Teak tough Teaforthree has all the credentials for National success
If punters were asked to outline the traits they wanted in a Grand National runner, bottomless stamina and experience of performing well in big-field handicaps would be pretty near the top of the list. Both are attributes the Rebecca-Curtis-trained Teaforthree boasts in abundance and there are many more positives besides with regard to nine-year-old’s profile for the big race, for which he is currently 14/1 in the betting.
The Oscar gelding’s staying power has been an attribute of his game throughout his career and it first came to wider recognition when he took the 4m National Hunt Novices Chase at the 2012 Cheltenham Festival. Apart from proving his ability to see out a competitive race over a marathon trip it also vouched for his ability to do so on the kind of good ground that he’ll likely see on Grand National Day.
Since the victory over that 19-horse field, he’s contested four handicap chases with a minimum of 14 runners so Teaforthree should have enough big-field experience not to baulk at the hurly burly of the Grand National.
His sixth in the Hennessey off a mark 146 looks very strong when it’s considered that the first three home that November afternoon (Bobs Worth, Tidal Bay and First Lieutenant) have all scored at the highest level subsequently.
Next time out he produced a teak tough stayer’s performance when losing the lead to Monbeg Dude in the dying strides of the Welsh National at Chepstow. The nine-year-old had to race through the heavy ground with the top weight of 11st3lbs on his back and gave fully 16lb to his half-length conqueror.
He found the ground at Haydock far too sticky when sent out for one last pre-Aintree run, finishing down the field in tenth, but that race – and Teaforthree’s preparation for it – taught his handler an important lesson just in time for Aintree.
The Haydock trip was the first time he had stayed the night away from home before racing and handler Rebecca Curtis admitted “He’s quite sensitive and didn’t eat, drink or settle that night at Haydock”.
The trainer and her Grand National hope will now take the lorry down from their Fishguard base on the morning of the Aintree spectacular, for which he has an exceptional chance.