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14 Feb 2011 | 19:15
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Ballabriggs in Becher shake-upHeadlines
Ballabriggs

Ballabriggs, the 2011 John Smith's Grand National hero, is among 23 entries for the Betfred Becher Handicap Chase at Aintree on Saturday.

Donald McCain's 11-year-old, who was sixth behind Neptune Collonges in the National last season, could be joined by stablemate Fabalu.

The last two winners of this race, Hello Bud and West End Rocker, feature in the list.

Dessie Hughes has won this race twice in recent years, with Black Apalachi in 2008 and Vic Venturi in 2009, and the Curragh trainer might be represented by In Compliance this time. The 12-year-old has completed the course in all of his three previous visits to the Liverpool venue.

Sixth in the Topham Chase in April 2010, he finished a distant 13th to Ballabriggs in the 2011 John Smith's Grand National and was a creditable fifth last season.

"We'll have a look and see what's in the race," said Hughes.

"He's been around there twice in the National, so he knows the place."

Tom George has two likeable sorts in Desperate Dex, winner of both his starts this term, and Big Fella Thanks, who was fourth in the 2010 National.

Among a fascinating list of staying chasers are Alfie Sherrin, Join Together, Planet Of Sound, Saint Are and Swing Bill.

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Fiesolana fired up for Foret

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