Mouse Morris' 2006 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner War Of Attrition has had his ups and downs in the seasons since his famous victory, but could be returning to Cheltenham with a sporting chance in the Ladbrokes World Hurdle, writes Elliot Slater.
Having suffered his share of injuries and being out of action at the peak of his powers for nearly two years, the Presenting gelding returned last winter and was in good form. After running with credit on his first two starts in top company this term, War Of Attrition finished well down the field in Denman's Hennessy romp leaving Morris with a dilemma as to where to go next.
The veteran handler decided to freshen up the old boy with a run over hurdles and he excelled himself with a fine effort in Leopardstown's Christmas Hurdle, before going a step further last time out in winning Gowran Park's Grade 2 Galmoy Hurdle, showing a surprisingly good technique for one who has been campaigned over the larger obstacles for so long.
An intended starter in the John Smith's Grand National, War Of Attrition could be seen back over fences in his native Ireland during February, before going to Cheltenham and then on to Aintree.
However, the horse is currently around 40/1 in the Ladbrokes World Hurdle betting, something that suggest a fairytale win at Cheltenham is unlikely.
It's an unorthodox preparation but one that appears to be keeping the interest of this admirably tough old warrior who has won more than £674,000 in career prize money. He might not have the pace of old, but at his best in a strongly run race War Of Attrition will give it a go in the World Hurdle before going to Aintree with a serious chance of recording one last high-profile success.
Mouse Morris' most famous wins as a jockey came in the Queen Mother Champion Chase. He rode Skymas to victory in both the 1976 and 1977 renewals of the event.
This year, Master Minded will be looking to win the race for the third time in a row and the Queen Mother Champion Chase odds suggest he is in with a good chance of doing so.