Ready and willing to fill the void left by Neptune Collonges, Join Together looks like Paul Nicholls‘ best hope of achieving back-to-wins in the Grand National and the prep race he was aimed at was the Grimthorpe Chase at Doncaster last Saturday.
With Ruby Walsh on board, he went off as 9/2 favourite amongst a field of 12 and looked to capitalise, if not go one better, than his second place finish in the Becher Chase at Aintree back in December 2012. An established Grand National trial over 3 1/4 miles, this £50,000 race was supposed to set him up nicely for April 6th and the 2013 Grand National.
He looked great, was running well and jumped the first and second fences cleanly but as they cleared the third fence, and the first of the ditches, Night In Milan fell badly and clipped Join Together on his way down, hampering him to the extent that within seconds Walsh found him self at the back of the field trying to make up ground.
Despite his best attempts to rally his charge and get him back in contention, Walsh ultimately decided to bow out of the race, with five fences to go, and Join Together was pulled-up.
Following that his odds moved ever so slightly from 16/1 out to 18/1 and with no further information coming from the Paul Nicholls yard, hopefully he’ll just need a rest before he’s back for the 2013 Grand National.