Big weekend for Ballabriggs in terms of Grand National prep
Many punters believe that Ballabriggs has the capabilities of becoming the first horse since Red Rum to win back-to-back Grand Nationals at 16/1 and a clearer indication of his chances will be known after this weekend.
Ballabriggs has been given an extended vacation since his triumph at Aintree in April, with Donald McCain allowing the horse to build his preparation at home, rather than at the racecourse.
However, he will have one run before completing his Grand National defence, with McCain preparing to send the horse down the same warm-up route as 12 months ago.
Ballabriggs is entered into the Totepool.com Premier Chase, which is the race where he chased home Skippers Brig last year.
A similar performance this year is likely to equally please connections, although off level weights he should have too much class for the likes of According To Pete and Benny Be Good, even over an inadequate 2m6f trip.
Meanwhile, a victory may be more necessary at Kelso given that Ballabriggs faces a harder task at Aintree, carrying 9lb more than the 11st he shouldered when triumphant in the Grand National last year.
Alternatively, Ballabriggs is entered into two other races this weekend, just to make doubly sure that he gets his prep run in case Kelso is abandoned for whatever reason.
He could head to Doncaster for the Grimthorpe Chase and an appearance here will see a clash with fellow 2012 Grand National runners Junior and West End Rocker.
This race is unlikely to appeal though, given that he will have to give a vast amount of weight to both runners.
The other option is the Greatwood Gold Cup at Newbury, which on paper looks the toughest of the three assignments and connections may not want to push Ballabriggs too hard ahead of Aintree.
Junior is currently 14/1 in the Grand National odds, with West End Rocker 20/1.