Ante-post favourite Kitty’s Light is among 31 horses to stand their ground following the confirmation stage for the Scottish Grand National.
Runner-up to stablemate Win My Wings in the Ayr marathon 12 months ago, the Christian Williams-trained seven-year-old is well fancied to go one better after winning the Eider Chase at Newcastle in February.
With Grand National hero Corach Rambler unsurprisingly taken out, the weights are now headed by Nicky Henderson’s Dusart on 12st, with Threeunderthrufive next on the list for Paul Nicholls with a weight of 11st 7lb.
Corach Rambler’s Scottish trainer Lucinda Russell has a couple of chances in her bid to complete the National double, with 2021 winner Mighty Thunder and Your Own Story both in the mix.
The four remaining Irish-trained contenders are Gordon Elliott’s Gevrey, the Gavin Cromwell-trained Malina Girl, Liz Doyle’s Flash De Touzaine and Waitnsee for John Ryan.
Other hopefuls include Jonjo O’Neill’s Monbeg Genius, Sandy Thomson’s pair of Empire Steel and Flower Of Scotland and Chris Gordon’s Coolvalla, whose only defeat in six starts this season came when pulled up in the National Hunt Chase at the Cheltenham Festival last month.
Having seen his charge swiftly bounce back with victory at Exeter, Gordon is hoping to send him on the long journey north this weekend, provided conditions are suitable.
“Coolvalla has been a wonderfully progressive horse. We chucked him in at Cheltenham for a fun day out, but just went in too deep there,” said the trainer.
“The great thing was he came back and won a nice race at Exeter. He has been a wonderful horse for us all.
“He’s rated 135. I chucked him in the Whitbread (bet365 Gold Cup) and in the Scottish National, but he does want a bit of cut in the ground and it does say it is a drying week. If it was run on Monday, the ground would be perfect for him.
“Most of last week they said it would be dry, but it rained every day, so we’ll see what this week holds.”
Elvis Mail, Manothepeople, Undersupervision and Flash Collonges are other leading contenders.