Early Aintree faller Lake View Lad tops 31 remaining hopefuls for the Coral Scottish Grand National at Ayr.
Nick Alexander’s grey, who made it as far as the first fence in Saturday’s Grand National, may be granted the opportunity to make amends in the Scottish equivalent eight days later.
Lake View Lad will carry top weight of 11st 12lb if taking part on Sunday, just above Harriet Graham’s hugely consistent top handicapper and new big-race favourite Aye Right in a race which appears set to feature a strong home challenge.
In the notable absence from Monday’s confirmations of the well-touted Galvin – Northern Ireland trainer Ian Ferguson’s Cheltenham Festival winner, unbeaten over fences this season – Takingrisks may yet bid to retain the crown he claimed in the last running of this race in 2019.
Nicky Richards’ veteran was pulled up behind Minella Times at Aintree two days ago but features among the possibles – alongside Sue Smith’s shock Cheltenham Festival winner Vintage Clouds, in the Trevor Hemmings colours also worn by Lake View Lad.
Others who catch the eye, in a race whose maximum field is 30, are Paul Nicholls’ trio of Truckers Lodge, Highland Hunter and Soldier Of Love as well as Brian Ellison’s Eider Chase winner Sam’s Adventure and Notachance for Alan King.
Lucinda Russell bolsters the chances of an overdue home success, with her Midlands Grand National runner-up and Edinburgh National winner Mighty Thunder the likeliest of two contenders from her Perth and Kinross yard ahead of Big River.
She said: “Both Mighty Thunder and Big River are in there.
“Big River needs soft ground, so we’d have to have a wet end to the week (for him to run).
“Mighty Thunder is in very good form and has come out of his Uttoxeter race very well, and I think he’s suited by these marathon trips.
“We’re just getting excited now. We’ve got a week to get him right for Sunday.”
The Coral Scottish Champion Hurdle is also a feature race on the card which has been put back 24 hours because of the funeral of the Duke of Edinburgh on Saturday.
Iain Jardine’s Voix Du Reve tops the weights in that limited handicap, for which there were 12 confirmations.
Among them are three more for Nicholls – Sussex Champion Hurdle winner Diego Du Charmil, Scaramanga and Thyme White.
Neil Mulholland’s Milkwood is the likely favourite after finishing third in the County Hurdle.