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Ballabriggs (Jason Maguire) wins the Grand National Aintree 9.4.11

Ballabriggs (left): continued the McCain family's outstanding Aintree record

  PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)  

2011 National winner Ballabriggs retired

BALLABRIGGS, who continued the McCain family's outstanding Aintree record when landing the 2011 John Smith's Grand National, has been retired.

The 12-year-old, who was pulled up on his final start in this year's renewal, will return to live with owner Trevor Hemmings, along with the recently retired duo of Albertas Run and another McCain stalwart Cloudy Lane.

While National glory was the highlight of a 28-race career, Ballabriggs, winner of seven races and £624,049 in total prize-money, also triumphed at the Cheltenham Festival when landing the 2010 running of the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup.

"He was a fantastic horse to train and gave us some great days," said trainer Donald McCain. "When he came to us he was a big old-fashioned chaser and we always hoped he'd turn out to be a high-class stayer.

"He started winning races and it all became about the National with him very early on. It always was the long-term aim and he got all the way there. It was seamless and he took to the place like a duck to water.

"He's a great big horse and he's had a few aches and pains since which have held him up. It's not a decision we've taken lightly, but it came down to, 'where do you go with him now?' and we decided he'd done enough."

McCain, who retired Cloudy Lane earlier this month, added: "It's sad to see them both go, but I'm thrilled with the careers they've had and that they are leaving in one piece. One won a National, the other went off favourite and they both won at Cheltenham.

"Cloudy Lane was my first ever Cheltenham winner, he was also my first runner and we soon realised it wasn't as easy as he made it seem. To have the support of an owner like Trevor Hemmings was such a huge help and both of these two helped solidify that bond."

 
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