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Trainer Tommy Carberry was pragmatic about the task facing Bobbyjo after the 1999 winner was yesterday set to carry 11st 6lb in the Aintree Grand National on April 8th. Bobbyjo carried 10st to victory and Carberry said: 'I hope he has improved because last year his long handicap weight was 9st. He jumped Liverpool super last year but you need everything to go right for you again like it did then.

'I was very pleased with the way he ran over hurdles last time (his first start of the season). He may run over fences between now and the National but you don't want to show your cards too soon!'

Tony Martin, who has two entries in the race, said: 'Unfortunately Linden's Lotto is on the easy list and he will miss the National - we hope he will be back for the Galway Plate.

'But Hollybank Buck has been aimed at it for a while and I would be happy with 10-4. He will go for the three-and-a-halfmile race at Haydock later this month and then hopefully on to Aintree.'

'That sounds reasonable,' was Willie Mullins comment on Micko's Dream being given 1010. 'Aintree is very much on the cards and he is in good form at the moment.

'We are still discussing plans but he could run at Thurles on Thursday in a two-and-half-mile Listed chase. I think he could go well in the National as he jumps well and should handle the track.'

However, Ted Walsh was much more downbeat about the chances of Papillon. 'There would be no plans for him, the way he is running at the moment,' he said.

Handicapper Phil Smith was delighted that he was able to include 66 of the 99 entries in the handicap proper. He was speaking at yesterday's unveiling of the weights which saw the Peter Beaumont-trained Young Kenny head the field with 12 stone.

Despite his welter burden, Young Kenny assumes the mantle of 12 to 1 favourite for a race connections have been aiming at all season.