Ginger McCain was and still is a National Hero – today is the first National that he will not be here with us at Aintree but he is sure to be there in spirit.  His son Donald and the stables National hero Ballabriggs can make that jump today to being stuff of legends too. Crockford will give his full assessment of the big race later.

The supporting card for the National also throws up some interesting contests with Cheltenham heroes reappearing in the form of Simonsig, Sprinter Sacre and Rock on Ruby. However, many a gamble has been lost in the past assuming Cheltenham form will convert into winning performances at Aintree. Simonsig and the imperious Sprinter Sacre should not be under too much of a threat but Rock on Ruby could be the weak link.

Crockford’s Dead Cert – Ballabriggs (Grand National 4.15 Aintree)
Crockford does not think that this selection is just sentiment but a little more risky than his usual certainities. Ballabriggs looked in good form on his appearance at Kelso taking on good horses. He is clearly well suited to the course and has no question marks except the weight which he should be able to carry. Come 4.30 this afternoon with the fairytale written and even the new bust of Ginger smiling down on the winners enclosure the 14/1 you could get this morning would look massive. 

Crockford’s Whisper – Dee Ee Williams (5.05 Aintree)
The Giffords are also a family who know what is to win on National day but their fancy today will not be in the National but the 5.05. Dee Ee Williams is very talented at his best and has won over course and distance before – four weeks ago at Cheltenham he had a very encouraging run which will make the strong whisper for him attractive at around 16/1.

Crockford’s other gambles on National day –

Aintree – Aland Islands (1.45), Sprinter Sacre (2.15), Thousand Stars (2.50), Cannington Brook (3.25), Ballabriggs (National 4.15) and Dee Ee Williams (5.05)
Lingfield – Royal Peculiar (2.30), Talwar (3.05) and Prohibition (5.45)
Newcastle – Trade Commissioner (5.00)
Wolverhampton – Alkadi (8.45) and Ring for Baileys (9.15)
Chepstow – Ulch Du Lin (2.35), Minella Stars (3.45), Round the Horn (4.50) and Tarquinius (5.50)