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Page last updated at 14:44 GMT, Thursday, 17 February 2011

Champion trainer Nicholls targets Grand National win

Paul Nicholls
Nicholls trains double Gold Cup winner Kauto Star

Champion trainer Paul Nicholls is hoping his Grand National luck will turn for the better in 2011.

The Aintree marathon is the only major National Hunt prize Nicholls has failed to win, but he is saddling ten of the 102 entries in this year's race.

"We've been second and third and we've got a few nice ones in there this year," he told BBC Radio Merseyside.

Nicholls confirmed the popular Neptune Collonges is highly unlikely to feature after being allocated joint top weight.

The Somerset-based trainer reckons one or two of his entries are on the fringe of success.

"Niche Market will definitely run and God willing everything will go right, that's been his target for a while," Nicholls added.

"Gullible Gordon has got the magic 10st 6lb weight but whether he'd be good enough, I'd be surprised. He'd have to have very good ground.

"Meanus Dandy could be a contender, but both of those two want good ground.

"Ornais, my only reservation is that he looks a bit slow. If the ground is quick, he best start now.

"If there is plenty of cut in the ground and it is stamina race he could be in the hunt. He's been a bit of a project and he's a lively outsider, no more than that."

Nicholls said he is also pleased with his Cheltenham Festival contenders, even though one or two have had problems in recent weeks.

"I'm very happy with them all at this stage," Nicholls continued. "We had a few that weren't quite right last month but the main team are in good order.

"We had one or two cough and splutter last month. You're only talking one or two out of the whole string and you get that all the time. But we're happy and with some spring weather they'll bloom."

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