The build-up to the John Smith’s Grand National 2011 is gathering pace with an informative contest taking place this Saturday at Doncaster.

Of the runners taking place in the Sky Bet Chase perhaps the one that has captured the imagination of the professional horse racing backers the most is Merigo.

The Andrew parker-trained runner is currently available to back at 25/1 for the Grand National and 20/1 for the race this Saturday. With a convincing victory in the 2010 Scottish Grand National under Timmy Murphy followed by a disappointing fall in the Bechers at Aintree in November, the horse has been on the betting radar for some time but hasn’t raced since the fall.

However, this doesn’t seem to have affected the horse betting prospects for victory in the April show piece with the trainer commenting about the fall “It hasn’t dented the horse’s confidence in any way because I schooled him a couple of days after and he never missed a beat. I actually schooled him today and he was fantastic. He’s in fine form for Doncaster.”

Meanwhile, Denman remains the ante-post favourite for the Grand National with last year’s winner, Don’t Push It, still available at odds of 22/1, despite some positive murmurs from JonjoO’Neill regarding his chances earlier this week.

Another causing some ripples in the market is Niche Market which is as short as 16/1 at the moment whilst Big Fella Thanks is also reported to have attracted a little early shrewd money.