Donnas delivers in Flyingbolt

Mon 20 Feb 2012

Donnas Palm got up right on the line to deny Foildubh in a thrilling finish to the Flyingbolt Novice Chase at Navan.

With Far Away So Close withdrawn at the start of the Grade Two event, stablemate Westmeath attempted to make all and was tracked by Foildubh, who joined issue on the run to the second-last. The pair jumped it almost upsides.

Foildubh held a clear advantage at the final fence as Westmeath faded, but former smart hurdler Donnas Palm (8-1) began to stay on strongly for Davy Condon and nicked the verdict by a head.

Trainer Noel Meade said: "I couldn't believe the price he was and told the lads to back him. Donnas Palm had been running in very good company but is a little bit of a lad and the blinkers helped. He probably wants further than two miles and he needed every inch of it there.

"I don't know where I'll go with him now, he won't be going to Cheltenham or anything like that. He is rated high enough but wouldn't be good enough for the Powers Gold Cup either - we'll look for something a grade below that and he'll get two and a half miles."

Lion Na Bearnai landed a famous success for trainer Thomas Gibney and jockey Andrew Thornton in the Irish Form Book Ten Up Novice Chase.

For a long way Berties Dream held sway in the three-mile Grade Two event, but it started to get harder work for the nine-year-old as 50-1 chance Lion Na Bearnai and a trio of Gigginstown House Stud runners closed.

Lion Na Bearnai jumped the second-last in front but had Four Commanders and Start Me Up either side of him for company at the last. In a driving finish, he rallied to get the better of Four Commanders by three-quarters of a length.

Gibney said: "We hoped in a small field, we would pop around and get our entry money back! He was meant to run in a 0-109 handicap at Fairyhouse but they did away with the chases and he came here with an eye to running in a handicap at the next meeting. I can't believe it!"

Thornton added: That's my biggest win. I'm riding professionally five years now and it's absolutely brilliant to ride my first Grade Two winner at my local track. The plan was to make the running, but they were going plenty quick enough. He got under the final fence, but he really stuck his neck out at the line."

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