Ballabriggs makes Kelso trip
Ballabriggs has his regular prep outing at Kelso on Saturday ahead of his annual pilgrimage to Aintree for the world's greatest steeplechase.
The 12-year-old runs in the totepool Mobile Text To 89660 Premier Chase at Kelso for the third successive year before going for the John Smith's Grand National.
Donald McCain's charge was second to Skippers Brig in this two-mile-seven-and-a-half furlong heat for the first time in 2011 before landing the Liverpool showpiece .
He was then fourth 12 months ago behind Master Of The Hall at the Borders venue and went on to finish sixth to Neptune Collonges last April.
"He is in really good shape and I'm very happy with him," said McCain.
"He's probably a little bit more forward having had the run at Warwick than he has been the last twice he's run in this race. Hopefully he will run a nice race then head straight to Aintree."
Ballabriggs has a second preference in the StanJames Supporting Greatwood Gold Cup at Newbury.
Bold Sir Brian is back in action after recovering from a bad fall at Cheltenham in January.
The Lucinda Russell-trained seven-year-old had won both his previous races this season at Carlisle and Sandown and connections are optimistic of a good display.
"He had a dreadful fall last time, but he seems very well and we expect a big run from him," said Russell's assistant and partner Peter Scudamore.
"He came out of his fall very well and had no side effects from it at all."
Kim Bailey is hoping Harry Topper can show enough toe to book his ticket to Aintree after connections decided to give the four-mile John Oaksey National Hunt Chase at Cheltenham a miss.
The six-year-old has made a pleasing start to his chasing career, winning all his three starts to date.
"We made the decision not to go to Cheltenham because four miles is a long way for a six-year-old," said the Cheltenham handler.
"This gives us an opportunity to see if he is sharp enough to go to Aintree."
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