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Join Together - Cheltenham 10.12.2011

Join Together: 16-1 to win the Grand National in April

  PICTURE: Mark Cranham (  

Join Together to test National credentials

JOIN TOGETHER, Paul Nicholls' leading hope of landing back-to-back John Smith's Grand Nationals, will prep for the Aintree marathon against 11 rivals in the William Hill Grimthorpe Chase at Doncaster on Saturday.

Nicholls, who captured last year's National with Neptune Collonges, also has What A Friend and Harry The Viking engaged for this year, but Join Together, according to the ante-post betting, is his best chance.

Last seen finishing a creditable second over the National fences in the Becher Chase, he is 16-1 to win the world's greatest jumps race.

He faces fellow Aintree contenders Calgary Bay and Mr Moonshine at Doncaster.

Ruby Walsh rides Join Together and will also be aboard Aaim To Prosper when he makes his handicap hurdle debut against Carruthers.

More National clues could be on offer at Kelso with 2011 winner Ballabriggs contesting the Premier Chase, a race he took en route to that success two years ago.

His rivals include Bold Sir Brian and Harry Topper, while six - including last week's Dovecote second Brick Red - have been confirmed for the Grade 2 Kelso Hurdle.

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