It’s that time of year when the excitement for the Grand National starts to build. With the 2019 entry deadline just days away, trainers and owners are planning their route to Aintree.

Among them is trainer Rebecca Curtis. She is hoping that Joe Farrell will make the cut when the weights are announced in February. Despite being ten years old, Joe Farrell is very lightly chased. With only six starts over fences under his belt he has done well. He has won two and placed in two more.

But what makes Joe Farrell special is that he won the Scottish Grand National in April. Beating Ballyoptic by a nose to cross the line, it was a huge payday for connections. Walking away with £122K was incredible for a horse who, up until then, had only earned £21K throughout his career.

That win was on the back of another triumph at Newbury a month earlier. As a result his rating had increased from 124 to 135. That rose again to 142 and with that a possible place in the 2019 Grand National.

A setback has prevented him from making his seasonal return. However, he is now back in training but won’t run before the weights are released. To put that into perspective, 142 was the lowest rating of any of the 2018 runners. The honour fell to Delusionofgrandeur who only made the cut as a reserve. Of course, it always depends on who and how many ultimately get entered. The higher the calibre of runner, the harder it is to make the cut for those on lower ratings.

Curtis said: “He was back in late, but I haven’t got anything planned for where his prep run will be. We’re aiming at the Grand National.

“If he doesn’t get in, we’ll go for the Scottish National again.”

Bookmakers seem reasonably confident in Joe Farrell’s ability to line-up and have installed him at ante-post odds of 33/1.