Both Eclair Surf and Fortescue are guaranteed a place in the Randox Grand National after Caribean Boy and Farclas were pulled from the Aintree showpiece during Thursday’s final declaration stage.
Emma Lavelle’s Eclair Surf brings solid form to the table, having won the Classic Chase at Warwick before chasing home easy last week’s Scottish national hero Win My Wings in the Eider at Newcastle.
It looked like the eight-year-old would have to settle for a place on the reserve list, but he made the cut as number 39 after two unexpected defections.
Caribbean Boy was there to hand Nicky Henderson an elusive first national hit, but went undeclared after suffering a setback.
Co-owner Simon Munir posted on Twitter: “Sadly sorry to report that Caribean Boy has suffered a hamstring injury and will not be competing in Saturday’s Grand National.”
Farclas was expected to be part of Gordon Elliott’s strong side but was also undeclared, meaning Fortescue is slipping downfield for Henry Daly.
Eight-year-old Farclas, who finished fifth last year, is waiting for Fairyhouse.
Eddie O’Leary, race director for Gigginstown House Stud, said: “He’s doing great, he’s in great shape but we just want to go with him to the Irish National.
“The Irish National is a race close to our hearts so that’s where he will go instead of Aintree. He’s perfectly in his own right, we’ll just save him for Fairyhouse.”
After betting on a run missing the Scottish National last week, a delighted Daly said: “I think in the modern terminology of the text or whatever, I think it’s fine TFFT – but I’m not quite sure of what that means!
“I think it means thank goodness for it, or something like that. According to the handicapper, he’s a good 4lbs, but we’ll see how right he is.
“He’s been in good shape all season. His run at Ascot was great. He jumps and gallops and stays, and I’m not sure what else you want for Aintree because I’ve never won it, but we’ll find out on Saturday, right?”
There are four horses below him on the reserve list – Commodore (Venetia Williams), School Boy Hours (Noel Meade), Romain De Senam (David Pipe) and Roi Mage (Patrick Griffin).
The peloton is led by last year’s historic winner, Minella Times, who is again mounted by Rachael Blackmore.
Leading contenders for the world’s most famous steeplechase include pair Elliott Delta Work and Escaria Ten, Any Second Now – third last year for Ted Walsh – and Charlie Longsdon’s gray mare Snow Leopardess, winner du Becher Chase on the national fences earlier in the season. .