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Monbeg Dude favourite for Haydock Grand National Trial

Well Refreshed slammed Rigadin De Beauchene and Monbeg Dude in this event 12 months ago but was a big disappointment in the Welsh National last time out. Trainer Gary Moore reported that his horse came back sick after the Chepstow race but that the signs are encouraging for this week.

The participation of Well Refreshed, previous a close third in the London National at Sandown, hinges on his final serious piece of work this week and a subsequent scope. The ten-year-old is now 12lbs higher in the handicap than last year.

Rigadin De Beauchene has pulled up on both of his subsequent starts but Monbeg Dude ran the best race of his career when winning a Grade 3 chase at Cheltenham last time out. Racing off a 10lbs higher mark than at Chepstow, he moved up easily to challenge Theatre Guide at the last before going away to win by a length and a quarter.

Connections were delighted with his jumping and he also showed that he does not necessarily need heavy ground to show his best form. The handicapper has raised him a further 8lbs for that success as he bids to advertise his Grand National claims.

Donald McCain’s versatile performer Across The Bay heads the 18 acceptors having battled to victory here in December. He could be joined by stable companion Sydney Paget while Peter Marsh Chase winner Wychwoods Brook is also in the field.

He was all out to beat Vintage Star and Merry King with the third horse making eye-catching late progress. Jonjo O’Neill’s seven-year-old was racing in a first-time visor that day and had looked well beaten before staging a late rally.

Welsh National runner-up Hawkes Point could represent Paul Nicholls who has endured a frustrating couple of weekends with many of his stable stars having to settle for place money. He had stable companion Tidal Bay just behind him at Chepstow and is sure to relish this thorough test of stamina.

Emperor’s Choice landed a gamble at Ffos Las for the in-form Venetia Williams stable but he was pulled up here in December. Scottish National winner Godsmejudge and Lucinda Russell’s Nuts N’ Bolts are other interesting contenders for Saturday’s big betting race.