After a well deserved rest from last year’s victory, Grand National winner Ballabriggs will mark his seasonal reappearance this Saturday. There is talk of using the same path he took to Aintree before, starting with The Totepool.com Premier Chase at Kelso, which he came in second previously. But he does hold two other entries,The Greatwood Gold Cup at Newbury, and The William Hill Grimthorpe Chase at Doncaster. Other prominent Grand National contenders, including West End Rocker and Junior, are said to be entering the Grimthorpe, so that might be a worthy test.
Currently, Ladbrokes has Ballabriggs at 17, West End Rocker at 21, and Junior at 15. Ballabriggs is causing much excitement as he may be the first horse since the legendary Red Rum to win the Grand National twice, and additionally he may carry top-weight for the race.
“Dad loved the idea of having a top-weight in the National. If your horse is top weight, it’s because he’s the best. Dad would have thought it was an honour.” – Trainer Donald McCain
But the strongest challenge may come from 9-year-old Willie Mullins’ trained Prince De Beauchene, who is likely to be paired with Champion Jockey Ruby Walsh. While everyone was looking for clues to the Cheltenham Festival last weekend, his six lengths victory in the Bobbyjo Chase put the Grand National, and himself, in the spotlight. This also was trainer Willie Mullins’ path to the Grand National win in 2005. He’s now the bookmaker’s favorite, with 11 at Ladbrokes, as short as 9 with Bet365.
“He showed a nice bit of improvement from Navan and I’d imagine he will go on to Aintree now for the National. He’ll like the better ground judging by the size of his feet. He did everything nicely today and I hope there will be more improvement to come from him” – Trainer Willie Mullins
So stay tuned. Wherever Ballabriggs appears this Saturday, you’ll be able to watch his performance live at Bet365.