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Tom Messenger, assistant to trainer Dan Skelton, on Le Milos and Ashtown Lad National chances.

“Le Milos has got a lovely profile and it’s exciting that he’s guaranteed a run. He’s a proven stayer and although he hasn’t been over the fences before, I don’t see it being an issue.

“He’s one we’re really excited about. He won the Coral Gold Cup off 146 so he’s only 6lb higher here. I think he’s off a competitive weight and fingers crossed we get there.

“Ashtown Lad has been running well over hurdles – we’ve been running him over timber since his win in the Becher Chase at Aintree. Ideally we’d have run him over fences last weekend at Ascot but the ground was too quick, so we gave him another run over hurdles (finished third in Rendlesham at Haydock).

“He’s obviously proven his ability over fences, though he didn’t look as though he stayed at Ayr last year in the Scottish Grand National. He’s a year older and stronger now, so he’s got the option of the National or the Topham if he doesn’t get in.”

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