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14 Feb 2011 | 19:15
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Nicholls bids for fourth Becher winHeadlines
Join Together

Paul Nicholls will be seeking a fourth success in the Betfred Becher Chase at Aintree in the last 10 years as he saddles Join Together.

The seven-year-old was third in the Mildmay Novices' Chase at the track in April and was down the field on his return at Ascot last month.

Nicholls said: "Join Together is in good form. I was a bit disappointed with him at Ascot but hopefully with different fences and a different day, he will do better. I don't think he is particularly well handicapped but he will probably be suited by the fences and, if he is, I will give him an entry in the National."

David Pipe saddles two runners, with Swing Bill and Problema Tic flying the flag for Pond House.

Swing Bill was a winner at Cheltenham last time and finished 10th in the National last season, while Problema Tic was fifth in a Grade Three event at Prestbury Park on his return.

"Swing Bill ran in the race last year (when pulled up) and is not getting any younger. But he ran in the National and seems to like Aintree, although I wouldn't want the ground too soft for him," said Pipe.

"Problema Tic is another who does not want conditions too soft. I was pleased with him at Cheltenham on his comeback."

Big Fella Thanks will be having just his second start for Tom George as he has another crack at the National fences. The 10-year-old was fourth in the 2010 Grand National when trained by Nicholls and seventh a year later when handled by Ferdy Murphy.

He was off the track after that outing until unseating Paddy Brennan in a veterans' chase on the Mildmay course.

George said: "It didn't quite go to plan last time, but maybe that was to our benefit as he is still off the same handicap mark. He's been round there a few times now so he can certainly jump the fences, but I don't think he quite gets home over the National trip. Three miles two furlongs will probably suit him better."

3 December 2016

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