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Lion Na Bearnai produces a Fairytale Local Victory in a thrilling Ladbrokes Irish Grand National

Monday, 1 January 1


Lion Na Bernai was s big priced winner of the Ladbrokes Irish Grand National at a massive 33/1, after a mighty battle with Out Now. It was a fairytale win for his trainer Tom Gibney, who trains near Kells, the seven strong Lock Syndicate and conditional jockey Andrew Thornton. Gibney only has five horses in training and this would undoubtedly be his biggest success, it would also be the biggest prize achieved for jockey Thornton who said: “He jumped so well and once he got to the front he pricked his ears and just kept on battling, he just wouldn't lie down." 


Gibney pointed out that everything had gone so smoothly since he beat Four Commanders at 50/1 at Navan a couple of months ago, that victory putting him on course for the National: “We were pretty shocked with his victory at Navan, but everything has gone so well since and we were confident coming here, but we didn’t dare say anything! I have only been training for three years and this is the first horse that I bought, I got him as an unbroken four-year-old.”  


The Syndicate members are mostly from Meath, therefore local to the trainer and include some of his old school friends, which makes the victory all the sweeter. Extra kudos was given to the race with the Taoiseach Enda Kenny making the presentation to winning connections. 


Hayley O’Connor, PR Representative for Ladbrokes said: “It was a thrilling finish and we were screaming home the winner as runner-up Out Now, being a Pricewise selection was popular with the punters. It was a definitely a good result for the bookmakers.” 


It has been a very worthwhile trip so far for AP McCoy, he had two winners yesterday and he followed these up with victory in the opener, the grade two Keelings Irish Strawberry Hurdle on Get Me Out of Here for his boss JP McManus who was winning for the first time in two years. An hour later he rode Alderwood to victory in the grade two Rathbarry & Glenview Studs Novice Hurdle, again the in green and gold colours. 


The Racing Post Champion Point-To-Point Flat Race provided a little drama, with first past the post Rogue Angel being placed second behind Balnaslow after causing interference. The most impressive winner on the day was Don Cossack who barely broke a sweat to win the finale, the William & Gladys Bourke Flat Race with Nina Carberry on board. 


Carton House, one of Ireland’s leading luxury resorts was once again proud to host the Most Stylish Lady event today. Michelle O’Connor from Navan took home the coveted title of Carton House Most Stylish Lady and scooped an  8,000 prize package with a stunning gift from Lancôme’s most loved skincare, make-up and fragrance range to the value of €500. 


This year’s competition theme encouraged hopefuls to wear “a hint of rouge” to add a splash of colour and glamour to their race day outfit. Michelle’s elegant take on the theme impressed the judges and distinguished her from the other finalists. A stylish navy Jumpsuit was worn with red shoes, red gloves and a red belt. This was complimented with a cream hat, a Parasol and a vintage stole, which Michelle found in an old suitcase belonging to her grandmother.  


Runners-up at Carton House Most Stylish Lady were Caroline Webb in second and Becky O’Brien in third.  


The guest judges for Carton House Most Stylish Lady included Rosanna Davison, International Model and former Miss World, Style Svengali Brendan Courtney and General Manager of Carton House, David Webster. Brendan Courtney said, “The Most Stylish Lady competition is a wonderful way to celebrate the incredible and unique style of Irish women and our finalists displayed that perfectly. The standard was very high and entrants really made the effort to inject a unique red element to their outfits. Michelle was a very deserving winner and we all agreed that her look was effortlessly chic, elegant and in keeping with the theme.”  


Well known faces in the 13,216 strong crowd included The Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, his wife Fionnuala, their two sons, Ferdia and Naoise, Brian Ormond and his wife Pippa O’Connor, Celia Holman Lee, Tracy Piggott, Grainne Seoige, Sean Munsanje, comedian Paddy Courtney, Dragon Den’s Gavin Duffy and Stylist Cathy O’Connor. 


After locally trained Flemenstar winning the big race yesterday, Peter Roe, Racecourse Manager at Fairyhouse was delighted to see another locally trained winner in the ‘big one’: “Having local results is great for Fairyhouse and we are delighted for Tom Gibney and all the syndicate members.” Reflecting on the crowd figure of 13,216 Roe added: “ We are pleased with the numbers considering it wasn’t a very nice morning. It has been a great two days, and we are really looking forward to tomorrow.” 


For further information contact:  

Tamarisk Doyle, PR Manager, Ph: 045 455685/0872936357 

Peter Roe, Racecourse Manager Fairyhouse, Ph: 01 825 6167/086 8208870 



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