THIS time 12 months ago TOP GAMBLE was rated 159 by the handicapper and was running in the Grade One Melling Chase.
Kerry Lees 10-year-old has now slipped 9lbs in the weights and lines up in this afternoons Randox Health Topham Chase (4.05pm) with a leading chance for his in-form trainer at around 15.0 with BETDAQ.
Although he has yet to run over Aintrees famous Grand National fences, he is a rock-solid jumper with a touch of class.
If more rain arrives that will only help his cause and James Bowen takes off a valuable 3lbs.
The better the ground, the better the chances for Nicky Hendersons O O Seven who looks just the type for a race like this.
Henderson has a leading chance in the opening handicap hurdle (1.45pm) where he saddles the topweight Jenkins and my fancy LOUGH DERG SPIRIT.
The six-year-old looks dangerously well-handicapped off this mark of 137 and has run creditably all winter on unsuitably soft ground.
If the rain stays away he is weighted to go close and 10/1 looks a fair each-way price in a wide-open race.
Keep an eye out for Ivanovich Gorbatov if conditions do improve. He hasnt won for two years but is another lurking on a dangerous mark back on potentially better ground.
Global Citizen will be a warm order for the Betway Top Novices Hurdle (2.20pm) after spread-eagling the field in the Dovecote at Kempton last time.
He had SCARLET DRAGON a long way behind in second that day, but there is every reason to suggest that Alan Kings five-year-old can improve dramatically as that was his hurdling debut.
With the favourite currently trading at around 3.0 on BETDAQ, Id be much more interested in taking some of the 8/1 available each-way about my selection with Ladbrokes.
He is entitled to close that gap and it's not beyond all possibilities that he could reverse the form altogether.
Lough Derg Spirit e/w 1.45pm Aintree
Scarlet Dragon e/w 2.20pm Aintree
Top Gamble e/w 4.05pm Aintree