Longhouse Poet advertised his Randox Grand National claims with victory at Down Royal on Friday.
Martin Brassil’s charge was one of three Aintree entries, along with Roi Mage and Farclas, to line up in the Bluegrass Stamm 30 Chase over three and a quarter miles.
Longhouse Poet was sent off the 7-4 favourite in the hands of JJ Slevin, with Farclas next best at 7-2, but the latter was pulled up at an early stage.
The market leader was prominent throughout and took it up with three to jump before Roi Mage headed him approaching the last.
However, Longhouse Poet put in a better leap at the final obstacle, allowing him to pull a length and a quarter clear at the line.
Brassil – who won the National in 2006 with Numbersixvalverde – said, “He needed to do that. JJ had a bit of a mishap with him in Fairyhouse in the Bobbyjo (unseated the first fence), so we wanted to get them to gel a bit more. It would be (important) when you are going around there (Aintree).
“He jumped great and handles the ground and it was lovely to see. He was (value for the winning margin), you would never know how much you have left with him as he just only does enough. When something comes to him, he stretches them a little bit again.”
Longhouse Poet finished sixth in last year’s National and Brassil is hoping for an improved effort this time.
He added: “He did (run a cracker for a long way in the Grand National). He probably over-raced himself, he was very fresh on the day. That’s why I wanted to get a race closer to the National into him, so he wouldn’t be too buzzed up.
“Darragh (O’Keeffe) gave him a great ride (in the Grand National), he had a fantastic round of jumping and all roads lead back there now.”
Longhouse Poet is a best-priced 20-1 with Paddy Power for the National, with Tuesday’s Cheltenham winner Corach Rambler the general 7-1 favourite.
Select any odd to add a bet