04/03/2004 1:00AM

Amberleigh House victorious


Twenty seven years after he saddled Red Rum to win his third Grand National, trainer Ginger McCain won the race again, as his 16-1 chance Amberleigh House swooped late at Aintree racecourse to land the $643,800 first prize.

Always a vociferous fan of the 12-year-old Amberleigh House, McCain, 73, had felt for some years this was his best chance of another win in the famous race.

Thirty-nine runners started, and it was Hedgehunter who took the lead and stayed there virtually all the running until falling at the last of the 30 obstacles. That left the race between Clan Royal and Lord Atterbury, but Amberleigh House, who had made progress in the rear from halfway through, finished with a vengeance to take the lead 100 yards from home in the 4 1/2-mile race.

Amberleigh House finished three lengths ahead of Clan Royal, one of the four co-favorites. Lord Atterbury was third.

An ecstatic McCain said after the race, "I never thought I'd win another Grand National, but this has been the greatest thing I have experienced for a long time. Amberleigh House is such a professional horse - he jumps so positively."