Giles Cross beat subsequent Aintree hero Neptune Collonges in the Betfred Grand National Trial 12 months ago and returns to Haydock to defend his crown.
A subsequent disappointment at Liverpool, the 11-year-old was also pulled up in the Welsh National on his return.
"I feel very happy going into Saturday's race. He's had an uninterrupted preparation since the Welsh National. The horses are coming to form and the going will be heavy, which is an added bonus," said handler Victor Dartnall.
Trainer Michael Scudamore is thinking in a different direction with Monbeg Dude, who was given a tremendous waiting ride from Paul Carberry to defeat the reopposing Teaforthree in the Welsh National.
Scudamore said: "He came out of the race in great form. It was probably the genius of Paul Carberry that did it, but the day after he was out in the field bucking and kicking. He hardly knew he had a run somehow, so we couldn't be happier with how he is. Paul is a masterful rider and I'll leave it up to him.
"Three miles four (furlongs) on heavy ground should be absolutely ideal for him. On a flatter track they might go that stride faster, but round Haydock in those sort of conditions will be a test of stamina and hopefully that will suit him the best."
Looking ahead with Monbeg Dude, Scudamore told At The Races: "He has a Gold Cup entry and he will have an entry in the three-mile handicap there as well. The owners are very keen to have a go in the Gold Cup if Saturday all went well and it came up heavy at Cheltenham, or certainly soft ground."
Gary Moore fields an interesting runner for shrewd owner Patrick Wilmott in the shape of Well Refreshed. A recruit from the retired Peter Winkworth, he beat Rigadin De Beauchene at Lingfield and, one fall at the same track aside, could even have landed his last four starts.
Well Refreshed took the Sussex National at Plumpton last time and Moore said: "We had always hoped he'd be a decent chaser but he fell first time at Fontwell and it took a long time to get him back. This is the best race he has run in off his highest mark, but he stays well in that sort of ground when others won't."
Brian Ellison's Neptune Equester pleased on his only outing since finishing 13th in the National, and jockey Danny Cook said: "He won over hurdles at Wetherby on his first run back. He seemed to enjoy himself and hopefully he's fresh and ready to go on Saturday."
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December date for Balding memorial
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O'Brien outlines Breeders' plans
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Wetherby-bound Taquin to duck Power
Whisky chasing Power spoils
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Moviesta has sales date
National aim for O'Neill star
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Lewis eyeing Dubai success
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Dandino misses Cup date
Panther given Breeders' go-ahead
Plain sailing for perfect Storm
Big Easy sets sail for Open fixture
Hall monitored for Giant Bolster
Stomachion in November frame
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BHA moves to address small fields
Connell turns to Heskin
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21 October 2014Storm breezes to Exeter victory
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Heron seeking Great prize
Court to go on Trial
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Dan makes chase debut
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Grands Crus retired
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Park favourite for Trophy hunt
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Commemorative bound for Breeders'
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20 October 2014Chelmsford City handed 58 fixtures
Alderwood to take two-mile test
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Hennessy aim for Clouds
Fiesolana on Breeders' trail
High-class possibilities for Trophy
Chelmsford City handed 57 fixtures
French option for Maarek
Billy back for chasing bow
Judge to bid for Breeders' glory
Pipe mulls Moon target
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Judge in Breeders' frame
Hill stars for Stoute and Moore
Gabriel lifts Garnet for Deegan
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Stars shines on hurdling debut
King big guns ready to start
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19 October 2014New One breezes to victory
Lavelle has Becher plan for Lodge
Riches heading on road north
Down Royal plan for Tiger
New makes Kempton return
Panther hunting Canadian prize