Trainer Dr Richard Newland waits on Leighton Aspell choice

Leighton Aspell up with Pineau De Re

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Trainer Dr Richard Newland is hoping to be able to team jockey Leighton Aspell up with Pineau De Re again, as he goes in search of a second consecutive Grand National winner.

Pineau De stormed to victory at Aintree 12 months ago and will bid to become the first horse to win successive Nationals since the legendary Red Rum in 1973 and 1974.

And Newland hopes to have Aspell on board again, although the jockey could be left with a tricky choice, with Many Clouds also a possible National starter.

“We have said to Leighton it is his ride if he is available,” Newland confirmed. “(But) our horse is not a hard ride and we will find a jockey.”

And Newland is exacted about the prospect of trying to become the first repeat winner in more than 40 years and is certain that his charge will have no problem with staying the distance at Aintree on Saturday.

He added: “Realistically, when you have a horse that you know stays this trip and jumps these 30 fences, there is only one race for him and it is here.

“Can we win it again? Yes.”

Pineau De Re went off as something of an outsider last year, but stormed clear of the field to eventually win by five lengths from Balthazar King, with Double Seven finishing third.

Since that triumph, the 12-year-old French-bred gelding has failed to impress on four further outings, with his best finish eighth at Exeter in February.

Last time out he finished way down in 11th place in the Pertemps Network Final at Cheltenham earlier this month.

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