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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Dreaper an Amigos ally
Maguire ruled out of National
Sirius camp ponder rise in trip
Solar powered up for Classic charge
Guest treads cautiously with Chrome
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Botti aims high with Naadirr
Flemenstar pleases on comeback
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Bolger rates Lucida highly
Angel in the Hunt for Cup honours
Mullins weighs up Aintree options
Hannon readies Classic team
McCoy rules out Punchestown
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Hannon aims high with Windshear
McCoy thrills on Ascot farewell
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Jacob ripe for Pineau ride
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Aintree on God's radar
29 March 2015Hero makes his mark for O'Meara
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Ferof in hunt for Aintree riches
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Chrome given Royal summons
Flemenstar unplaced on return
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Gabrial just divine in Lincoln
Naadirr strikes to take Trophy
Sole switches on late power
Tullius has to pull out the stops
Romsdal up and running
Panther pounces for Gold
28 March 2015Prince Bishop rules the World
Prince Bishop rules the World
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Jack firmly in Trophy hunt
McCoy honoured with Celebration
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27 March 2015Romsdal returns at Kempton
Solow flying high for Head
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Panther primed for big Gold run
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