Collonges carries Nicholls hopes for first Grand National win

Published: 09:28 03/04/2012

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Paul Nicholls will go to Aintree single handed a week on Saturday when he attempts to win the Grand National for first time in his 20-year training career.

Nicholls confirmed Neptune Collonges will be Manor Farm’s sole representative after Niche Market was retired after suffering an injury.

The champion National Hunt trainer has saddled over 2000 winners in his illustrious career yet the Grand National remains the only major British staying chase to elude the Ditchleat handler.

Nicholls’ confirmed the 11-year-old who has won three Irish Grade One races and been placed in the Cheltenham Gold Cup is highly likely to be his only runner in the National Hunt showpiece.

"He has been a wonderful horse and I'm almost certain he'll run," said Nicholls. "It was a shame about poor old Niche Market. This horse has a touch of class and could run a solid race.”

Neptunes Collonges is available at odds of 33/1 with Boylesports and Stan James to break the duck although Nicholls would have preferred a little less weight for the striking grey.

"I suppose he could have done with 10lb less on his back. He's got 11st 5lb, I'm sure he'll cope with that, but I haven't got a strong opinion on it," the trainer added.

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