Tony McCoy will bid to claim his maiden Hennessy Gold Cup victory this weekend having been drafted in to pilot the Rebecca Curtis-trained Teaforthree.
A strong stayer, Teaforthree can be backed at 16/1 for glory on Newbury’s soft ground, but McCoy expects that the conditions won’t prove as favourable as he’d originally hoped for the eight-year-old.
Having demonstrated his chasing prowess when taking the National Hunt Chase at Cheltenham last term over four miles (albiet on good ground) he will hold a distinct stamina advantage over many of his foes.
The race will seem a lot longer than 3m2f for those horses unsuited by the soft going, whereas thorough-staying Teaforthree will be staying on when others have cried enough.
McCoy, however, doubts the situation will worsen prior the Newbury showepiece’s commencement.
The heavier the going, the better, as far as the Teaforthree camp are concerned, with AP McCoy commenting “The ground is not as soft as I thought it was going to be and that is against his chance, Bobs Worth is probably the only horse in the race with Gold Cup potential and he’d be the one if the ground is okay. Teaforthree is a stayer and I was hoping the ground would be more testing.”
However McCoy’s great strike-rate when riding for Curtis’ yard offers plenty of encouragement to the jockey’s hopes of claiming one of the biggest races to elude him throughout his illustrious career.
He’s been won on 33 per cent of his rides for the yard over the past five seasons, enjoying an even better time when on board a Curtis horse this term. Almost half – 42 per cent, to be exact – of his runs for the Welsh handler have ended in triumph when they’ve combined.
Sadly designs on winning the Welsh National could prove a hindrance to Teaforthree’s chances here, as a good performance in the Newbury feature would see his handicap mark take a sharp rise.
All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date