As the racing world turns its attention from Cheltenham to Aintree, a horse bought by a "well-oiled" Mike Tindall is emerging as an early favourite for the Grand National.
Monbeg Dude, which was acquired by the Gloucester rugby's player/coach without him even facing the ring, is quickly gaining interest because of its royal and celebrity links, experts say.
The horse is part-owned by three professional rugby players, including Zara Phillips's husband Tindall, and the trainer Michael Scudamore.
Yesterday Scudamore, who is preparing for the National on April 5, admitted that having high-profile owners was generating extra interest but said he would not be distracted by it.
"I've not been feeling much pressure really." he said. "This horse has been a great servant to us and he doesn't owe us anything. There is a bit more interest because of who's involved. That's not our fault," he said. "We are in a very lucky position and we will try to enjoy it as much as we can."
The trainer recalled that it was his brother, Tom, who first thought Monbeg Dude could be a horse to go to war with in a National.
"I think it was his second start over fences, Tom rode him to finish third round Newbury and said to us that day he gave the impression he was going to be a National horse," he said.