It’s always heartening to see a small stable landing a big prize and that was certainly the case at Navan on Sunday when 50/1 outsider Lion Na Bearnai (IRE) won the Grade 2 Ten Up Novice Chase. The winner is one of only a handful of horses trained locally by Tom Gibney and it was also the biggest win for jockey Andrew Thornton. Lion na Bearnai answered his riders every call battling ahead of the two Gigginstown House Stud owned runners to win by ¾ of a length. The shocked trainer couldn’t believe the horse’s performance commenting; “I can’t believe it! He hadn’t run since December 1st and we just wanted to get a run into him. We hoped in a small field, we would pop around and get our entry money back! I hope the handicapper doesn’t go too hard on him.” Lion Na Bearnai is owned by the Lock Syndicate who were represented by Tom Gilsenan who jokingly asked the trainer; “Do we have a Cheltenham entry!?” The winner was bred by Mr & Mrs Frank Daly and bought by his trainer at Tattersalls Ireland for €8,800.
Noel Meade rarely leaves his local track empty handed and he won the Grade 2 Flyingbolt Novice Chase with Donna’s Palm (IRE) who got up close home to deny Foildubh by a head. The winner got a great ride from Davy Condon and Meade was far from surprised by the result saying; “In fairness to the horse he has been keeping good company over fences and I was very surprised at his price today. He won´t go to Cheltenham but maybe the Powers Gold Cup could be on the agenda.” The winner is owned the Grand Alliance Racing Club, which consists of a group of politicians, who have enjoyed great success with the horse who has won eleven races and over €250,000 in prize-money. Donna’s Palm was bred by Juliet Brown and was bought by Gillian O’Brien as a yearling in Tattersalls Ireland for €6,500.