CHAMPION National Hunt jockey Richard Johnson has tried on 20 occasions to conquer the Grand National, but he feels his time might have come on Saturday when he partners Rock The Kasbah in the Aintree spectacular.

Over the years Johnson's has come close previously with second-place finishes aboard What's Up Boys in 2002 and Balthazar King in 2014.

This year Johnson will partner Rock The Kasbah, trained by his long-time trainer ally, Philip Hobbs, who will also be seeking to break his own duck in jump racing’s biggest prize.

Rock The Kasbah has been aiming at the National all season and kept away from other racecourse engagements since December in an attempt to increase his chances of success following a win in a valuable Cheltenham handicap chase in November

The prevailing good ground, following a prolonged spell of dry weather will enhance the prospects of Rock The Kasbah who runs well when fresh and who appreciates the spring ground currently prevailing at Aintree.

The nine year old is current 25-1 in the betting odds behind last year's winner and current hot favourite Tiger Roll at 4-1.

"We've thought Rock The Kasbah was the right horse for the job pretty much all season," said Johnson.

“It obviously won't be easy but he won from not far off his Aintree handicap mark two runs ago and I think he's at the top of his game.

"Tiger Roll is obviously the one to beat but I feel we have a winning chance.

"If he can reproduce the form of his win at Cheltenham he must have a live chance. His following race probably came a bit too soon, as he has always been definitely best fresh, possibly because he puts a lot into his races.”

Jockey Tom Scudamore is a likely partner of the David Pipe trained Vieux Lion Rouge.

Ones to watch with Herefordshire links on Thursday at the festival:

1:45 La Bag Au Roi ridden Richard Johnson
2:20 Song for Someone trained by Tom Symonds
4:40 Ramon An Cnoic trained by Tom Scudamore
5:15 Penny Mallow - trained by Venetia Williams and Whitehotchillifilli ridden by Richard Johnson