Age statistic a Grand National negative for Ballabriggs
Donald McCain believes that Ballabriggs is a fine each-way price for the Grand National at 25/1, but to finish in the first four at Aintree, he will have to overcome a convincing age trend that indicates that this result is beyond him.
Ballabriggs was officially rated 150 when winning the National in 2011 and performed more than credibly 12 months ago when taking sixth off 10lb more, only seeing his chances diminish between the final flight and The Elbow.
The handicapper has given Ballabriggs more than a fair chance of regaining his crown by dropping his mark to a more lenient 152 this time.
And McCain believes that finishing third at Kelso on his latest start has ensured that Ballabriggs is spot on to be at his best at Aintree.
He said: “Ballabriggs has come back from Kelso in tremendous nick. It is like someone has flicked a switch. The Kelso race fits in nicely before the Grand National.”
What is also worth mentioning is that Ballabriggs has had two preparation runs this season ahead of arriving at Aintree, the same as when victorious in 2011.
Last year, he ran in the Grand National off the back of just a single start and as a result may not have been as race-sharp as he could have been.
On the flip side against Ballabriggs’ chances is now he is a 12-year-old and recent Grand National renewals indicate that this is too old to reward each-way punters.
Amberleigh House won the Grand National as a 12-year-old in 2004, but in the eight years since, no horse aged older than 11 has even managed to fill one of the top-four places.
This statistic is against a handful of 12-year-olds still remaining in the Grand National entry list after the second declaration stage, including Imperial Commander (33/1), Oscar Time (50/1), Always Waining (50/1) and Swing Bill (66/1).
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.