Lion Na Bearnai faces race against time to be fit for Grand National

Trainer Tom Gibney says horse is only ‘50-50’ to make Aintree

 Andrew Thornton and Lion Na Bearnai after their Irish Grand National success.

Andrew Thornton and Lion Na Bearnai after their Irish Grand National success.

Wed, Mar 20, 2013, 00:03

Last year’s Irish Grand National hero Lion Na Bearnai faces a race against time to be fit for the John Smith’s Grand National at Aintree on April 6th – for which 16 horses were taken out at the latest stage.

Albertas Run, Quito De La Roque (who’ll run in the Betfred Bowl on the Thursday instead), The Package and Alfie Sherrin are among those who will not be running in the famous race.

Lion Na Bearnai’s trainer Tom Gibney has had no end of problems with his 11-year-old since his famous victory at Fairyhouse last Easter, and his participation remains in some doubt.

Gibney has targeted the Aintree version this season but one thing after another has hampered him and he has only run once, in the Hennessy at Newbury on December 1st.

Gibney, speaking at a press day at his yard yesterday morning to launch this year’s Irish National meeting, said: “He’s not fully fit and it hasn’t been perfect. He’s a very fit horse naturally, but I’d say at the minute it’s 50-50 whether he makes Aintree.

“We’ll make a decision as late as possible. He’ll do a couple of bits of work next week and we’ll have a good idea the following week.”

Roi Du Mee, Midnight Chase, Calgary Bay and Planet Of Sound are some of the others who no longer have the Aintree engagement.