Ballabriggs won the Grand National over these fences in 2011 when today's rivals Big Fella Thanks and In Compliance were also-rans and Hello Bud and West End Rocker failed to finish. The latter landed this 12 months ago, however, and Hello Bud was still prominent when unseating his rider at the Canal Turn so neither can be discounted. Ballyvesey finished a distant third last year while Swing Bill was pulled up, though David Pipe's grey came back to form at Cheltenham last time when beating a subsequent winner. Pipe also runs the unexposed Problema Tic, who was just behind Any Currency at Cheltenham on his reappearance, but JOIN TOGETHER may be the class act. The seven-year-old was a bit ring-rusty at Ascot last month but that was his first run outside of novice company and he looks well-weighted here on his defeat of subsequent National Hunt Chase hero Teaforthree at Cheltenham around this time last year.
BallaBriggs (IRE) 12-1 (11-9) Mid-division, hit 19th and 23rd (canal turn), headway next, 7th 3 out, kept on same pace from next, no impression, 6th of 40, 18l behind Neptune Collonges (11-6) at Aintree 4m 4f Handicap Chase (Grade 3) (7yo+) (1) gd in Apr.
Join Together (IRE) 13-2 (10-11) Held up, mistake 3rd, struggling 14th, no chance when hampered 2 out (normal 3 out), 7th of 14, 24l behind Roberto Goldback (10-10) at Ascot 3m Grade 3 hcp chs (4yo+) (1) gs in Nov.
Big Fella Thanks 5-2fav (11-12) Held up behind in touch, blundered and unseated rider soon after 8th, in a race won by Marufo (10-7) at Aintree 3m 1f hcp chs 0-145 (2) gd in Oct, 9 ran.
Problema Tic (FR) 10-1 (11-9) Towards rear, headway approachuing 16th, chasing leaders when hit 3 out, weakened before next, 5th of 16, 19l behind Monbeg Dude (10-0) at Cheltenham 3m 3f hcp chs Grd 3 (1) sft in Nov.
Swing Bill (FR) 14-1 (11-4) Held up in mid-division, steady headway 13th, chased leaders next, went 2nd 3 out, led before next and soon clear, ridden out from last, stayed on well, won at Cheltenham 3m am hcp chs 0-140 (3) gs in Nov beating Sizing Santiago (10-8) by 3l, 14 ran.
West End Rocker (IRE) 25-1 (11-8) Tracked leaders, hit 2nd, not fluent 7th, not fluent and lost place 9th, mistakes 14th and 15th, went modest 4th 3 out, went 3rd near finish, 3rd of 12, 45l behind The Package (11-1) at Wincanton 3m 1f listed hcp chs (1) gs in Nov.
Mumbles Head (IRE) 14-1 (11-9) Held up in touch, tracked leaders 4 out, went 2nd next, 3 lengths down and ridden after 2 out, rallied approaching last, no extra when lost 2nd flat, 3rd of 9, 4l behind Marufo (10-7) at Aintree 3m 1f hcp chs 0-145 (2) gd in Oct.
Poker De Sivola (FR) 18-1 (10-8) Behind, hampered 10th, struggling 13th, never near leaders, 5th of 8, 39l behind Benny Be Good (11-12) at Newcastle 3m hcp chs 0-150 (2) gs in Oct.
Any Currency (IRE) 14-1 (11-0) Chased leaders, ridden and every chance 3 out, no extra in 4th before last, 4th of 16, 14l behind Monbeg Dude (10-0) at Cheltenham 3m 3f hcp chs Grd 3 (1) sft in Nov.
In Compliance (IRE) 25-1 (11-0) Rear of mid-division, weakened from 3 out (usual 4 out), pulled up before next, in a race won by Tofino Bay (11-4) at Navan 3m hcp chs 0-150 hvy in Nov, 20 ran.
Midnight Haze 11-1 (11-5) Tracked leaders, led 14th to 16th, in touch until lost place 6 out, soon weakened, 7th of 16, well behind Uncle Junior (11-8) at Cheltenham 3m 7f crs cntry chs (5yo+) (2) gs in Nov.
Fabalu (IRE) 15-2 (10-12) Led to 5th, tracked leader, led again 11th, headed after 4 out, outpaced next, weakened 2 out, 5th of 9, 26l behind Marufo (10-7) at Aintree 3m 1f hcp chs 0-145 (2) gd in Oct.
Gullible Gordon (IRE) 25-1 (11-8) Held up in touch, pushed along and towards rear from 10th, 10th of 11, well behind Quartz De Thaix (11-12) at Haydock 3m hcp chs 0-145 (2) sft in Nov.
Hello Bud (IRE) 25-1 (11-8) Prominent, tracked leader 21st, lost place after 4 out, weakened 3 out, beaten when lost 4th last, 5th of 16, 48l behind Uncle Junior (11-8) at Cheltenham 3m 7f crs cntry chs (5yo+) (2) gs in Nov.
Minella Theatre (IRE) 40-1 (10-0) Towards rear, ridden before 2 out, kept on from last, no impression, 6th of 26, 31l behind Always Waining (10-11) at Aintree 2m 5f hcp chs G3 (1) gd in Apr.
Ballyvesey (IRE) 7-2fav (11-9) Held up towards rear, weakened from 13th, 7th of 9, 36l behind Stormhoek (11-1) at Stratford 2m 7f hcp chs 0-120 (4) gd in Aug.