The 48-hour Grand National declarations saw Joe Farrell sneak into the race at the foot of the weights (10st 2lbs) for Rebecca Curtis. The horse is trained near Newport and will bid to become the first Welsh trained winner of the race in over a century.

The 10-year-old won last year’s Scottish National and ran a great trial when runner up in his last start at Newbury – albeit only a fortnight ago – carrying 24lbs more (11st 12lbs) than will be the case on Saturday.

Ladies’ Day at Aintree begins with a two-and-a-half-mile handicap hurdle and Knight In Dubai (1.45) ran a much better race than his finishing position would suggest at Cheltenham last time. Trained by Dan Skelton the horse was a bit keen and saw too much daylight on the outside for much of the race but took it up going to two out before fading on the run to the last.

The handicapper has seen fit to drop him 1lb and the each way selection is 14/1 with BetVictor who are paying five places on the race.

The first Grade 1 contest on the card is the Novice Hurdle over the minimum trip of two miles. Aramon will appreciate today’s slightly better ground but Felix Desjy (2.20) is another who I feel ran a much better race than the formbook would suggest at Cheltenham last time.

The each-way selection (13/2 with BetVictor) is another who should appreciate today’s easier track and he was, arguably, the only danger to facile winner Klassical Dream from some way out in the Supreme last time. Today’s better ground should suit Gordon Elliot’s novice who is 13/2 with BetVictor and gets the vote in an open, but perhaps not top-class, renewal.

RSA Chase winner Topofthegame (4/5 with BetVictor) is odds on to supplement his Cheltenham Festival success but I feel Top Ville Ben (2.50) may be able to cause something of a shock for Phil Kirby.

The each way selection only got as far as the sixth at Cheltenham but showed he was over that mishap when scoring at Wetherby in the interim period.

I’m not convinced either Chris’s Dream or Lostintranslation are in their element over three miles whereas I feel Top Ville Ben) will be staying on when others have cried enough. The selection is 14/1 with BetVictor and is another each way recommendation.

Waiting Patiently (3.25) was no match for the top-class Cyrname at Ascot last time but has his optimum conditions this afternoon and trainer Ruth Jefferson fits her stable star with cheek-pieces for the first time.

The selection is 9/4 with BetVictor and can beat last year’s 1-2 Politologue (5/2) and Min (3/1). All three of the main protagonists will not have been inconvenienced by yesterday’s rain.

The Topham Chase is one of my favourite races of the season and my two against the field are Ballyhill and Call It Magic (4.00) with marginal preference for the latter who is trained in Ireland by Ross O’Sullivan.

The selection failed to get home when fourth in the Becher Chase (3m 2f) here in December but today’s drop back in trip to 2m 6f will suit and he is another each way selection at 12/1 with BetVictor who are betting five places on the race.

Emitom (4.35) has been brought along steadily by Warren Greatrex and steps up in trip to 3m for the first time in the Grade 1 Novice Hurdle this afternoon. The selection has a bit to find with the likes of Champ and Dallas Des Pictons, who both finished runner up at the Festival, but the winner is a horse of some potential and at 5/1 with BetVictor is another each way recommendation.

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