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Across The Bay the pick of the weekend’s Grand National trialists

| 14.02.2014

The inclement British weather could yet see Wincanton’s all-hurdle meeting abandoned, but the pick of this Saturday’s racing involves Grand National trials at Haydock and Ascot, which are both likely to go ahead on heavy ground.  

With that in mind, Donald McCain’s noted mudlark, Across The Bay, looks tremendous value at 10/1 with Ladbrokes to win the Betfred Grand National trial at 2.55 at the Merseyside track.

The top weight may be giving a few pounds apiece to 5/1 co-favourites Our Father and Hawkes Point, but McCain’s Irish-bred inmate has won his last two around Haydock and has never finished outside the top four in his quartet of career runs there.

Across The Bay has emerged victorious in four of his last five races on heavy ground and the bottomless conditions expected in the north west will suit the Bob’s Return gelding perfectly.

The 10-year-old went well for a long way in last year’s Grand National before hitting two of the last four fences and looks well treated at 10st 11lbs in the weights at present.

McCain’s father Ginger won April’s steeplechase showpiece four times with the legendary Red Rum and Amberleigh House, while junior readied 10-year-old Ballabriggs for Aintree success only three years ago, so the 33/1 currently available about Across The Bay emulating those victories rates a cracking each-way price.

At Ascot, 16/1 Grand National co-favourite Teaforthree can put down a marker for Aintree in just his second run since finishing third behind Auroras Encore last April.

Rebecca Curtis’ Oscar gelding ran a cracking race to finish second behind Monbeg Dude in similar conditions en route to his 2013 National tilt just over a year ago.

Tony McCoy – who was on board Teaforthree that day – will miss this race due to commitments at Haydock, but Noel Fehily steps up to take the ride for the first time and the County Cork jockey should prove an able deputy for the Northern Irish horseman extraordinaire, as he has many times in the past for trainer Jonjo O’Neill.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Alex Fortune