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."
9 December 2013Drowne waits on X-ray news
Four-star Harley at Wolverhampton
Jacob all set for Al Ferof
Sprinter prospect exciting Kempton
Winner a Strongpoint for Crawford
Hurricane honoured in HRI awards
Swan delighted with Changer
Wolverhampton to replace surface
Ground key to Topper plans
African chasing Uttoxeter spoils
Prince set for Cheltenham Gold run
Russell aims for Thursday return
Betfair goal for Trouble
Bright start for New Dawn
Twin lights up Hilly Way
Durkan stroll for Arvika
Unioniste has Lexus aim
New One heading to International
Drowne in hospital after fall
Baby in running for Warwick
Moore sets sights on Kempton
Cloud and Lantern sunk in Mile
8 December 2013Twin lights up Hilly Way
Ex-Oxx ace Mofeed lifts Cup
Kanaloa sizzles in Sprint
Dominant shocks The Fugue in Vase
Turner back in business
Faugheen in impressive strike
Flemenstar out of John Durkan
Unioniste claims Listed prize
Grugy great in Tingle Creek
V for victory for Henderson
Chance best in Becher thriller
Hinterland reigns in Henry VIII
Mullins strikes with Gitane
7 December 2013V for victory for Henderson
Twinlight out to show the Way
Wyck primed for big Aintree run
Dandino and Rock miss Vase run
Bec puzzler for Lavelle
Moore's Vino is vintage stuff
Mullins sets sights on Navan
Captain taking charge for Henderson
George plots Aintree gold rush
King out to reign in Henry VIII
Newcastle in talks over AW track
Sir champing at bit for Durkan date
Baby on board for Becher
6 December 2013Carberry sidelined for weekend
Dunaden 'back to his best'
Glance sights fixed on Cup glory
Strawbridge coy over Cloud future
Sire out to profit from Sacre blow
Queen awarded ROA honour
Three-month ban for Arnold
Contrite Butler must 'rebuild life'
Nicholls watching ground for Roque
Topper tests Future waters
Murphy hit by nine-day ban
Big field for Becher
Sacre forced out of Sandown return
Cadeaux team enjoying the ride
Lantern burning bright once more