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Gibney fears Lion is raw

IRISH trainer Tom Gibney is concerned a lack of match practice may catch out his Irish Grand National hero Lion Na Bearnai in Saturday's Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury.

The 10-year-old gave his little-known trainer a major victory at Fairyhouse in the spring, but a minor setback meant he has not been able to have a prep run.

"He's all set to go," said Gibney.

"He was due to have a prep run but unfortunately that didn't work out because we had a bit of a hold-up with him about a month ago."

Nicky Henderson has decided to let Roberto Goldback join stable companion Bobs Worth in Saturday's race.

The Seven Barrows handler said earlier in the week the 10-year-old, who won on his debut for Henderson at Ascot this month, was more likely to run over a shorter trip at Newbury tomorrow.

However, Henderson said: "We've had a slight change of heart and we have decided Roberto Goldback will run in the Hennessy after all. He's a stayer and while it will be testing ground, he's not a two-and-a-half-miler. It's not going to be easy as he has a lot of weight, but we are happy with him.

"The ground will not be within a million miles of what he really wants but it seemed pointless to run in the shorter race.

"At the moment, the plan would be for both Roberto Goldback and Bobs Worth to run."

Henderson had expressed some concerns about the going for Bobs Worth earlier in the week but his fears have been somewhat allayed after a visit to the Berkshire venue.

He said: "The ground is in good nick there -- it's Newbury's first meeting of the season which has helped."


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