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Love basks in National glory


Liberty Counsel and Ben Dalton after winning the Irish National

Liberty Counsel and Ben Dalton after winning the Irish National

PA Wire/Press Association Images

Liberty Counsel and Ben Dalton after winning the Irish National

Dot Love was the toast of Mullingar after springing a 50-1 surprise with Liberty Counsel in Monday's Ladbrokes Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse.

The mare, one of just over a dozen horses to have appeared for the stable this year, will not be resting on her laurels as the trainer will now prepare her for the Galway Plate later in the summer.

Liberty Counsel, whose best previous performances had been at Kilbeggan, was only 13th as a 100-1 shot for the Kim Muir at Cheltenham but was able to become the biggest-priced winner of the Irish National as she held off Away We Go in the hands of Ben Dalton.

Love, who is based at the Charlestown Stud near Westmeath's county town, is a Danish-born former eventer who has lived in Ireland for much of her life.

She said: "I'm still on cloud nine, and I don't really want to get off it. I think half of Mullingar was in the pub last night, from seven-year-olds to 70 year-olds. It was a wonderful night and I could just sit and enjoy it. We must have watched the replay 100 times on TV."

Liberty Counsel has also been enjoying the attention, as Love said: "It's a stunning day here, the sun is shining and she has been down in her field with her pal Shadow Eile. She had a roll over and looks absolutely perfect.

"We had lots of people over taking pictures, so she had to come back and have a new rug put on.

"The owners are keen to keep her going as she is in such good form. She had two years off earlier in her career, she has twisted her gut, had a leg problem and been hobdayed, but she's at her best ever now. I imagine they will shove an awful lot more weight on her, but the plan is to go for the Galway Plate."

Love can hope to maintain the good work with Shadow Eile, who struck twice at the last Galway Festival and was an ultra-respectable fourth to Quevega at Cheltenham.

"She ran so well behind Quevega and she will go for the Graded mares race at Punchestown," the trainer reported.

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