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Morris eyes headgear for First

First Lieutenant remains on course for next month's Crabbie's Grand National despite suffering an odds-on reverse at Thurles on Thursday.

The multiple Grade One winner reverted to hurdles for the first time in almost four years as part of his preparation for the Aintree spectacular and after cutting out much of the running, he eventually gave way and passed the post third.

Trainer Mouse Morris feels his 10-year-old raced lazily in the three-mile contest and plans to reapply headgear when he lines up on Merseyside on April 11.

He said: "I think he was probably missing the cheekpieces. I'd say he didn't kill himself and he's definitely getting a bit clever in his old age.

"We wanted to get the run in without giving him too hard a race and I wanted to save the headgear for the National.

"He could have done with a bigger field and a bit of a lead. He was there to be shot at and that's what happened.

"We'll go on to Liverpool with him now anyway, we'll put the cheekpieces back on and hopefully it will all perk him up a bit."

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