Donald McCain will be back at Aintree again regardless of Knock House's prospects

Marcus Armytage
The Telegraph
Trainer Donald McCain - PA
Trainer Donald McCain - PA

If there is one family inextricably linked with the Randox Health Grand National it is the McCains.

Ginger McCain, who was Mr Aintree and always used to put a sprig of spruce in his button hole when he was there, sent out Red Rum to become the only horse to win a third National exactly 40 years ago on Sunday. He followed it up with Amberleigh House in 2004.

His son Donald, who played a big part behind the scenes in the 2004 race, won it in his own right in 2011 with Ballabriggs. But in 2016, for the first time in years, there was no McCain trained runner in the National.

He had, however, previously trained The Last Samuri for three years with the race in mind until he had been removed along with a number of other horses belonging to Paul Rooney. In the belief that his former inmate was sure to win McCain decided to avoid Aintree and did not see The Last Samuri chase home Rule the World.

“I went away for the weekend,” explained McCain on Wednesday. “I couldn’t face it.”

<span>Rule The World &nbsp;jumps the last with The Last Samuri&nbsp;</span>
Rule The World  jumps the last with The Last Samuri 

But McCain will be back at Aintree next week whether or not Knock House, his only entry in this year’s race, makes the cut. The eight-year-old, is currently 50th in the handicap and needs 10 to drop out.

“He’s a nice ground horse and almost as soon as we ran him the ground went,” explained the trainer who bought him out of Mick Channon’s yard last summer.

“We had his wind tidied up and he galloped all the way to the line in a hurdle at Haydock recently. We thought he had no chance of getting in but he’s borderline now. If he doesn’t get in he’s also in the Topham and a three mile chase on National day but he’s only eight and there’ll be other years for the National. ”

McCain, who has spent the last two years rebuilding and is going great guns again with 71 winners so far this season, added: “We’ve got of nice young horses coming through now. Hopefully there’ll be plenty to take to Aintree in the years to come.” 


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