Plenty of chances but If In Doubt comes here fresher than most and makes obvious appeal after a luckless third in the Pertemps Final at the Cheltenham Festival last time, where he was forced to take the scenic route under Richard Johnson and then suffered multiple pieces of interference, when the winner Mal Dini hung left on the Flat. That was a career-best effort from If In Doubt nonetheless, and he looks capable of winning races now he has reverted back to hurdling (jumping repeatedly an issue over fences). Mydor, who was left with plenty to do last time at Fairyhouse and looks on a workable mark, could be the biggest danger to the selection.
This is new ground for Mystifiable, up 14 lb in the handicap in a more competitive race than he won last time at Newbury, but he has been on a steep upward curve since being returned to fences, and could easily pull out more improvement here in a race lacking in many other unexposed sorts. Knock House did not quite get in to the Grand National, but ran a decent race in the Kim Muir at the Cheltenham Festival (hampered and better than the bare result) and is respected here.
A high-quality renewal of the Grand National can go to the best handicapped horse in the race, The Last Samuri, who is effectively 12 lb well-in here after winning the Grimthorpe at Doncaster by 10 lengths after the weights were published, and with this marathon trip and jumping test expected to suit, he looks like the most likely winner and can give trainer Kim Bailey a second win in the race 16 years after he first won it with Mr Frisk. Of course there are plenty of dangers to the selection, none more so than last year's winner Many Clouds, who has enjoyed a smooth preparation for the defence of his crown this season and arrives here with every chance from a 5 lb higher mark than last year. Rebecca Curtis has hit form and The Romford Pele could outrun big odds.
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(All from Aintree)