The nominations for the 2013 Grand National Steeplechase (4500m) are headlined by undefeated jumper Bashboy who will be aiming for his second straight victory in the $250,000 race at Sandown on Sunday.
Bashboy will face a maximum of six other runners with the reigning Australian Jumper of the Year appearing to have a stranglehold on the race.
The son of Perugino has been flawless over jumps since making his debut in a maiden at Warrnambool in 2010 and has recorded victories in the Mosstrooper Steeplechase (3600m), Hackeray Steeple (3450m) and Crisp Steeple (3900m) this campaign.
Bashboy will compete over the testing Grand National circuit at Sandown for just the second time in his career but that will hold no fears for connections after he recorded a seven length victory in the race last year.
Kirribilli Gold is the second highest rated horse included in the Grand National Steeplechase nominations and will be taking part in the race for the first time.
The Robert Smerdon-trained gelding has raced well this campaign, which included a win on the flat at Sandown in May, but will still need to find several lengths of improvement to worry Bashboy after he finished twelve and a half lengths behind the champion in the Crisp Steeplechase.
Cats Fun has finished second behind Bashboy at his last two starts and will be making his Grand National Steeplechase debut after finishing fourth behind Black And Bent in the Hurdle variation of the race in 2011.
The rising eleven-year-old is the only jumper to have finished within three lengths of Bashboy, since his narrow victory on debut, and may be suited by the extra distance on offer in the Grand National.
The 2013 Grand National steeplechase field is rounded out by Patrick Payne-trained Chaparro, eight-year-old Half Moon Rising, tough mare Makena Lei and New Zealand-trained Riviera Star.
See below for the full 2013 Grand National Steeplechase nominations with the final field and barrier draw due out on Thursday
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2013 Grand National Steeplechase Nominations
Sandown Racecourse – 28/07/2013
|2||CATS FUN||Jarrod McLean||136|
|3||CHAPARRO (NZ)||Patrick Payne||124|
|4||HALF MOON RISING||Graeme Smith||131|
|5||KIRRIBILLI GOLD||Robert Smerdon||137|
|6||MAKENA LEI||Pat Hyland||115|
|7||RIVIERA STAR (NZ)||Brett Scott||125|