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Qatari purchase a vote of confidence for Join Together in Grand National

| 02.04.2013

Backers of Join Together, one of three Paul Nicholls-trained runners set to line-up in the Grand National, will be encouraged by the news that the eight-year-old has been purchased by a “powerful Qatar-based owner” in the week before the world’s richest steeplechase, according to the Liverpool Echo. The Ditcheat resident is 16/1 with Coral, who have gone non-runner no-bet on the Aintree spectacular as of today, with the Willie Mullins-trained On His Own the 7/1 favourite.

According to Grand National trends the Nicholls’ chaser may not yet be seasoned enough over fences to strike this April. The last 10 victors all had the experience of at least eight prior runs over fences, whilst Party Politics and Bindaree are the only eight-year-olds to have struck gold in the 4m4f marathon in the last 20 runnings. That illustrious pair had far more fencing starts under their saddle-girths by the time their dates with Aintree-destiny arrived.

Nonetheless, there’s a lot to like about the gelding’s chance this year. His eye-catching second in the Becher Chase at Aintree earlier this season was the performance which really earmarked him for the big race, with his late second-last-to-neck-second surge up the run-in at the end of 3m2f heavy ground slog highlighting the son of Old Vic’s abundant stamina reserves.

With Join Together so often proven to be just lacking in toe at the top level over 3m trips, such as when a 25 length third to Silviniaco Conti at Aintree last season or pulled up in the 2012 RSA Chase there’s every reason to expect improvement over the extra 1m4f of the National.

Having beaten Teaforthree – currently 14/1 with Coral in the Grand National betting – off level weights over three and a half miles at Cheltenham last term his past form certainly suggests that he should be taken just as seriously as any of the other second season chasers.

Inexperienced though he may be, he can also rely upon the tutelage of Grand National-winning hands upon the reins in those of Daryl Jacob, who took last year’s race on the Nicholls-trained Neptune Collonges.

With Coral now non-runner no-bet on the Grand National now could also be a good time to take prices about runners whose participation on Saturday remains uncertain. Major Malarkey and Imperial Commander hail from the two-time-National-winning yard of Nigel Twiston-Davies and both remain unsure to participate. For the 16/1 former, heavy ground would see him withdrawn, whilst the latter currently needs one to come out to take his chance, but his 66/1 price would surely contract just for him being present in the race.