Bristol De Mai is leading a field of up to 40 in the Randox Grand National – but the hugely popular Secret Reprieve is just a second reserve at this point.
Coached by Evan Williams, Secret Reprieve won the Welsh National in December and was kept cool in hopes of a crack in the world’s biggest steeplechase on Saturday.
However, it was unclear whether he would make the cut or not – and with only The Storyteller not being declared at the 48-hour stage, Secret Reprieve’s relationship is still sweating.
If there are non-starters before 1 p.m. on Friday, the reserve system will come into play.
Dan Skelton’s Blaklion was the beneficiary of The Storyteller’s no-show and slips into number 40. The first reservation is Some Neck by John McConnell, with Kauto Riko third and Fagan the fourth and final.
The ante-post’s favorite cloth cap will aim to give Trever Hemmings a record-breaking fourth victory in the race after the successes of Hedgehunter, Ballabriggs and Many Clouds – and his trainer Jonjo O’Neill continues his second National, having won with Don ‘t Push It.
After their dominance at Cheltenham, the Irish Battalion bring a strong squad in which Ted Walsh’s Any Second Now is well touted.
Rachael Blackmore has had a dream festival and aims to cap an incredible year at Henry de Bromhead’s Minella Times. The Gold Cup winning team is also responsible for Chris’s Dream and Balko Des Flos.
Willie Mullins is without the services of Paul Townend, who injured himself at Fairyhouse earlier this week. He is replaced on Burrows Saint by Patrick Mullins.
Danny Mullins is riding Acapella Bourgeois, and Brian Hayes is on Class Conti – with Sean O’Keeffe on Cabaret Queen.
Denis O’Regan arrives for the lap on Tony Martin’s Anibale Fly, who has performed well in the race twice before and has also been placed twice in the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Leading amateur Jamie Codd rides the Milan Native, with Sean Flanagan on Tout Est Permis