Horseracing: McCain snaps up Ruby for Hanakham

Top Irish rider Ruby Walsh is set to partner Hanakham for trainer Ginger McCain in Saturday's Martell Grand National.

Top Irish rider Ruby Walsh is set to partner Hanakham for trainer Ginger McCain in Saturday's Martell Grand National.

Walsh had been due to attempt to repeat last year's victory on Papillon for his father, Ted.

However, with the participation of Irish-trained horses in serious doubt due to the outbreak of foot and mouth disease, McCain has wasted no time in securing the services of Walsh for the 12-year-old.

Hanakham landed the 1997 Royal & SunAlliance Chase for Ron Hodges but has not been easy to train since.

"Ruby Walsh will ride unless there is a major turnaround with the Irish horses. Hanakham needed a quality jockey and we've certainly got one in Ruby," said the trainer of three-time Grand National hero Red Rum.

"The horse is fit and very, very well - he's in first-class shape. He has definitely come on from his last run at Haydock. We have stepped him up a lot in his work since then and he has taken it very well.

"He is a class horse. If he had not had so many training problems he would have been a Gold Cup horse. As it is he has only run something like 12 races so he has not got many miles on the clock.

"He is a big price but I'm sure he will shorten up when people find out Ruby is riding."

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