Nick Kent will send out his first runner in Graded company when his stable star Erne River bids to extend his unbeaten in the first race of the Grand National meeting.
The seven-year-old is available at 9/2 in the Grade 1 SSS Super Alloys Manifesto Novices' Chase and connections are targeting a fifth straight success in a streak that started with novice hurdles wins in March and May of last year before switching to fences in time for the current season. You can flollow the action via our Sports Live Streaming platform.
He returned with a six-length handicap novice chase victory ahead of Beakstown in January before justifying odds-on favouritism on testing ground when winning by 13 lengths on his last run at Wetherby the following month.
Kent made the call to give him a rest before a potential late spring campaign, with an entry into the 13:45 at Aintree his next port of call.
Jockey Charlie Hammond will remain on board the gelding as he steps up to Grade 1 level for the first time.
The North Lincolnshire-handler believes everything is in place for a strong run on Merseyside, with the hope being that the ground firming up since he was last seen something that will only add to his chances.
"Everything's gone to plan since Wetherby," said Kent. "I couldn't be happier with him. We were always worried about him on soft and heavy ground, and then he won on it over hurdles at Warwick.
"The ground was a real concern again at Wetherby but he went and did it well. Charlie Hammond every time he gave him a squeeze, he kept finding. He may prefer better ground but he's fairly versatile.
"He's a real personality and he seems to love his racing. He really wants to do it and I don't think we could have dreamt he'd progress as dramatically as he has."