Ballabriggs handed same weight as previous Grand National success
Rewind two years and Ballabriggs could be seen repelling the challenge of Oscar Time at Aintree to secure another memorable Grand National win for the McCain family.
That victory came off 11st and Ballabriggs has been given an exactly identical race weight this year as he bids to become the first multiple winner since the third of Red Rum’s triumphs in 1977.
It is 33/1 that Ballabriggs accomplishes this feat and punters should write him off at their peril.
He lost nothing in defeat 12 months ago when he was raised 9lb for his Grand National victory in the previous year, jumping the final fence with every chance before fading slightly surpassing the elbow to finish sixth.
Unlike in recent years, Ballabriggs has already run twice in the current season, pulling up at Aintree in the Becher Chase and then finishing last of seven at Warwick over a largely inadequate 2m4f.
The good thing about these performances are that they have aided Ballabriggs slipping slightly down the weights, while he travelled strongly in both races before seemingly getting caught short of a bit of race fitness.
Any remaining rust should have been disposed of by the time Aintree comes around, especially if Donald McCain opts to run Ballabriggs in the Premier Chase at Kelso, which has become a regular stop-off on the way to the National in the last two years.
A weight of 11st is additional good news given that looking back across the last five Grand Nationals, 16 of the 20 horses to have finished in the first four have carried 10st 11lb or more.
The clear factor that is against him is his age, as no 12-year-old has even managed to finish in the each-way places in the last eight years.
But Ballabriggs is quite lightly raced for his age and even if his best days are slightly behind him, he is not without an each-way chance at a reasonably big price for a horse with proven Aintree form over the National fences.
All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date