Teaforthree clear Grand National favourite after super Ascot run
All three meetings survived the miserable weather, enabling plenty of aspiring Cheltenham and Aintree horses to get back to action. Ironically it was a beaten horse that made the biggest splash as Teaforthree emerged with great credit after finishing second to Restless Harry at Ascot.
Teaforthree, a gallant third behind Aurora’s Encore in the 2013 Grand National, was heavily backed during the week after the weights were published for this year’s race. He was available in places at 25-1 on Tuesday but is now 12-1 clear favourite after losing by just a neck in a thrilling finish.
He made a couple of minor errors but stayed on valiantly in the closing stages and must have delighted connections. He has 10st 12lb to carry at Aintree, 5lbs less than a year ago.
Haydock’s Grand National Trial turned into a real slog and the leading Aintree hopefuls were lost without trace as in-form Venetia Williams saddled a 1-2. Emperor’s Choice was well backed to follow up his recent victory at Ffos Las but it was 16-1 Rigadin De Beauchene who handled the conditions best, grinding out a 10-length victory.
Melodic Rendezvous arrived late to catch Zarkandar in the Kingwell Hurdle at Wincanton. He had briefly looked in trouble on the home turn but ran on bravely up the straight to deny the former Triumph Hurdle winner in the dying strides.
The Champion Hurdle is still on the cards for the winner providing he gets his favoured soft ground. Zarkandar is on target for the World Hurdle and a clash with stable companion Big Buck’s after finishing runner-up for the fourth time in a row this season.
Un De Sceaux stretched his unbeaten run to seven with a facile success in the Grade 2 Red Mills Hurdle at Gowran Park. Un De Sceaux is 12-1 for the Champion Hurdle with Melodic Rendezvous at 25-1.
Captain Chris landed the odds in the Betfair Ascot Chase and remains 33-1 for the Cheltenham Gold Cup. David Pipe’s Un Temps Pour Tout is 16-1 for the Neptune Novices’ Hurdle after a comfortable win in the opener on the same card.