Teaforthree primed to defy the timeline in Grand National

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No excuses are being prepared by Rebecca Curtis for Teaforthree despite the Crabbies Grand National favourite featuring in the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

The 10-year-old, who last year finished third to Aurora’s Encore at 10/1 could only beat five home at Prestbury Park but his trainer is confident that those excursions won’t make a difference when the field line-up at Aintree next month.

“He’s in great form and came out of the race really well. I don’t think Nick (Scholfield) was too hard on him, he let him coast up the hill. We’re hopeful for a good run.”

However, history does not look kindly on the chances of the son of Oscar, currently priced at 10/1.

In the four years between 2009 and 2012 47 horses have taken their chance in the National with only five managing to make the frame.

One of them, Don’t Push It, did go all the way in 2010 but even the most optimistic of statistical interpretations suggests that trying to squeeze in both Festivals to a horses’ schedule is often too much to ask.

Crucial though was the way the Cheltenham showpiece panned out for Teaforthree as when his chance was gone he wasn’t forced and preserved his chance for what has always been his main target.

Another horse seen over the four days that is set to take his chance in the 40-runner field in April is Big Shu who followed up his win in the Cross Country Chase last year with a third place finish in the same race.

Trainer Peter Maher is also unfazed by tackling the great race so soon after visiting the Cotswolds extravaganza.

“Everything this year is about Aintree. The ground at Cheltenham was not his ground and I was glad to get him home in one piece. It was lightning quick in places and he’s much better on soft ground.”

The son of Milan is 40/1 for victory.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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