Doncaster’s 888Sport Grimthorpe Chase field has been depleted due to the heavy going.
Both last year’s winner Chidswell and the promising novice Boldmere have been taken out by Nicky Richards and Caroline Bailey respectively on account of the testing conditions.
Definitly Red and Saint Xavier, whilst declared, were only in the race as a second preference and are set to run at Kelso instead.
Dr Richard Newland has been saving Aaron Lad for the spring, but the unseasonably soft ground might not be in his favour despite a win on heavy last time out.
“He’s very well and we’ve been looking forward to putting him into handicap company,” said Newland.
“We’re going up in trip a bit, so we’ll just have to see how he gets on. I’m not sure he’d want it too heavy, that’s the thing. I know he won in pretty deep ground last time, but that was only a small race.
“We’ve been minding him with the spring handicaps in mind and he’s in good form, so we’ll see how he gets on.
“Good to soft would have been ideal. He’s not a quick horse, but he stays well. he’s not very big, though, so this ground might expose him, we’ll see.”
Neil Mulholland’s Cesar Et Rosalie carries bottom-weight, but is not without a chance given how the form of his penultimate run worked out.
He was beaten eight lengths by Copperheard at Wincanton, but the winner is now one of the favourites for the RSA Chase and Mulholland’s charge was only carrying 2lb less.
“On bits and pieces of his form you could give him a chance,” said Mulholland.
“The time before last looks good now given what Copperhead has done and obviously our own horse Fingerontheswitch was second and he’s won at Kempton and nearly won the Great Yorkshire Chase (Sky Bet Chase) since.
“He came down last time and picked up a nasty cut ,which is why he hasn’t run since Christmas.
“It was heavy ground that day and he was still travelling well – although it was a long way from home – but at least if the ground gets very testing he should be OK on it.”