This is a spectacular race every way you look at it, and the National fences are such a unique discipline that only the likes of Red Rum and Tiger Roll have been able to nail it to perfection, making it forever a wide-open race.
Naturally, a few horses catch the eye, and in all honesty, we will probably all have about eight or nine horses that we each end up siding with on the day. There's no shame in that as we attempt to take advantage of the generous Betfair Sportsbook extra place offers on the day so feel free to hold fire, but not on the NAP!
For now, though, I have highlighted three horses it may be worth taking a punt on. I almost wrote up Enjoy D'allen for this column given his eye-catching new owner JP McManus from the 1st of March with indeed only one intention - this race! But I'll be damned if I am heading towards the top of a Grand National market for an ante-post column piece!
NAP - Deise Aba has abundant stamina and must hit the frame!
Trevor Hemmings was synonymously known for his relationship with Aintree and the Grand National, and it would be a tremendous result should one of his two representatives, Cloth Cap 34.033/1 or Deise Aba 51.050/1, serge to the front after the last to claim victory. There wouldn't be a dry eye in the house!
Still, I am not punting on a fairytale ending as much as I would like to see one, but Deise Aba 51.050/1 does have strong claims now getting a run - confirmed by Philip Hobbs on Tuesday morning.
Deise Aba has often saved his best performances for Sandown, but since fitted with the cheek-pieces this term, other than a blip at Chepstow in the Welsh National - and it certainly wasn't the trip that posed the problem there - he has been very consistent.
Remarkably, this horse has only gone beyond three miles two furlongs just twice in his career, almost like he has been saved for one big crack at this type of test and given his strong finishing efforts over shorter and the fact he was running over 3m on just his third career start. He is open to vast improvement at this distance.
He is a horse that has strong claims for his price tag, and his jumping will hold him in good stead if getting into a rhythm, and you get the feeling there is much more to come from this lightly-raced nine-year-old.
NB: HMS Santini now in the right waters
Yes, I know I can't believe it either, but I am siding with Santini 34.033/1 because I think this slow old boat has been crying out for a National trip for a long while. That theory was confirmed by lacking the tactical speed in the Gold Cup on his latest outing, but one thing it did suggest was that he retains plenty of his old ability as he stayed on at one pace for eighth.
Santini is nothing if not an excellent jumper for all his knocks, and he could easily gain lengths at these stiff fences on his rivals should Nick Scholfield keep him wide and out of trouble. He has the back class to play a leading role here off of this reduced handicap mark of 153, and it has been confirmed that this is his target.
The more I look at him, the more I warm to his chances, and he has run two good races here, including a Grade 1 victory when backing up after the Cheltenham Festival many moons ago, so he makes the shortlist.
E/W Play: Longhouse Poet to lead the charge of the Irish
I'd be amazed if Longhouse Poet doesn't go off shorter than his current 17.016/1 with the Betfair Sportsbook. His latest run in the Boyne Hurdle at Navan can easily be excused, given he has been primed for this target all season.
He was a gusty winner on his penultimate start in the Thyestes Chase at Gowran Park, and he is ten pounds higher here off a mark of 155, but he is a horse that has always looked in need of a trip and is a shade off the ability required for a Grade 1.
It's easy to say that he may need to be a Grade 1 horse to win off this handicap mark, but this discipline, as mentioned above, is unique, and the ratings don't always transpire - Tiger Roll is a good example.
Still, he is unexposed over fences at 3m plus, and his two wins have yielded some very strong form in the context of this race. He should have no problem taking to these fences, and is a fair each-way price on the balance.