When you’re looking for a horserace to provide a fitting narrative the Grand National rarely fails to disappoint. After last year’s Tony McCoy-tribute date this year belonged to the latest member of one of the sport’s most reputable families.
Donald McCain, son of the great trainer Ginger McCain, saw his chaser Ballabriggs take victory in a race that will be remembered for the tragic events that meant two horses met their end over the fences at Aintree.
Ballabriggs went into the race as a 14/1 shot and a number of the bookies will have been relieved that McCain was victorious.
Betfred spokesperson Mark Pearson was one these, and said, “Incredibly a McCain winner at Aintree was an alright result for us. However a win for AP McCoy, Sir Alex Ferguson’s horse What A Friend, or Silver By Nature would have been a disaster. Silver By Nature turned into the gamble on the day.”
This was echoed by totesport correspondent George Primarolo, who commented, “In terms of turnover, betting on this year’s Grand National was excellent and offering five places as an each-way concession was very popular. The actual result of the race was a small winner to us so we’ll take that given that Oscar Time and The Midnight Club would have been far worse.”
“It was obviously great to see the McCain family win the race once more and especially pleasing for Donald who has emulated his father in training a Grand National winner. Ballabriggs is now 16/1 favourite to win next year’s race and if any family know a thing or two about training multiple winners of the race, it’s the McCains.”
Primarolo also added, “the whole meeting was encouraging for a pool perspective with turnover up on all three days.” Compared with the previous year there was an overall increase of 11.7%, turnover was up 7.8% on Friday and the day of the race itself saw an increase of 3.3%.
Betfred weren’t looking good after the first day, but as Pearson explained the rest of the week more than made up for it.
“Day One was a shocker with Big Buck’s, Zarkander and Baby Run. After a bad start to the meeting we got our heads above water and after avoiding huge payouts on the National we are pleased. Credit to Aintree for creating such a good three day meeting.”
Leading sports betting exchange, Betfair, were also present at the meeting, and spokesperson Tony Calvin explained, “Trade was very good on the National, in line with our expectations. Ballabriggs returned at over 18-1 on Betfair, compared to the industry SP of 14-1
“Our unique in-running betting was also very popular on the race and at one stage Oscar Time was backed at 1-5 to win
“It was good to see Donald McCain win the race, his family ties giving the win, and horseracing, more media exposure.”
Victor Chandler spokesperson Charlie McCann, however, explained that although the winner of the race was a good thing, they lost out slightly.
“The winner was a decent result but the places meant that overall the race was a small loser. If you backed the favourite each way you would be kicking yourself if you didn’t bet with Victor Chandler,” he said.
Although McCain was a personal highlight for McCann, who commented, “I remember interviewing Donald before the 2004 Grand National in Cheshire and although his name was not on the door he was the brains behind the McCain’s 4th National win and I feel justice was done when Donald saddled the winner in his own name on Saturday. A great family with Aintree in their blood and a great result.”
Overall the sports books seemed happy with the three-day meeting and will now look forward to the 2,000 and 1,000 Guineas later this month.