Finian's chasing gold
Eight declared for John Smith's Melling Chase
Last Updated: 11/04/12 11:18am
Finian's Rainbow: Heads the Melling Chase field
Nicky Henderson's Queen Mother Champion Chase hero Finian's Rainbow heads a field of eight for the John Smith's Melling Chase at Aintree on Friday.
The nine-year-old tackles two and a half miles for the first time over fences though he did win over the trip as a novice hurdler and won the two-mile Maghull Novices' Chase at this fixture 12 months ago.
One of his main rivals is expected to be Albertas Run, second to Riverside Theatre in the Ryanair Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.
Jonjo O'Neill's 11-year-old took this prize in 2010 and was runner-up to Master Minded last year.
Forpadydeplasterer, second to Albertas Run in 2010, tries again and Tom Cooper's horse is the only Irish-trained contender.
Paul Nicholls runs both Kauto Stone, who will be reunited with Paul Carberry, and Poquelin while the list is completed by Ferdy Murphy's Kalahari King, Peter Bowen's Pure Faith and Wishfull Thinking, trained by Philip Hobbs.
The three withdrawals at the 48-hour final declaration stage were Cue Card, Medermit and Tartak.