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Lion Na Bearnai wins Irish National

Article Date: 09-April-2012

Lion Na Bernai was a big priced winner of the Ladbrokes Irish Grand National at a massive 33/1 at Fairyhouse on Monday.

The 10-year-old novice battled bravely from the final fence to deny Out Now by four and a half lengths. Cheltenham Festival winner Alfie Sherrin took third and Paddy Pub was fourth.

 It was a fairytale win for trainer Tom Gibney, who trains near Kells in Co Meath, the seven strong Lock Syndicate and jockey Andrew Thornton. Gibney only has five horses in training and this was by far his biggest success, it would also be the biggest prize achieved for jockey Thornton who said: “He jumped so well and once he got to the front he pricked his ears and just kept on battling, he just wouldn't lie down."

Gibney pointed out that everything had gone so smoothly since he beat Four Commanders at 50/1 at Navan a couple of months ago, that victory putting him on course for the National: “We were pretty shocked with his victory at Navan, but everything has gone so well since and we were confident coming here, but we didn’t dare say anything! I have only been training for three years and this is the first horse that I bought, I got him as an unbroken four-year-old.”

Taoiseach Enda Kenny making the presentation to winning connections made up of syndicate members mostly from Meath, therefore local to the trainer and include some of his old school friends.

Out of luck aboard favourite Groody Hill in the big race, A.P McCoy had two winners on Monday to go with the pair he rode here on Sunday.

McCoy landed the opening Grade 2 Keelings Irish Strawberry Hurdle on Get Me Out Of Here and an hour later he rode Alderwood to victory in the Grade 2 Rathbarry & Glenview Studs Novice Hurdle.

The Racing Post Champion Point-To-Point Flat Race provided a little drama, with first past the post Rogue Angel being placed second behind Balnaslow after causing interference. The most impressive winner on the day was the Gordon Elliott-trained Don Cossack who barely broke a sweat to win the finale, the William & Gladys Bourke Flat Race with Nina Carberry on board.

Read all the Fairyhouse news and Aintree National views in The Irish Field on Saturday

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