Jason Maguire: will ride Ballabriggs again in John Smith's Grand NationalPICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
Maguire will stick with Ballabriggs in National
JASON MAGUIRE has pinned his loyalty to Ballabriggs in this year's John Smith's Grand National with the jockey confident the 2011 winner is primed to produce his best at Aintree on April 6.
Maguire and Ballabriggs teamed up for a memorable victory two years ago before a gallant sixth behind Neptune Collonges last year in his attempt to become the first back-to-back winner of the race since Red Rum in 1973 and 1974.
Ballabriggs, a general 25-1 chance for the big race, was the subject of a bullish update from trainer Donald McCain last week and Maguire is confident enough in his ability to overlook younger stablemates Across The Bay and Weird Al.
At 12, Ballabriggs would be the oldest winner since Amberleigh House, trained by McCain's father Ginger, scored in 2004, although age does not concern Maguire.
"I'll definitely be riding Ballabriggs," he said on Sunday. "He's in great form and it was a good last run when he was third at Kelso. He's also been around the track and excels there.
"He's trained for the one race every year. He got beat at Kelso the year he won the National and this month ran a really good race there on ground that wouldn't have suited him. Plenty of 12-year-olds have won it over the years."