.

    Remember that First Lieutenant had the pace to win a Neptune Hurdle as a novice hurdler, when he beat subsequent Champion Hurdle winner Rock On Ruby by a nose, and his only other Grade 1 win was in the novices’ hurdle at Leopardstown’s Christmas Festival two years ago over two miles.

    With his owner’s Sir Des Champs on track for the Gold Cup, it may be that his owner’s Ryanair Chase will be the race for First Lieutenant at Cheltenham.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Lester's Avatar
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    Gigginstown were also represented in the Lexus by the Mouse Morris-trained First Lieutenant, who ran a blinder to finish second.

    "It was the best run he's ever had at this time of year. In the past he has never really run well during the winter, he's really a spring horse," said O'Leary.

    "This year he seems to be running much better during the winter, so if he can improve in the spring as he has in previous years, we'll be very happy. He'll go straight to Cheltenham now, for either the Ryanair or the Gold Cup. Mouse likes to run his horses at Christmas and go straight to Cheltenham and they always go there in top condition."

  8. #8
    BRIAN O'CONNOR

    RACING: First Lieutenant might be something of a “forgotten horse” compared to Sir Des Champs when Ireland’s chances of landing this season’s Cheltenham Gold Cup are being discussed but he remains resolutely on target for steeplechasing’s blue-riband according to Mouse Morris.

    The Co Tipperary trainer has adopted the same under-the-radar approach with First Lieutenant he famously used with War of Attrition before securing a memorable Gold Cup success in 2006.

    War of Attrition ran at Leopardstown over Christmas, finishing runner-up in the equivalent of the Lexus Chase, and only returned to action with a flamboyant victory at the festival almost three months later.

    That victory sealed Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary’s love affair with the most coveted National Hunt prize of all and his Gigginstown Stud operation holds a major Gold Cup hand with just over three weeks to go to the start of the Cheltenham Festival.

    Sir Des Champs is a general 4/1 second favourite after an impressive Hennessy Gold Cup win last weekend but strictly on the form book has ground to make up on First Lieutenant on Lexus Chase running during Christmas.

    Got closest

    Both Gigginstown horses were behind the winner Tidal Bay but it was First Lieutenant that got closest of all to the winner with Sir Des Champs only fourth.

    First Lieutenant hasn’t been seen in action since then and with O’Leary sponsoring the Ryanair Chase on day three of the festival, the same bookmakers who make First Lieutenant a 12/1 shot for Gold Cup glory are going just 5/1 about him being switched to the Ryanair instead.

    The likelihood is that First Lieutenant will be kept in both races until as late as possible but Morris is in no doubt about which race he would like to go for. “My preference is for the Gold Cup but I have yet to talk to the owners,” he said yesterday. “It has yet to be discussed and I’m sure he will be left in both but my preference is the longer race.”

    Although First Lieutenant hasn’t got his head in front in any race for 16 months, he is a proven former festival winner, in the 2011 Neptune Hurdle when beating the subsequent Champion Hurdle victor, Rock On Ruby, and ran a fine second to Bob’s Worth in the RSA last year. As well as the Lexus, he has been placed already this season in the Hennessy at Newbury and the JNwine Champion Chase at Down Royal.

    The choice between the Gold Cup and the Ryanair was faced by Michael O’Leary in 2006 when the owner indicated almost up to festival week that his preference was to run in the race he sponsors. However, Morris ultimately got his way and recorded a famous success.

    That Gold Cup put a seal on a fascination with the Cheltenham Festival that has enthralled the trainer for more years than he cares to remember.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Yeehaa's Avatar
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    Mouse vs Davy

    My preference with the ground drying out would be the Gold Cup," the County Tipperary handler told At The Races.

    "Bryan Cooper has ridden him before and he's available, so that is the way I would like to go with him.

    "We are going to discuss it next week."

    "He'll stay forever, it's just if he has enough toe for the Ryanair and I don't think he would," said Morris.

    "He runs above himself at Cheltenham and he's done nothing wrong this year. He's just not got his head in front.

    "He ran well at Down Royal, he ran well in the handicap at Newbury (Hennessy) and ran a blinder at Leopardstown.

  10. #10
    Senior Member mayo's Avatar
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    Mouse wins shirley ?

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