Ballabriggs and Big Fella kings of the reliable Grand National finishers
After all the build up to the Grand National there’s nothing more frustrating that seeing your representative tumble or ship their rider with the race in it’s still infancy so it pays to back a steed who comes with a higher degree of completion insurance. Among this year’s field What A Friend, 50/1, Big Fella Thanks, 40/1, Seabass, 9/1, Sunnyhillboy, Ballabriggs, 20/1, Cappa Bleu, 12/1, Oscar Time, 33/1 and Swing Bill, 50/1, all completed the course on their last attempt at the Grand National.
Conversley Weird Al, On His Own, Tatanen, Treacle, Chicago Grey, Quiscover Fontaine, Rare Bob, Becauseicouldntsee and Viking Blond all came a cropper in last year’s race.
Whilst some members of the latter group were brought down in the melee rather than falling unhindered, it nonetheless reflects that their travelling position in the race was fraught with danger which they were unable to avoid.
Among our group of reliable types there is a hardcore of multiple completers including Big Fella Thanks, Ballabriggs, and Swing Bill sure to give backers a bang for their each way buck.
Ballabriggs won the race back in 2011 and followed up with an honourable sixth last year, Big Fella Thanks has place sixth, fourth and seventh in his last three Nationals, whilst Swing Bill was 10th in 2013 and posted a fourth on his last run over the big fences in the December’s Becher Chase.
The 2011 winner clearly has the sharpness of wit and reaction to negotiate the thrills and spills of the 40 runner cavalry charge and rates an excellent each way proposition. He is rated 2lbs better by the handicapper than when taking the race and carries 5lbs less than when sixth in 2012.
Big Fella Thanks finds himself with 5lbs more weight to carry this yea, but has been in excellent form since his move to Tom George finishing third in the Becher Chase over the National fences in December and first and second since.
When it comes to the most reliable sorts over the National fences, no discussion would be complete without a mention of Always Waining, 40/1. Peter Bowen’s chaser may never have taken part in the Grand National, but he’s won three consecutive Topham Chases – a max-30-runner affair over the same obstacles – and steps up to 4m4f for the first time this year.