God's in a class of his Own at Aintree
God's Own can make it back-to-back victories for Tom George in the JLT Melling Chase, the feature event on day two of the Grand National meeting.
The nine-year-old comfortably disposed of Al Ferof in this Grade One event 12 months ago and he has enjoyed a similar prep this term.
George is no fool and knows there is little point in ploughing away with this one in the deep winter months as he really does seem to put his best foot forward when conditions are on the quicker side.
God's Own managed to squeeze in three runs before Christmas, with his one-and-a-quarter-length third to Un De Sceaux in the Tingle Creek the undoubted highlight of those outings, before taking a break while the mud was flying.
Reappearing in the Champion Chase, God's Own looked about to take a real hand in the finish before he made a mess of the second-last and was found wanting up the hill.
Who is to say what would have happened but for that mistake, but God's Own is known as a spring performer and should be capable of turning the Cheltenham form around with both second Fox Norton and fourth Top Gamble, particularly as this extra half-mile is right up his street.
The Worlds End looked likely to take a hand in the finish of the Albert Bartlett only to fall at the penultimate flight, but he can gain compensation and make it a double celebration for George in the Doom Bar Sefton Novices' Hurdle.
He had just really kicked for home at Cheltenham but got the second last all wrong and paid the price.
As long as that fall has not left a mark, The Worlds End can put up another bold show.
River Wylde can follow in the hoofprints of illustrious stablemate Buveur D'Air by winning the Crabbie's Top Novices' Hurdle.
Buveur D'Air finished third in last year's Supreme before taking this Grade One event and River Wylde is out to emulate that result for Nicky Henderson.
River Wylde was soundly beaten by Labaik at Cheltenham but he kicked for home plenty early enough and perhaps the Cheltenham hill was his real undoing as he clouted the last and only just held on for minor honours.
A flatter track like this should play to his strengths and compensation surely awaits for this admirable type.
Henderson should also be on the mark in the Betway Mildmay Novices' Chase as he has two strong chances in Might Bite and Whisper.
The pair fought out a memorable finish in the RSA Chase at Cheltenham last month with Might Bite seemingly throwing away a decisive advantage when hanging right across the track in the closing stages.
He got back on top in the shadow of the post, winning by just a nose, and while Might Bite is clearly far from straightforward, he is a class act and should bring up the double here.
Bouvreuil ran well enough to finish third at Cheltenham and can step up on that in the Randox Health Topham Handicap Chase while Runswick Royal can land the opening Alder Hey Children's Charity Handicap Hurdle.
He enjoyed one of his finest moments when second in a Grade One at this track four years ago and is seemingly back on form now.
Lalor is the pick in the Weatherbys Private Bank Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race following an impressive success at Wincanton last time out.
Nap: God's Own
Double: The Worlds End
Treble: River Wylde
Yankee: Might Bite