There was victory once again for one of racing’s most famous families as Ballabriggs captured glory in the 164th Grand National.
The eyes of the racing world were focused on Liverpool’s historic Aintree course with a sold-out 73,000 crowd watching on from the stands to see which horse would successfully conquer the gruelling four mile, four furlong steeplechase.
It was Jason Maguire who etched his name in the history books, as he successfully negotiated the course to clinch victory on board 14-1 shot Ballabriggs.
However, the race was marred by the deaths of two horses – Ornais and Dooney’s Gate – who fell at the fourth fence and Becher’s Brook respectively. Their injuries forced the remaining runners to bypass those hurdles on the second lap of the course, the first time that has happened during the event.
The ten-year-old winner immediately appeared up for the
challenge, taking to the front early and staying there
throughout to hold off the valiant challenges of fellow 14-1
chance Oscar Time and last year’s winner Don’t Push It.
State of Play finished in the top four for the third successive
year, while pre-race favourite The Midnight Club failed to live
up to his billing after making a mistake at the third fence,
eventually finishing a disappointing sixth for jockey Ruby Walsh.
The win secured a first triumph for trainer Donald McCain,
whose father Ginger McCain trained the legendary Red Rum
to three Grand National victories in the 1970s, and Amberleigh
House in 2004.
Winning jockey Jason Maguire expressed his joy at the win and
praised the efforts of his horse, telling the BBC: “This is crazy.
I've got to thank Donald, Mr Hemmings, my mother and father, everybody.
“It's a dream come true. After the last I felt like something was coming up behind me and my horse was going a bit low but McCain horses never know when to lie down and he gave everything.”
Earlier in the week, jockey Paddy Brennan had tasted success in Thursday’s Totesport Bowl on board Nacarat, who ousted favourite and Cheltenham Gold Cup runner-up Denman to win. Walsh was the big winner on Ladies’ Day as he rode Master Minded to victory in the Melling Chase.
The event was once again a massive success for the city of Liverpool, with more than 150,000 people attending the three-day festival which experts predict will provide a mini economic boom for the region.
By Nicholas McGee, Sports Editor
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Ballabriggs led for the majority of the race and narrowly beat Oscar Time to the post (Pics © Trinity Mirror)
Pictures © Trinity Mirror
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