Dan Skelton could be set for a two-pronged assault on the Randox Grand National, with both Le Milos and Ashtown Lad catching the eye among the 85 entries for the April 15th contest.

Only 31 of the possible runners for the Merseyside marathon hail from British trainers, but both of the Lodge Hill contenders strike as live candidates for the Aintree showpiece judged on their exploits before Christmas when landing the Coral Gold Cup and Becher Chase respectively.

The duo are now now being prepared to run again over the next few weeks, with Le Milos set to complete his National preparation in Kelso’s Premier Chase – a race which has been used by the likes of Ballabriggs and Many Clouds to tune up for Aintree in the past – while Ashtown Lad will head to Ascot on February 18 before a final decision on his participation is made.

“They are both really well and we’ve had no problems at all,” said Skelton.

“Le Milos goes to Kelso on March 4th for the Premier Chase and Ashtown Lad hopefully runs next at Ascot in the Swinley Handicap Chase, and then we will have a think about what we do with him.

“Le Milos will go to Kelso and then straight to the Grand National. I’m very happy with him.

“Ashtown Lad is proven over the fences, but there is a question mark over the trip. The plan is to run him next Saturday and then have a proper think about it.”

The Irish have dominated the Grand National in recent years winning the last four and five of the last six runnings. They are responsible for almost two thirds of the initial entries this time around with entries from the home team thin on the ground.

However, the man responsible for two of the better-fancied British runners believes the lack of numbers could be due to trainers having to be more selective with their entries.

“We’ve got two nice entries,” explained Skelton. “The Grand National is unique, you have to stay the trip number one and you have to be appropriate for the fences.

“It costs £950 at the first stage and I think the down on numbers entry is reflective of the whole situation at the moment. People have to be responsible with their entries, you can’t just fire anything in. Perhaps people are just being a bit more delicate with their entries.”