Four weeks today we'll know the winner of the 2014 Cheltenham Gold Cup but the Grand National is the focus at Haydock tomorrow where the Betfred Grand National Trial (2.55) is the highlight on the card.
Welsh National form is represented by Hawkes Point (second), Merry King (fourth) with Red Rocco and Well Refreshed both pulled up while Emperor's Choice won the West Wales National at Ffos Las a fortnigtht ago. You know, I can still see Well Refreshed winning this event last year despite jumping straight through the final flight as though it wasn't there...
16/1 chance Wychwoods Brook upset several more fancied runners when taking the Peter Marsh here four weeks ago (Merry King third); that was a decent show from Evan Williams' novice who was formerly with Graeme McPherson. There may be more to come but Our Father is one that hasn't really lived up to lofty expectations.
My search for a runner at an each-way price led me to consider, amongst others, Loch Ba and Soll. The former ran creditably in Warwick's Classic Chase five weeks ago; he has a tendency to throw in the odd howler once in race but the trip and ground should pose no problems - at 9/1 his price is about right. Soll finished seventh in the Aintree showpiece last year and connections have the same target this year. The horse has form on heavy but the handler has indicated his charge doesn't appreciate it which is why, I assume, he's priced at 20/1.
I'll take an each-way interest in Loch Ba, trained by Mick Channon, having formerly been with Hen Knight.