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Last Updated: Monday, 5 April, 2004, 09:52 GMT 10:52 UK
Amberleigh to defend title
Amberleigh House wins the Grand National
Amberleigh House will defend his Grand National crown at Aintree next year, his trainer Ginger McCain confirmed.

The 12-year-old improved on his third place finish in 2003 by storming past Clan Royal on the run-in to claim the prestigious prize on Saturday.

"Amberleigh House is a very tough, professional little horse," said four-time National winner McCain. "We will go back for another crack next year.

"The plan will be the same with the Becher Chase and the National in mind."

Amberleigh House has a good record at Aintree - the only blip coming in his first appearance at the National in 2001 when he was brought down.

You have to have a fair bit of luck around Aintree
Winning trainer, Ginger McCain
McCain says the secret of the horse's success is partly that he favours the Aintree course.

But the Cheshire-based trainer is reluctant to draw comparsions with his previous charge, three-time National winner Red Rum.

"There are some similarities between the two but it would be an unfair comparison to make," said McCain.

"Amberleigh has been round those big fences seven times and he's really never even made a semblance of a mistake.

"I wouldn't really want to compare the two but I do know you have to have a fair bit of luck around Aintree.

"Liverpool horses are what count, most of those that finished in the placings were Liverpool horses."

Fourth-placed Monty's Pass, who won the blue riband event last year, will also take another tilt at the title next year.

20-1 Clan Royal, Lord Atterbury
25-1 Amberleigh House
33-1 Monty's Pass
Barry Geraghty took the 11-year-old passed the finishing post 34 lengths further back than the winner but trainer Jimmy Mangan says he will be back.

"The National would be the main target next season," said Mangan.

"He's a real Aintree horse and he doesn't handle normal fences as well as those at Aintree."

Willie Mullins is already considering entering Hedgehunter into next season's race despite his heavy fall at the last fence.

"It looks like he can handle the course so we may go back there but employ different tactics next time," said Mullins.

"He was a bit tired at the last but I think that was probably because he had been up there in front."

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