Grand National the target for Teaforthree

Rebecca Curtis is happy with Teaforthree's weight for Aintree. Picture: Getty
Rebecca Curtis is happy with Teaforthree's weight for Aintree. Picture: Getty
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REBECCA Curtis believes Teaforthree’s disappointing effort at Haydock earlier this month may have been “a blessing in disguise” as the veteran now prepares for another tilt at the Crabbie’s Grand National at Aintree.

The 11-year-old was joint-favourite for the Aintree spectacular last spring, having finished third the previous year, but unseated Nick Scholfield at The Chair. After making a winning return to action in a hunter chase at Bangor at the start of February, connections signalled their intention to aim for the Foxhunter Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, but that plan went up in smoke as he was beaten into fourth when odds-on for his latest start on Merseyside.

All roads now lead back to Aintree for Teaforthree and Curtis is delighted the handicapper has given him a chance by allotting him a mark of 144, which leaves him with a current weight of 10st 7lb to carry. Curtis said: “We’re going to miss the Foxhunter with him now and maybe it has worked out for the best. He’s been given a nice weight in the National and the handicapper might not have been as lenient if he hadn’t been beaten at Haydock the other day.

“We ran him back too soon after Bangor, which was always a risk. Maybe it was a blessing in disguise.

“We’ll miss Cheltenham now and he’ll probably run in one more hunter chase in a couple of weeks before he goes to Aintree.”

Meanwhile, Aurore D’Estruval has been ruled out of the OLBG Mares’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival after suffering a setback. The five-year-old had emerged as Britain’s chief hope for the Grade One event having won two of her three starts this season and also filled the runner-up spot in the Fighting Fifth at Newcastle. However, trainer John Quinn has revealed his mare will not make the trip to Prestbury Park for what would have been an intriguing clash with Willie Mullins’ red-hot favourite Annie Power.

Dual winner Salsify heads a formidable Irish contingent among 45 entries for the St James’s Place Foxhunter Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.

The ten-year-old clinched the prestigious event in 2012 and 2013 for the father-son combination of Rodger and Colman Sweeney and although he missed a hat-trick bid 12 months ago through injury, he is set to return to Prestbury Park having finished fourth on his comeback run at Leopardstown earlier this month. The Enda Bolger-trained On The Fringe was third 12 months ago and fourth back in 2011. He appears a major player once more. Adrian Maguire has entered Seventh Sign and Two Rockers, while Gordon Elliott’s Current Exchange is also among the Irish challenge.

Meanwhile, Trojan Rocket is in flying form and can bring up a four-timer in the Olswang LLP Backing Winners Handicap at Chelmsford City tonight. The seven-year-old has thrived in recent months, progressing from victory in a Kempton claimer back in November to winning a class two handicap at this track last month. Michael Wigham has campaigned his charge pretty shrewdly, and with only narrow margins of victory on each occasion, the handicapper has probably not been able to raise Trojan Rocker’s rating as much as he might have liked.


1.50 Scoop The Pot

2.20 Until Winning

2.50 Forgivienne

3.20 What A Good Night

3.50 Doctor

4.25 Out Now

5.00 Vodka Wells


2.00 Swampfire

2.30 Herbert Park

3.00 Crookstown

3.30 Heronry

4.05 Parkam Jack

4.40 Third Act

5.10 Hot Pepper


2.10 Gerrard’s Slip

2.40 Leith Bridge (nap)

3.10 Major Muscari

3.40 Gabrial The Duke

4.15 Pirate Cove

4.50 Dark Diamond


5.35 Princess Tansy

6.10 Goldmadchen

6.40 First Dream

7.10 Rizal Park

7.40 Flashman

8.10 Trojan Rocket

8.40 Forceful Beacon


Leith Bridge

2.40 Southwell

Trojan Rocket

8.10 Chelmsford