GRAND National week arrives and there's little Cumbrian interest with Martin Todhunter's runner BAGAN unlikely to run - eight horses below the cut-off point of 40 runners imposed for safety reasons.

Formerly with Charlie Mann, Bagan would have been an itneresting runner of a featherweight, but without a place in the race, iwe're left to look elsewhere.

Any half-fit jogger will tell you that switching from a 10k race to a 10 miler leaves you gasping at just the thought, and in some cases that is just what is asked of horses going for this daunting four and a half marathon.

To be quite honest anything used to tackling two and a half miles (unless some minor deception is planned) is likely to be crying enough by the end of the first circuit around a demanding course such as Aintree.

Staying types who have won over three miles plus and have been staying on at the close of their races merit interest.

This year nothing has been more convincing than Ken Reveley's RAMBLING MINSTER, who put some good stayers right in their place at Haydock. He's a bit long in the tooth at 11 years old, but he's very fairly treated.

Interestingly, he had Character Building behind him at Cheltenham earlier in the season, and that horse was a major fancy for this race before being pulled out last week.

It looks an open race though and as usual the Irish are to be highly respected, though the fact that Ruby Walsh has plumped to ride Peter Nicholls' MY WILL suggests the Celtic tiger has not got its usual bite.

MY WILL's fifth to Kauta Star at the Cheltenham Festival is top-class form, but horses who run at the Festival and Aintree seem to come unstuck.

He was given a very judicious ride behind Madison de Berlais at Newbury beofre then, when Snoopy Loopy finished ahead of him. But he is better than that and the official handicapper would give him at least 7lb more judged on his Gold Cup effort.

Back to the Irish and POMME TIEPY, a classy type earlier in his career, looks a non-stayer, and IRISH INVADER has also won over much shorter and is passed over by Ruby W, who probably had the pick of Willie Mullins's entries before he sided with Nicholls.

Phillip Hobbs has a nice stayer in PARSONS LEGACY, who skated up at Cheltenham in October before being pulled up behind Mon Mome at the Festival and there is the added bonus that he's done his winning on good ground.

The fair weather this week means that there will be a soundish surface at Aintree and a lot of horses who like to get a toe in will be found out.

Parsons Legacy is one to note with the conditions in his favour, though again he is getting on a bit as another 11-year-old.

STATE OF PLAY has a touch of clas, having won a Hennessy in his time, and is still only nine. He has been staying on at the end of his races and is 2lb better in than when winning at Wetherby from the useful yardstick Ollie Magern. On the debit side he looks held by CLOUDY LANE, though that was on soft ground and he is patently much better on a firmish surface.

There's stil la bit of work to be done but at present PARSONS LEGACY looks backable.