Ballabriggs ensured the most famous name in Aintree history was in lights again as he grabbed John Smith’s Grand National glory for Donald McCain, son of Ginger McCain, trainer of the legendary Red Rum
The 10-year-old (14/1) was prominent throughout and appeared to be running on empty after the final fence as Oscar Time loomed, but found more to win by two and a quarter lengths.
Tony McCoy gave last year’s winner Don’t Push It every chance and the top weight put up a gallant defence of his crown to finish third, with State Of Play fourth.
Winning jockey Jason Maguire had to pass the doctor on Friday after a bad fall and was in danger of missing the ride, just as he had with Silver Birch in 2007, when he decided to stay loyal to McCain’s Cloudy Lane.
For the trainer, it was the culmination of an ambition to join his father, who added to three Red Rum victories by sending out Amberleigh House to score in 2004, on the roll of honour.
He said: "It’s just fantastic for all involved. I’ve been associated with the Grand National all of my life and I felt really involved with Amberleigh House.
"He is a big, honest horse. You only have to look at him to know he would be a quality staying chaser. We thought that many years ago.
"Jason even got off him when he got beat in a novice chase at Catterick and said he might be a National horse one day. We’ve always thought this might be an Aintree horse. He’s an absolute pleasure to deal with."
A tearful Ginger McCain added: "It just proves that a good trainer can come from anywhere, despite the breeding! Aintree always comes up with wonderful stories and it is the case again today."
Winning owner Trevor Hemmings, who also landed the race with Hedgehunter in 2005, said: "It’s great. I had my heart in my mouth, but it has all worked out. To follow in the footsteps of his father, Donald must be a genius."
Maguire added: "This is crazy. I’ve got to thank Donald, Mr Hemmings, my mother and father, everybody. It’s a dream come true. I’m overwhelmed.
"I got him to the front to get him relaxed and put breathers into him, and that helped him get the trip."