Ballabriggs to Return in Becher Chase

11/16/2012 - Trainer, Donald McCain, has confirmed that his tremendously popular 2011 John Smith’s Grand National winner, Ballabriggs, will make his seasonal reappearance back at the scene of his greatest triumph when contesting the Becher Chase at the Liverpool track on December 8, writes Elliot Slater.

Now approaching the veteran stage of his career, the 11-year-old famously beat Oscar Time to land a big gamble in the ‘world’s greatest steeplechase’.

He won the race for the first time for his handler, whose late father, ‘Ginger’, had become forever associated with the marathon event through his exploits with the three-time winner, Red Rum, in the 1970’s, and decades later with Amberleigh House in 2004.

Last spring, Ballabriggs was fancied in the Betfair horse racing news to put up a bold show in the defence of his crown and ran very well off a 10lb higher mark, getting outpaced on the second circuit before keeping on steadily from the second last to eventually finish sixth behind the last-gasp winner, Neptunes Collonges           

Lightly raced these days, the gelded son of Presenting is clearly at his best over the awesome Aintree fences and Donald McCain reports his beloved charge to have been shaping well in training ahead of his return to the fray next month.

McCain also confirmed that his high-class Cinders And Ashes, winner of last season’s William Hill Supreme Novices Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival and already a leading fancy for the Champion Hurdle back at Cheltenham in March, will make his seasonal return at Newcastle seven days before Ballabriggs returns to the fray.

He will race in the Grade 1 Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle, a contest that is seen as a key early trial for horses with aspirations to reach the top of the hurdling tree.

A horse with limitless potential, McCain is convinced Cinders And Ashes will be a key player in two-mile hurdles division this season.

Don’t forget: if you’re looking for a horse to punt on this festive season, visit the King George VI chase betting page for the latest from Kempton.

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