Weird Al - Wetherby 29.10.2011

Weird Al fell at the second-last in the Grand National at Aintree

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National-bound Weird Al to start in Charlie Hall

LAST year's bet365 Charlie Hall Chase winner Weird Al could make his seasonal reappearance in the Wetherby Grade 2 on November 3, with a return to Aintree for the John Smith's Grand National, in which he fell at the second-last this year, his big target.

Having joined Donald McCain last season from Ian Williams, Weird Al won the Charlie Hall, before finishing third in the Betfair Chase, pulling up in the Gold Cup and finishing his season at Aintree.

Speaking to The Weekender for an exclusive blockbuster stable tour, McCain said: "We will start off in the Charlie Hall Chase and, having changed a couple of things in his training, I hope we can get more consistency this season.

"My thoughts at the moment are that we have twice been to the Gold Cup and he didn't enjoy it so we will make the Grand National his target."

McCain has an enviable record in the race his family name is synonymous with and on this year's run, McCain added: "Coming to the second-last he was still going well when hampered, which caused him to fall."

To read Donald McCain's thoughts on Peddlers Cross, Overturn, Cinders And Ashes, Ile De Re and a whole host of exciting youngsters make sure you pick up a copy of The Weekender - available to buy from Wednesday

As sporting sights go, few match the sheer excitement of 40 horses thundering towards the first fence at Aintree for the John Smith's Grand National.

A race steeped in history that always provides a story, the Grand National is the ultimate test of endurance and skill for both horse and jockey, as the pairing must navigate 30 treacherous fences, and then still have enough stamina to make a challenge on the run-in.

To manage a clear round in the 4m4f epic is no mean achievement, with the fences notoriously difficult and offering unique challenges.

Over the years, there have been countless memorable moments, Devon Loch's phantom leap in the 1956 contest, Foinavon's shock 100-1 win in 1967 and the brilliance of Red Rum, who took the chase on three occasions in 1973, 74 and 77.

In 1981 Aldaniti and Bob Champion completed a heartwarming tale when winning the race, as Aldaniti had recovered from a career-threatening injury while jockey Champion had battled back from cancer.

In 2011 the race provided another fairytale story as Donald McCain emulated his father and Aintree legend Ginger when winning with Ballabriggs - and that came just a year after champion jockey Tony McCoy finally gained victory in the race at the 15th time of asking.