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Gold Cup hero Synchronised heads a big field in search of Aintree Grand National glory

CHELTENHAM Gold Cup hero Synchronised heads a maximum field of 40 for the John Smith's Grand National at Aintree on Saturday.

Tony McCoy's mount, trained by Jonjo O'Neill, will bid to become the first horse since Golden Miller in 1934 to win the Gold Cup and Grand National in the same season.

All the other leading fancies are in the final line-up, including last year's winner Ballabriggs, trained by Donald McCain.

He will attempt to be the first since Red Rum, trained by McCain's father Ginger, to land back-to-back victories in the world's greatest steeplechase some 36 years ago.

On His Own, the mount of Ruby Walsh, heads Willie Mullins' team while the Irish jockey's sister Katie will be aboard Seabass for their father, Ted Walsh.

Nina Carberry, who is also bidding to become the first female rider to win the race, will be aboard Organisedconfusion for her uncle, Arthur Moore.

Among the other major contenders are Giles Cross, West End Rocker, Junior, Cappa Bleu, Chicago Grey and Killyglen.

Le Beau Bai has been withdrawn, and connections had warned earlier in the week the ground may not be soft enough for the Welsh National winner, who was a top-priced 40-1.

Always Waining, who runs in Friday's Topham Chase instead, was the only other defector from the 47 qualified five-day entries.

That means Hello Bud and Neptune Equester can now take their chance.

Four reserves were declared - the first reserve being Any Currency followed by Our Island, Abbeybraney and Smoking Aces. They have until 9am on Friday morning to get a run.