Morris prefers Gold for Lieutenant

by Michelle Fortune , 22 February 2013

A decision on First Lieutenant's Cheltenham target could be made next week but trainer Mouse Morris has revealed he would prefer to run his charge in the Betfred Gold Cup rather than the Ryanair Chase.

First Lieutenant wears the Gigginstown Stud colours and is one of the leading fancies to land the Ryanair Chase, which is sponsored by his owner Michael O'Leary.

Morris, however, believes the longer trip of the Gold Cup would bring out the best in the eight-year-old, especially with ground conditions improving at Prestbury Park.

"My preference with the ground drying out would be the Gold Cup," Morris declared.

"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."

First Lieutenant has yet to win this season but he impressed when finishing third in the Hennessy Gold Cup before going on to finish second in both the Champion Chase and the Lexus Chase.

Morris believes his stamina makes his an ideal horse for the Gold Cup and is worried that he might not have the speed needed for the Ryanair.

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

"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 and ran a blinder at Leopardstown."

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