Racing: Punters fall for Timbera in National

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The Independent Online

Timbera was in demand in the Grand National betting yesterday, with William Hill cutting his odds to 14-1 from 25-1. A weight of 10st 5lb has heightened the optimism of Timbera's Co Kildare trainer, Dessie Hughes.

The 10-year-old jumped immaculately when winning the Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse last March, while a moderate fifth on his most recent run - at Leopardstown last month - has been blamed on the flu.

Punters also believe that Monty's Pass can retain his National title on 3 April. He was shortened to 16-1 from 20-1 by Hills.

Ladbrokes reported support for Timbera as well as the Jonjo O'Neill-trained Joss Naylor, cutting the pair to 20-1 from 25-1. Notable bets with Ladbrokes included £2,000 and £1,000 on Joss Naylor at 25-1, and a wager of £1,000 on Be My Manager at 50-1.

Trainer Peter Chapple-Hyam registered his first winner since returning to Britain from Hong Kong as Toronto Heights took a maiden race at Lingfield yesterday.

At the same track, the four-year-old Gun Salute survived a stewards' inquiry to take the claiming race. The 9-1 shot interfered with the favourite, Double M, as he took the lead in the final furlong, but the stewards ruled that the incident had not altered the result.

"This horse's claim to fame is that he was owned by Sir Alex Ferguson as a yearling," said the winning trainer, Gary Moore. "We picked him up at the sales quite cheaply"