Brassil counting on Seven for Grand National assault
Martin Brassil is aiming for another crack at the Crabbie's Grand National with Double Seven, who is among 126 entries for the big race on April 9.
The 10-year-old was sent off joint-favourite for the Aintree spectacular in 2014 and eventually finished third, but he subsequently missed the entire 2014-15 season.
He returned to action at Punchestown on New Year's Eve and has since run again over hurdles at that track last month.
"Double Seven is grand," said Brassil, who won the National in 2006 with Numbersixvalverde.
"He's had the two runs over hurdles, but it is hard to know what to make of them because he is not a soft-ground horse.
"We are taking it one step at a time at the moment and we won't really know where we are until he runs in a race when the conditions are right for him. He wants nice ground.
"I'm not sure what we are going to do between now and Aintree. He could have a run over fences, but we will see how he is."
Willie Mullins has entered seven for the National, including Cheltenham Gold Cup contender Don Poli and dual Festival winner Sir Des Champs.
Ted Walsh has two contenders in Seabass, who finished third in the race in 2012 for Katie Walsh, and the classy Foxrock, while Gordon Elliott's entry is spearheaded by Ucello Conti and Causes of Causes.
Further notable contenders from Ireland could include Gilgamboa, 2014 Gold Cup hero Lord Windermere and Irish National winner Thunder And Roses.
Last year's winner Many Clouds also features, with the Aintree showpiece attracting the highest number of entries since 2008.
Oliver Sherwood's stable star chased home Hennessy Gold Cup winner Smad Place at Cheltenham last weekend and will be attempting to emulate Red Rum, who was the last horse to win back-to-back Nationals in 1973-74.
Dr Richard Newland's 2014 winner Pineau De Re, who became the first horse since 2002 hero Bindaree to win another contest after taking the famous race when scoring over hurdles recently, is also on the list.
Five of the first six horses home last year are entered again, with runner-up Saint Are (Tom George), fourth Alvarado (Fergal O'Brien), fifth Shutthefrontdoor (Jonjo O'Neill) and sixth Royale Knight (Newland) all engaged.
Dual King George winner Silviniaco Conti is Paul Nicholls' standout possible, with Triolo D'Alene in for Nicky Henderson and Soll heading David Pipe's team.