The Rebecca Curtis-trained Teaforthree got back very much on track for a likely crack at the National Hunt Chase at the Cheltenham Festival on March 14 with a pleasing nine-length victory over Roalco des Farges at Chepstow on Saturday, laying to rest the ghost of a poor run at Kempton on Boxing Day, writes Elliot Slater.
In hindsight the eight-year-old was probably thrown in at the deep end when asked to tackle Grand Crus, Silviniaco Conti and Bobs Worth in the Grade 1 Feltham Novices Chase, having beaten the useful Restless Harry at Chepstow in heavy ground on his previous outing. Fans of online betting will have been impressed.
The combination of a sharper track, quicker ground, racing right-handed, and better opposition, combined to see the Oscar gelding outclassed inside the final mile, being completely tailed off when pulled up by Tony McCoy before the third last.
It was a very different story though with McCoy once again back in the plate as Teaforthree took on a pair of decent novices and duly made all the running over the three-mile trip, grinding away up front in the home straight to see off Golden Chieftain before coming home unchallenged from Newbury winner Roalco Des Farges.
Although he still holds an entry in the Grade 1 RSA Chase at Cheltenham, there appears little sense in taking on the trio of horses who ran him ragged at Kempton, and this resolute galloper looks just the right type of horse for the four-mile Cheltenham marathon, a race for which he is now a top priced 10/1 from 12/1, following his Chepstow win. Those looking at Betfair should bear this in mind.
Speaking to reporters after greeting her winner, Curtis confirmed that the National Hunt Chase is very much the plan at the moment and also made no secret of the fact that she expects her thorough stayer to run a very big race indeed.