REBECCA Curtis insists Teaforthree will not take up an engagement in the Scottish Grand National at Ayr following his superb run in defeat in the John Smith’s Grand National at Aintree, but is not ruling out a trip to the Punchestown Festival.
The nine-year-old looked as though he could become the first Welsh-trained National winner since Kirkland in 1905 when leading two fences from home in last week’s Aintree spectacular, but he weakened from the final obstacle to finish an excellent third behind shock winner Auroras Encore. Teaforthree holds entries in both the Coral Scottish Grand National at Ayr on Saturday, 20 April and, more intriguingly, the Bet Online With TheTote.com Punchestown Gold Cup on 24 April.
Curtis said: “He’s come out of the race very fresh and well and I wouldn’t rule it out (running again this season). It’s probably more likely we’ll take the shoes off him and give him a break, but we’ll just see how he is in the next week to ten days and then make a decision. He definitely won’t go for the Scottish National, but he is in at Punchestown.
“We were delighted with him at Aintree and I would say the big weight made the difference – he was giving a stone to the winner. If he hadn’t hit the last, I don’t think he would have got caught for second, but it was a great run and hopefully he’ll be back there again next year.”
Meanwhile, last season’s champion two-year-old Dawn Approach is among a record 17 second-stage entries for the Investec Derby. The unbeaten son of 2008 Epsom hero New Approach was added to the premier Classic at a cost of £8,000. He is already hot favourite for the Qipco 2000 Guineas.
As well as the Jim Bolger-trained Dawn Approach, Godolphin have entered the Saeed bin Suroor-trained pair of Secret Number and Steeler. First Cornerstone, owned by Team Valor, has been put in by trainer Andy Oliver. Sir Henry Cecil has made second entries for Al Waab, Frankel’s half-brother Morpheus and Squire Osbaldeston.