THERE'S sure to be heightened interest in the outcome of tomorrow's Grand National Trial at Haydock following the surprise news that Paul Nicholls' top weight, Tidal Bay, is out of the Aintree showpiece.
The Lexus Chase winner was reported by Nicholls to have suffered a "tiny stress fracture" which rules him out of the big race on April 6.
The development came just hours after confirmation that Paul Carberry will be reunited with Monbeg Dude in tomorrow's Betfred Trial after a merry-go-round of jockey bookings for Haydock's big race. Carberry delivered one of his hold-up specials on Michael Scudamore's stayer to secure a famous victory over hot favourite and weekend rival Teaforthree in the Welsh National early in January.
Scudamore was placed in a slightly difficult position as Carberry was initially unavailable, leaving him to book his brother Tom instead.
"They (owners) wanted Paul, but it looked as if he would be riding at Gowran on Saturday instead," Scudamore explained.
"I wasn't quite sure if Tom would be available, I booked him, but when some of the races at Gowran were called off, Paul became available and I'm happy to have him."
Gowran Park was forced to abandon its three races over fences due to the chase track being waterlogged and the featured Red Mills Chase will now be run at Navan on Sunday. Officials at Gowran have moved quickly to safeguard the fixture by dividing one of the hurdle races and a bumper.
Robbie Hennessy's Rubi Light has won the Red Mills Chase for the last two years and, despite the switch of venue, the trainer indicated that his charge will bid for the hat-trick.
Willie Mullins has a couple of challengers to Rubi Light, while the champion trainer has sent Twigline to Sandown to contest today's featured Jane Seymour Mares' Novices' Hurdle.
Despite being sidelined for well over two years, the six-year-old made a most impressive Irish debut at Fairyhouse in November and now tests the water at Listed level for the first time.
Twigline, which like leading mare Quevega and Thousand Stars, is owned by the Hammer and Trowel Syndicate, will be partnered by Ruby Walsh.
The leading contender for the home team is the Nicky Henderson-trained Utopie Des Bordes, which was a Grade One winner over fences in France before landing a Doncaster novice hurdle for her new connections a little over a week ago.