Grand National latest

GRAND NATIONAL winning trainer Donald McCain is aiming for another victory with 2011 winner Ballabriggs who is among his four hopefuls for this year’s race.

McCain said of the 14/1 shot: “Everything has gone smoothly with Ballabriggs’ preparation this time – we are very happy with him. He will complete his preparation in the same Kelso event he has run in for the last two years.

“He is 12 years old but Amberleigh House won it at 12. Ballabriggs is an Aintree horse – he likes the place.”

McCain also has Grand National bet hopes for his Weird Al, who was an unlucky faller in the race 12 months ago.

He added: “Weird Al was running a nice race last year when he fell at the fourth last. His form has been disappointing this season but he is a little bit that way. He seemed to be taking to Aintree quite well last year.

Across The Bay and Cloudy Lane make up his Grand National team, although the Fox Hunters’ Chase is the likely target for the latter.

He added: It was slightly unusual that Across The Bay’s last race was over hurdles but he won a Grade Two at Haydock. He stays, he jumps and is a young and improving horse, who is going the right way. If he took to the place, he could run a massive race.”

Irish champion trainer Willie Mullins has clarified his running plans for the Aintree showpiece, with On His Own heading his four remaining entries.

The lightly-raced nine-year-old was travelling strongly when coming down at Becher’s Brook on the second circuit last year.

He returned to action this term with a comfortable success in the Grade Two Boyne Hurdle at Navan on February 19 and carries plenty of confidence from connections. He is now the 8/1 favourite with most firms.

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