Donald McCain hopes to be triple-handed in the Aintree Grand National
Last Updated: March 19, 2013 6:10pm
Ballabriggs with McCain and owner Trevor Hemmings
Donald McCain hopes to be triple-handed in this year's John Smith's Grand National, with Across The Bay and Weird Al set to join 2011 winner Ballabriggs in the line-up.
McCain sent the latter two horses to the track for a change of scenery on Tuesday morning, where they cantered around the Mildmay course.
"That was just the job for both of them," said the trainer. "I don't know if Across The Bay is the sort of horse who will take to the Grand National but getting his wind sorted out seemed to have made all of the difference last time.
"He'd always had a bit of an issue before Chepstow, but having a big weight in a top-quality race really caught him out, so he had an operation afterwards.
"You can never be sure how a horse like him will take to Aintree but when you've got an enthusiastic bunch of owners from the North-west, it's not a hard decision to take to give it a go.
"Weird Al hasn't been running well, but that's Weird Al. He doesn't stand much racing, he doesn't like much racing, but I've kept him fresh and well.
"With The Package out, I suppose it is possible that Timmy [Murphy] might ride him again, but we'll finalise these things in the next week or so. Timmy said that he hit a couple of flat spots in last year's race but he was just coming to the end of the second one and starting to run on again when he came down, so the race has always been on our mind for him."
However McCain was in no doubt as to the pecking order among his team, with stable jockey Jason Maguire sure to be reunited with Ballabriggs.
"We don't even need to talk about what Jason's riding," said McCain. "Ballabriggs has come back from Kelso in tremendous nick and it's like someone's flicked a switch with him.
"I was thrilled with that run and we're all very happy with him at the moment."