Rough Quest is poised to join an elite band of steeplechasers as a multiple winner of the Grand National when he lines up at Aintree tonight. The 12-year-old is strongly fancied by trainer Terry Casey to repeat his gutsy 1996 victory. Curiously, Rough Quest comes into the race having fallen at the 17th fence in the Cheltenham Gold Cup at his previous outing, and although many would consider this far from an ideal situation going into such a demanding race, Casey remains confident it will have no adverse effect. 'He just became a little careless at a most crucial stage of the race and he paid the penalty,' the trainer explained. 'But he has schooled and worked well at home since and I'm quite confident he's set to run another big race. He's already shown he can handle the big Aintree fences and that must be a factor in his favour.' Most agree with Casey, 52, the Donegal-born Irishman who ran away from home when a 15-year-old lad harbouring dreams of a life with horses. Ladbrokes have installed Rough Quest as their 6-1 favourite for the Grand National, describing the betting plunge on the gelding as mostly professional and public money. 'The pros are on because of the changing ground [now soft], and the public have latched on to the same idea,' explained Mike Dillon of Ladbrokes. Second favourite at 7-1 is Suny Bay, a grey jumper with excellent credentials following his second to Lord Gyllene in last year's National. But as Charlie Brooks, his trainer, points out, the gelding is a day-to-day proposition because of his legs. 'So far, so good,' declared Brooks. The going at Aintree on the Grand National course was soft yesterday, placing the emphasis fairly and squarely on stamina. With this in mind there could be a few surprises for tierce punters. Horses such as Him Of Praise, Killeshin and Samlee are on the slow side when put to the test, but the softer the ground the better. All will see out the trip, and provided they can get their jumping together, could figure in the places. The 'wild card' is Challenger du Luc, the mount of champion Tony McCoy. Trainer Martin Pipe sums it up best: 'It's a matter of whether he likes the Aintree fences. He's a lovely horse, and if he jumps well, he'll run a very, very big race.' Jenny Pitman has been left with Nahthen Lad as her sole runner after Mudahim went wrong in a routine workout at home.