Familiar face waits for Across The Bay 
at Aintree

Balthazar King, left, Imperial Commander (centre) and Across The Bay, right, in action during the Grand National Day at the 2013 John Smith's Grand National Meeting at Aintree. Picture: David Davies/PA.
Balthazar King, left, Imperial Commander (centre) and Across The Bay, right, in action during the Grand National Day at the 2013 John Smith's Grand National Meeting at Aintree. Picture: David Davies/PA.
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MIDDLEHAM jockey Henry Brooke is to be reunited with Across The Bay for a third tilt at the Crabbie’s Grand National.

The former champion conditional had fallen out of favour with trainer Donald McCain, whose father Ginger trained the legendary Red Rum to three Aintree wins in the 1970s.

However, top jockey Jason Maguire’s injury misfortune has seen McCain turn to Brooke with Wilson Renwick booked to ride stablemate Corrin Wood who is co-owned by Guiseley businessman Dermot Hanafin.

Across The Bay and Brooke made much of the running in the 2013 renewal before fading in a race won by Sue and Harvey Smith’s Auroras Encore. The same combination led the field past the winning post on the first circuit last year before a riderless horse on the inner forced Across The Bay wide as the field headed out into the country on the second circuit. His chance was gone.

Though Across The Bay was brought down at the Cheltenham Festival last month, McCain reports the horse is “in good order”.

Meanwhile, David Bass will ride Kim Bailey’s The Rainbow Hunter – the horse which chased home the aforementioned Auroras Encore minus his jockey Aidan Coleman.

The horse has parted company with the luckless Coleman in the last two renewals and Bass rode his Aintree mount on the gallops yesterday.

“He nearly ran away with me. I told Kim it was as though he was two or three, he’s got so much enthusiasm,” he said.