Sport Horse Racing

Tuesday 20 March 2018

Lion Na Bearnai heading for Grand National

LAST year's Irish Grand National winner Lion Na Bearnai's name will be among the entries for the John Smith's Grand National when they close on Tuesday.

Tom Gibney's 11-year-old has only run once since his famous success at Fairyhouse and he was pulled up in the Hennessy at Newbury.

However, Gibney's yard had been suffering with the virus at the time and he believes a line can be put through that.

"Lion Na Bearnai seems in good form at the moment and he will go for the Bobbyjo Chase at the end of February," said Gibney.

"Then, all being well, he will go on to Aintree for the John Smith's Grand National - I think he is an ideal type for the race.

"I would put his disappointing run in the Hennessy at Newbury last time out down to a virus. I got a virus in the yard in October before he ran in the Hennessy and I thought the horses were OK but they weren't.

"I've been struggling to clear the yard of the virus ever since but we think we are getting on top of it now although I don't want to say for sure until we start having a few winners.

"At first we thought he might have just been outclassed and, although I don't think he would have been knocking on the door, I thought he should have finished a lot closer."

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