The opening handicap-hurdle on Grand National day looks to be between, Wellbeing, Noble Request, Tarlac and Neveesou with Wellbeing getting our vote. The Philip Hobbs-stable are bang in form at the moment and the race looks to be between his two runners and it is difficult to choose between them but Wellbeing was top-class on the flat, he was fifth in the 2000 Derby and beat Sakhee in a group race at Deauville. His hurdle form has been consistent if not spectacular. He comes here seeking a hat-trick of wins having won competitive, handicap-hurdles at Exeter and Newbury. He looks a progressive handicapper, can handle the ground, travels well and has bags of speed. Richard Johnson rides Noble Request for the Hobbs-stable and the jockey booking suggests that this five-year-old is the stables number one rather than our selection. However he has to give 15lbs to our selection and this could prove difficult in rain-softened ground. He was second in the County Hurdle last month but it did not look a quality renewal and he has gone up six pounds for that second. Neveesou was second in a Warwick handicap hurdle in February and unless he has improved dramatically he will not be winning this. The Nicky Henderson-trained Tarlac was group class on the flat in Germany and won a moderate handicap-hurdle on his penultimate start at Sandown. He was sent off favourite in the Imperial Cup at that course last month and finished a close up fifth, he should run a good race for Tony McCoy and has strong place claims at a potentially, decent price. However, the race looks between the two Philip Hobbs-runners and we will side with Wellbeing.
Admiral (IRE) 80-1 (11-2) Always behind, 27th of 29, well behind Desert Quest (10-10) at Cheltenham 2m 1f hcp hdl Grd 3 (1) gd in Mar.
Dusky Warbler 14-1 (11-0) Mid-division, badly hampered 5th, no danger after, 14th of 29, 15l behind Desert Quest (10-10) at Cheltenham 2m 1f hcp hdl Grd 3 (1) gd in Mar.
Noble Request (FR) 25-1 (10-11) Held up, still plenty to do after 3 out, headway on outside after 2 out, stayed on to chase winner flat, always held, 2nd of 29, 2 1/2l behind Desert Quest (10-10) at Cheltenham 2m 1f hcp hdl Grd 3 (1) gd in Mar.
Astronomic 25-1 (11-2) Tracked leaders until weakened approaching 9th and pulled up 5 out in race won by Green Tango (11-7) at Southwell 2m nov chs (2) gs in Jan, 6 ran.
Nippy Des Mottes (FR) 9-2 (11-7) In touch, outpaced after 4 out, soon ridden and beaten, 9th of 17, 15l behind Crow Wood (11-4) at Musselburgh 2m hcp hdl 0-140 (2) gf in Feb.
Bongo Fury (FR) 8-1 (11-12) Mid-division, ridden 7th and took closer order, every chance 2 out, weakened last, 8th of 15, 10l behind McBain (11-10) at Taunton 2m 3f hcp hdl 0-130 (3) gs in Mar.
Neveesou (FR) 5-4fav (11-6) Chased leaders, hit 3 out, soon led, headed after 2 out, no extra, 2nd of 5, 8l behind Gods Token (11-2) at Warwick 2m hcp hdl (2) hvy in Feb.
Beautiful Vision (IRE) 5-2 (11-12) Tracked leaders, 2nd from 5 out, ridden before straight, dropped to 4th and no impression when bad mistake 2 out, kept on same pace, 4th of 9, 16l behind Mounthenry (11-12) at Limerick 2m nov hdl hvy in Jan.
Bound 25-1 (11-1) Chased leaders in 4th, led travelling well 2 out, kept on gamely under pressure until worn down final 100 yards, 2nd of 11, hd behind Motorway (10-12) at Newbury 2m hcp hdl 0-135 (3) gd in Mar.
Tarlac (GER) 9-2fav (10-12) Mid-division, driven to challenge 2 out, weakened run-in, 5th of 21, 3 1/2l behind Victram (9-12) at Sandown 2m lst hcp hdl (1) sft in Mar.
Lord Henry (IRE) 50-1 (9-13) Tracked leader, mistake 5th, led 2 out, ridden, headed before last, weakened flat, 7th of 29, 10l behind Desert Quest (10-10) at Cheltenham 2m 1f hcp hdl Grd 3 (1) gd in Mar.
Monte Cinto (FR) 20-1 (11-0) Behind, headway approaching 2 out, kept on run-in, no danger, 6th of 21, 7l behind Victram (9-12) at Sandown 2m lst hcp hdl (1) sft in Mar.
Wellbeing 8-11fav (11-7) In touch, tracked leading pair approaching 2 out, led run-in, kept on, won at Exeter 2m 1f hcp hdl 0-115 (4) gs in Mar beating Idian Mix (10-2) by 3l, 14 ran.
Pepe Galvez (SWE) 11-2 (11-0) In touch, driven along approaching 3 out, stayed on from 2 out, went 3rd approaching last, no chance with leading pair, 3rd of 11, 8l behind Motorway (10-12) at Newbury 2m hcp hdl 0-135 (3) gd in Mar.
Salut Saint Cloud 25-1 (11-0) In rear, headway 4th to mid-division, weakened after 3 out, behind when pulled up at the last in race won by Material World (10-9) at Wincanton 2m 6f hcp hdl 0-135 (3) sft in Feb, 20 ran.
Saif Sareea 85-40jt-fav (11-5) Held up, headway 5th, led 3 out, headed after 2 out, rallied approaching last, stayed on same pace flat, 2nd of 9, 1l behind Dhehdaah (11-7) at Fakenham 2m hcp hdl 0-125 (3) gd in Mar.
Double Vodka (IRE) 7-2 (11-4) Mid-division, headway approaching 5th, chased winner approaching 2 out, hit last, kept on, 2nd of 16, 10l behind Auenmoon (11-4) at Kelso 2m mdn hdl (4) gs in Mar.
Classic Approach (IRE) 2-1 (11-6) Tracked leading pair, hit 4th, closed approaching 3 out, weakened before next, 4th of 6, 36l behind Darrias (11-6) at Cheltenham 2m 5f nov hdl (D) gd in Oct.