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Grand National: Nicholls and Elliott to return to jockey roots at Aintree

Paul getting some tips on returning to the saddle from Daryl Jacob
Paul getting some tips on returning to the saddle from Daryl Jacob
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As handlers of the finest National Hunt talent on either side of the Irish Sea, Paul Nicholls and Gordon Elliott are no strangers to competing against each other on the track. But this Grand National day at Aintree will see them return to their roots as jockeys...

"After they landed 19 winners at the Cheltenham Festival it’s fair to say this pre-Brexit National Hunt season belongs to Ireland, but can they keep the run going through Gordon Elliott or will Paul Nicholls salvage some pride for the UK?"

The Betfair Ambassadors will compete against each other in the inaugural running of the Betfair-sponsored 'Ireland Weigh in England Way Out' charity match race to celebrate Anglo-Irish relations ahead of Brexit.

The race, which will be run over 1m and will take place before racing on the biggest day in the National Hunt calendar, is designed to showcase the harmony and fellowship that exists in the equine world regardless of the political landscape.

It will also highlight the talent, ability and horsemanship of both trainers as they will be riding Drysdales to accommodate their seasoned figures.

Ten-time champion trainer Paul Nicholls said: "Gordon and I have similar frames now so in terms of weight carrying there is very little, if anything, between us but, without wishing to throw any bouquets at myself, I think my superior ability in the saddle should see me win quite handsomely."

Elliott, who currently heads the Irish Trainers Championship added: "Paul tasted some success in the saddle but having watched the old black and white footage of his Hennessey victories I think the Betfair rightly have me as favourite!"

Betfair spokesman Barry Orr added: "After they landed 19 winners at the Cheltenham Festival it's fair to say this pre-Brexit National Hunt season belongs to Ireland, but can they keep the run going through Gordon Elliott or will Paul Nicholls salvage some pride for the UK?"

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