Teaforthree attracts strong support for Grand National
Punters have decided Teaforthree is the pick of the weights for the Aintree Grand National on April 5th. The ten-year-old finished third last year behind Aurora’s Encore carrying 11st 3lb and has been set to carry 5lbs less this time.
He has officially been given a rating of 149, just 2lbs lower than last year, but he is almost a stone better off with Monbeg Dude for half a length on 2013 Welsh National form. He disappointed on his next start at Haydock but trainer Rebecca Curtis blamed that on his overnight stay.
The son of Oscar was sent up to Aintree on the morning of the National and ran a fine race, leading two from home before being outpaced on the run-in. He was available at 25-1 when the weights were announced on Tuesday but is now joint-favourite at 16-1 with Coral.
If Ascot beats the weather, Teaforthree could be in action this weekend and is line for a possible clash with Nicky Henderson’s Hunt Ball. Both horses hold two entries on the Ascot card, the Grade 1 Ascot Chase over two miles five furlongs and the Weatherbys Hamilton Insurance Chase over three miles.
Hunt Ball was previously trained by Keiran Burke and stormed through the handicap in 2012. He began the season rated just 85 but had risen to 154 by the time he finished third in a Grade 1 chase at Aintree.
He has since failed in an ambitious attempt at steeplechasing in the USA but Henderson reports him to be showing signs of his old form at Lambourn recently. He has been allotted 11st 7lb for the National in which Henderson also has Triolo D’Alene, Long Run and Shakalakaboomboom.
Tidal Bay has also attracted plenty of interest after the popular 13-year-old was given a generous 7lb concession by the handicapper. Paul Nicholls was understandably delighted with his weight and he currently shares favouritism with Teaforthree.
Monbeg Dude is also proving popular at 20-1 and he bids to advertise his National claims at Haydock this weekend. A likely opponent on Saturday is Jonjo O’Neill’s Burton Port who finished fourth in the 2012 Cheltenham Gold Cup and has attracted some each-way support for the National at 33-1.