Last year’s winner Don’t Push It heads a maximum field of 40 runners in the John Smith’s Grand National at Aintree on Saturday.
The 11-year-old gave multiple champion jockey Tony McCoy an emotional first victory in the world’s most famous steeplechase 12 months ago, and bids to repeat the dose under top weight.
Ante-post favourite The Midnight Club strives to provide Irish champion trainer Willie Mullins with his second taste of National glory, with his jockey Ruby Walsh seeking a third success.
British champion Paul Nicholls is still winless in the marathon contest but has a strong hand this year, headed by Gold Cup fourth What A Friend, part-owned by Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson.
Oscar Time is bidding to give owner Robert Waley-Cohen and jockey Sam Waley-Cohen a huge double following the Gold Cup triumph of Long Run.
Backstage, Silver By Nature, Donald McCain’s Ballabriggs and Big Fella Thanks are other major contenders, while three horses in the field proper have been removed at the declaration stage.
Northern Alliance, Roll Along and Our Monty will not face the starter, meaning Royal Rosa, Skippers Brig and Golden Kite are now guaranteed a run.
Always Waining is the first of four reserves and connections will be praying one of the 40 runners is withdrawn before the 9am deadline on Friday.
Faasel, Le Beau Bai and Giles Cross are the other potential substitutes.