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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Mukhadram 'sore' after York
Slade 'unlikely' to run at Haydock
Tiggy takes Lowther by storm
Haggas strikes again at York
Signs good for big Estimate run
Power chases Nunthorpe double
Spencer announces shock retirement
Long bans for Cooper and Gagan
Abandon makes Hopeful return
Alga goes for Gimcrack glory
Yar makes Ebor cut
O'Brien keen on Champion double
Brooch dazzles in Ruby
Game Postponed dominates Voltigeur
Hill scratched from Leger prep
Dutch delivers in Acomb
Blaine works his magic
Byron bids for Curragh Renaissance
Smullen sweet on Anthem chance
Taghrooda ready to wow York
Power heads Nunthorpe field
20 August 2014York enthralled by wizard of Aus
Zarkandar in Ces reckoning
Gosden ponders Cambridgeshire plan
Gal set for easy spell
Estimate leads Lonsdale eight
Glance seeking Lowther glory
Tasaday ready for York test
No tactical concerns for Tag team
Toast ride relinquished by Spencer
Blue is the colour for McCreery
Hill in peak form for Voltigeur
Certain claims clear-cut success
Prince aiming for Acomb glory
Champagne target for Belardo
Telescope team eye Group One glory
Australia camp expect trip to suit
Anthem takes Lowther test
19 August 2014Duke aiming for York reign
Tag tops Oaks field
Matron on Thawaany agenda
Halford anticipates Tosc boost
No hurry for Panama plan
Millman plots weekend Celebration
Overbury role for Dunaden
O'Brien calls on two for Oaks
Newmarket entry for Abandon
O'Brien has some Australia concerns
Pale Mimosa at Ebor summit
Baitha remains in Gimcrack hunt
Anodin fired up for Foret
Moore given Hill role in Voltigeur
18 August 2014Fallon back on Tuesday
Celebration time at Goodwood
Wonder to return to top table
Maximilian in Flying form
Nonette is Maid to measure
International call-up for Australia
Leger dream over for Elite Army
Angel is heaven sent for Tregoning
Memory saved for Doncaster
Panama makes it five on bounce
Hanagan back in business
O'Brien states Australia intention
Kingman powers to Marois glory
Tupi moved up in Boutin
Hawkesbury lame after defeat
Barron hoping for Knavesmire rain
Irish Champion go-ahead for Amralah
Wow factored into Morny picture