Philip Hobbs insists a combination of the Welsh National trip in very testing ground made him swerve Chepstow in favour of running Rock The Kasbah in The Peter Marsh Chase at Haydock if racing survives an inspection on Saturday.

Hobbs’ inmate was the long-time ante-post favourite for the marathon event at Christmas but the Minehead handler felt three miles and five furlongs in heavy ground would have been asking too much of him.

He told Press Association Sport: “I’m not worried about the heavy ground at Haydock.

“It was a combination of the trip and the ground why we pulled him at out Chepstow.

“This race isn’t over as far and he’s won at Haydock before, so I’ve no issues taking him there.

“I wouldn’t say I’m desperate to run him but he’s ready to run.”

Nigel Twiston-Davies is another with no worries about conditions for Tintern Theatre, a fine winner at Kempton over Christmas.

“He would have gone close at Cheltenham in December but he unseated,” said the Naunton handler.

“Last time out he won really nicely. He’s definitely going the right way and I’m not worried about the ground at all.”

Captain Redbeard could ensure he is entered for the Randox Health Grand National by making his presence felt in the race.

The nine-year-old was a comfortable six-length winner of the two-mile-seven-furlong Tommy Whittle Chase at the Merseyside venue before Christmas, but he will be stepping up in trip.

Trainer Stuart Coltherd said: “It took us by surprise the way he won the Tommy Whittle. It looked the obvious chase to bring him back for this, so we’ll see if we can repeat it.

“The way he won, I can’t see the extra couple of furlongs being a problem and he handled the ground last time.

“Depending on how he runs, he’ll probably get an entry for the National.”

Forest Des Aigles arrives on the back of three wins in as many starts so far this term, most recently lifting a Bangor handicap chase by six lengths – despite making a mistake at the last.

Peter Scudamore, assistant to trainer Lucinda Russell, said: “He’s done very well so far but it’s a big step up or him, although the ground wouldn’t be a worry as he likes it soft.

“His price is probably a fair reflection of his chance. He made a mistake at the last fence at Bangor last time, but still won well so he deserves his chance at a race like this.

“He works like a good horse at home, but the proof of the pudding will be in the eating.”

Popular 12-year-old Highland Lodge has had just one outing this season, finishing third in last month’s Becher Chase at Aintree, and trainer James Moffatt expects conditions to suit.

He said: “He’s in great nick and showed his well-being in the Becher, so we’re looking forward to it. I think the race will suit him – a flat track and soft ground.

“With the Grand National not being in his sights now we are freed up to give him a more traditional season, with his end target being the Topham.”

Walk In The Mill has been on an upward curve for Robert Walford this term, winning at Ascot in November before finishing third in a Listed heat back at the Berkshire track when last seen.

Walford said: “Everything’s been good since his last run and he’s in very good form.”

Fine Rightly makes the journey from trainer Stuart Crawford’s County Antrim base, crossing the Irish Sea for the first time since finishing down the field in the Scottish Grand National last April.

Crawford said: “The ground holds no fears for us and hopefully he will handle Haydock.

“He’s a proper winter-ground horse. He likes heavy ground, so I don’t think he would get his conditions at Aintree.

“Over the last six or seven years, the National ground probably wouldn’t have been for him.”