Grand National: don’t discount defending champion Ballabriggs

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Ballabriggs’ victory in last year’s Grand National was the first victory in the event for Donald McCain – son of legendary trainer Ginger McCain – and he remains convinced the 11-year-old can write his name into the history books this year.

He will have his work cut out as the last horse to retain the title was the incredible Red Rum back in 1974 who was trained by his father.

However, while history may be against him, there is every chance this horse could upset the odds and write his name into the history books…

Age

The 11-year-old would be the oldest winner of the race since the 12-year-old Amberleigh House won back in 2004.

However, that horse was trained by McCain senior and went off at 16/1 – exactly the same odds as Ballabriggs can currently be backed at – so the omens are good.

Course form

There can be no doubting the credentials of Ballabriggs to perform over the course following his victory last year that saw jockey Jason Maguire win by two and a half lengths from second-placed Oscar Time.

It was also a win that saw him finish in nine minutes 1.2 seconds – the second-fastest time in Grand National history.

He may find it tougher going this season with the likes of Synchronised and Junior in the field but he most certainly shouldn’t be discounted.

Other

Carrying a top weight is a huge disadvantage for Ballabriggs but he is arguably as well placed as any horse since Red Rum to retain the title.

With him currently 16/1 second favourite in the ante-post betting behind Synchronised, backing this horse in an each-way punt could be the way to make the most out of the most famous of horse races – especially considering Don’t Push it followed up his 2010 win with a third place finish in 2011.

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