Brooke changing tack with Across The Bay

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HENRY BROOKE hopes a reversal of tactics will pay off today when the Tadcaster-born mother is reunited with Across The Bay in the Grand National.

The 23-year-old, whose family now live in Middleham, led the 40-runner field for most of last year’s racing before the horse’s stamina ran out on the run to the second last.

However, Brooke hopes a more conservative approach will suit the horse after discussing a plan of attack with his boss, Donald McCain, whose Ballabriggs prevailed in 2011.

McCain’s father Ginger won four Nationals thanks to the legendary Red Rum and Amberleigh House 10 years ago, a proven record that gives Brooke even more confidence.

“Last year, I was very excited and nervous. This year I’m looking forward to it because I know what is happening,” the jockey told The Yorkshire Post.

“I made too much use of him last year. This time we will try and do the opposite. I will try and keep him mid-div, certainly on the first circuit.

“For him to get the four miles, he will need to be off the pace and then creep into it like Auroras Encore last year.

“Once we came across the Melling Road for the final time, I couldn’t go with the leaders so I just tried to get the horse home.”

Brooke and Across The Bay were slightly fortunate to have survived a bad blunder at the third last year, but the jockey says the horse has not looked or felt better on the gallops this week.

“He made two bad mistakes last year and he did get away with them because the new fences did help,” he added.

“After that, he was almost foot perfect. If he does make a mistake this year, it could help rather than hinder him because it will wake him up. I can’t wait. I think he has a great chance and I know what to expect.”