Racing: Giant striding towards Fairyhouse

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The Independent Online
CELTIC GIANT was reintroduced into the Irish Grand National betting by William Hill yesterday after the nine-year-old was given the go-ahead to run in Monday's marathon at Fairyhouse.

The latest report from the track convinced his trainer, Len Lungo, that the going will be suitable for the winner of the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Chase at Cheltenham two weeks ago.

"He must not have it too soft and after discussing it with the owner this morning we have decided to run," the trainer said."I have spoken to my friend Tony Martin, who is about 15 miles away from the course, and he said that it is faster than the Cheltenham ground. But we haven't decided on a rider as we are likely to have a lot of runners at Carlisle on Monday and we might use an Irish jockey."

Celtic Giant was ridden by talented amateur Bruce Gibson when a 14-length winner at Cheltenham. But Lungo warned punters: "There are no guarantees with Celtic Giant as he has a fibrillating heart and we are going for a sporting day out. He showed what he could do at Cheltenham but I would advise all punters that he could jump a few fences and then feel the pinch and not run his race."

Senor El Betrutti could miss the Grand National in favour of a race at Ascot three days earlier, the grey's trainer, Susan Nock, said yesterday.

She is worried that the going at Aintree will be too soft. "We are waiting on the weather," the permit-holder said. "He won't go to Aintree unless it is genuinely good ground and I am wondering if it is going to be too soft - it doesn't look very good at the moment.''

Bookmakers filled their pockets at Leicester yesterday, ahead of the Easter holiday, as Time N Tide, at 40-1, and 50-1 shot Adirpour obliged in the first two races. Adirpour had drawn a blank in his previous 23 races and his defeat of the favourite Bettron in the Billesdon Selling Stakes was described by the winning trainer, Reg Hollinshead, as "unbelievable".

Only slightly more credible was the success of Time N Tide, who produced a powerful late burst to collar the well backed 8-11 favourite, Tarawan ,close home in the Bescaby Maiden Stakes.

Brian Meehan, the successful trainer, went on to clinch a 696-1 double with his new stable jockey Warren O'Connor as Arctic Char later beat Penybont a neck in the final event. "I'm delighted for Warren who is riding for me as stable jockey this season, but Pat Eddery will still be my No 1 rider," Meehan said.

IRISH GRAND NATIONAL (William Hill odds): 7-1 Bob Treacy, Celtic Giant, Manus The Man, Papillon, 10-1 Glebe Lad, Hollybank Buck, Roundwood, 12-1 Feathered Leader, Foxchapel King, 14-1 others.

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