He's been around the jumping game for eight seasons now, but there is still life (and possibly one more big victory) in 2006 Cheltenham Gold Cup hero War of Attrition, writes Elliot Slater.
There's no doubt that Mouse Morris' eleven-year-old is not the force he once was, but it was thrilling to see him giving it his all at Gowran Park when landing a Grade 2 three-mile hurdle from younger and less weary-legged opposition. The prospect of the old boy having a crack at the World Hurdle at Cheltenham is now a distinct possibility, although connections have made it clear that their main target is the Aintree Grand National, a race that will be War of Attrition's last before an honourable retirement.
A veteran of 31 races, 13 of which he has won, War of Attrition has overcome serious injury problems that kept him out of action for very nearly two years at what should have been the height of his career. Undaunted, the son of Presenting has been back into battle time and again, and while racing to marks more than 20lbs below his championship winning form, he still has appeared to retain all his enthusiasm.
An ecstatic Morris told reporters at Gowran: “I haven't had as much pleasure since Gold Cup day at Cheltenham. He did it well and there was real sparkle in him today with his ears pricked all the way. He really enjoyed it.”
Bookmaker reaction to the Gowran performance has been mixed with Coral's holding out at 40/1 for the Grand National, while firms such as Boylesports, Paddy Power and Betfred are taking no chances and offer just 20/1 about the Irish chaser becoming the first Gold Cup winner to triumph at Aintree since L'Escargot in 1975.