Paul Nicholls: Join Together in good shape ahead of John Smith's Grand National
Join Together is set to have a racecourse gallop next week as Paul Nicholls begins to finalise his team for the John Smith’s Grand National meeting.
Despite disappointing at Doncaster, Join Together is set to go for the feature event at Aintree on April 6 after finishing a narrow second in the Becher Chase over the National fences.
Nicholls, who won the National with Neptune Collonges in 2012, could have two further candidates in What A Friend and Harry The Viking, although the weather could determine their participation.
The Ditcheat handler said: “It is hard to believe history will repeat itself after Neptune Collonges’ win last year, but I have aimed Join Together at this race all season.
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“He schooled well this week, is going to have a racecourse gallop early next week, and I am happy with him.
“Harry The Viking is also well after his Cheltenham run, but would like the ground to dry up, and What A Friend will also have an entry for the Betfred Bowl because I wouldn’t want him to be carrying top weight in a soft-ground National. We are keeping our options open with him.”
Aside from the National, Nicholls has plenty of arrows to fire at the supporting events with Prospect Wells and Zarkandar possibles for the Aintree Hurdle.
He added: “Prospect Wells goes for the two-mile-four-furlong Aintree Hurdle, a race in which World Hurdle runner-up Celestial Halo and Champion Hurdle fourth Zarkandar are possibles too, though Celestial obviously has the three-mile Liverpool Hurdle as an option too. Next week will tell us whether we have any runners in the Bowl, but we have Toubab and possibly Rebel Rebellion, earmarked for the Red Rum Chase.”