DAVID Pipe expressed his delight after Soll moved up the list to guarantee a place in the Crabbie’s Grand National at Aintree on Saturday.
The giant ten-year-old was seventh in the Aintree spectacular two years ago when trained by Jo Hughes and also safely navigated the famous fences in last season’s Topham Chase.
He has been revitalised since switching yards at the start of this season, winning good prizes at Exeter and Newbury on his last couple of appearances, and Pipe is excited about running him on Merseyside this Saturday.
While Soll will definitely make the cut having moved up to number 38 following the confirmation stage, stable companions The Package, a winner at the Cheltenham Festival last month, and Broadway Buffalo, both need defections as they sit 44th and 45th in the list.
The Pond House handler told www.davidpipe.com: “It is great that Soll has made the top 40 for the Grand National on Saturday. He is an intended runner and Tom Scudamore will be on board.
“Our other entries in the National, The Package and Broadway Buffalo, both need horses to come out to get in but they would take their chance if they happened to get in, while Standing Ovation will almost certainly miss the cut.
“The Package holds an entry in the Topham on Friday and may go there, although the Scottish National and Bet365 Chase at Sandown are other possibilities. He seems to have come out of Cheltenham in flying form and is evergreen at the age of 12.
“Broadway Buffalo has the same two options if he does not make the cut on Saturday.
“Both Soll and The Package schooled over our Grand National style fences this morning and they jumped nicely as you would expect of horses with experience of the big race.”
Ante-post favourite Shutthefrontdoor is one of 65 horses still in contention for the Aintree spectacular.
Despite having been off the track since winning at Carlisle in November, Jonjo O’Neill’s eight-year-old looks set to go off a warm order for the world’s most famous steeplechase as he bids to give legendary jockey Tony McCoy a second National triumph before his retirement.
Last year’s Cheltenham Gold Cup hero Lord Windermere remains at the head of the weights for trainer Jim Culloty, who is also set to run Spring Heeled.
Rocky Creek is the major hope among four contenders for champion trainer Paul Nicholls.
The Ditcheat handler is also set to run Unioniste, Rebel Rebellion and Mon Parrain, but has decided against Benvolio.
He could join Sam Winner in the Scottish National later in the month. Nicholls said on Twitter: “Benvolio is going to miss Aintree this year and go to Ayr for Scottish GN on the 18th if the ground is soft enough.”
Nicky Henderson will not have a runner after confirming Hadrian’s Approach would miss the race and the rest of the season. He said: “Hadrian’s Approach will not run in the National as he has a leg injury and unfortunately he’ll miss Ayr (Scottish National) as well, so I’ll have to pull up for the season with him.”
Major contenders still in the mix include last year’s one-two, Pineau De Re and Balthazar King, and Cheltenham Festival winners The Druids Nephew and Cause Of Causes.
The last horse now guaranteed a run in the 40-strong field is Royale Knight, ahead of Baileys Concerto and Duke Of Lucca on the same weight of 10st 2lb.