Ballabriggs given hero’s reception

DONALD MCCAIN already has one eye on next year’s John Smith’s Grand National with Ballabriggs following his brilliant display in the race on Saturday.

No name is more synonymous with the world’s most famous steeplechase than that of McCain, with Donald’s father, Ginger, saddling legendary three-time winner Red Rum in the 1970s, as well as Amberleigh House in 2004.

McCain jnr had now added his name to the roll of honour, and proudly paraded Ballabriggs in front of his house and the gathered media on a cloudless afternoon at Bankhouse in Cholmondeley on Sunday, with Ginger McCain also watching on in satisfaction.

“He’s tired, but he had a bit of a walk this morning,” said the Cheshire-based handler.

“He’s got a small cut on a hind leg but he’s OK. I would have thought next year will be geared around Aintree again. He’ll go for his summer break, but he may well go to the Becher Chase in November.

“We always hoped that he was going to make an Aintree horse.

“Now we know he’s taken to it, handicap marks don’t matter any more.

“I would like to think we’d be going back for the Grand National whenever, and as often as we can.”

* Conditional jockey Peter Toole is in a medically-induced coma after sustaining head injuries at Aintree on Saturday.

The 22-year-old rider suffered bleeding on the right side of his brain when 100-1 shot Classic Fly fell at the first fence during the Maghull Novices’ Chase.

Toole was taken to Fazakerley Hospital, near Aintree, but was later transferred to the neighbouring Walton Centre for Neurology and Neurosurgery.

Trainer Charlie Mann, to whom Toole is attached, said: “He’s in an induced coma and he won’t be brought out until Monday at the earliest.

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