Second in this race last year behind Double W’s with the re-opposing Bun Doran (now 3lb worse off) nearly four lengths away in third, Nicky Henderson’s charge seems to come good in the spring and followed that effort with two excellent seconds on consecutive days at Ayr.
Down 7lb in the ratings this season (and off a 3lb lower mark in this race), Theinval signalled a return to form at Cheltenham last month when fourth to Le Prezien in the Grand Annual despite being hampered four out and is fancied to turn the tables on the bold-jumping runner-up Gino Trail on slightly better terms.
Moreover, he seems to like Aintree having won a competitive handicap hurdle at this meeting in 2015.
The David Pipe-trained King’s Socks looks an interesting rival dropping back in trip after finishing fifth to The Storyteller at Cheltenham where he travelled strongly up to the second last on only his second start in this country.
The six-year-old is potentially well handicapped on his second to Arkle winner Footpad over hurdles at Auteuil in June, 2016 even if a little flattered that day.
Tip: Theinval (6/1)