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Victory chances brewing for Grand National prospect
Teaforthree, a strong fancy for the Grand National at Aintree on the first Saturday in April, can enhance his Merseyside claims by winning the feature race at Haydock this afternoon.
The £75,000 Betfred Grand National Trial, set to be run on testing ground over three and a half miles, will put the emphasis firmly on stamina, but Teaforthree will not fail in that department.
On his latest start in the Coral Welsh National over an even longer trip, the nine-year-old just failed to justify favouritism against the lightly-weighted Monbeg Dude, who nailed him in the closing stages.
The two horses renew rivalry today, and on 3lb better terms Teaforthree is fancied to gain his revenge in the hands of Nick Scholfield, who has already been booked by trainer Rebecca Curtis to ride him again at Aintree.
Tim Easterby, pictured, saddles Trustan Times in the £36,500 Betfred Mobile Lotto Hurdle and will be hoping for a smilar outcome to when the gelding ran on the course in November.
He won a valuable Grade 3 race that day, looking every inch a horse with a bright future. He was somewhat disappointing on his next outing when third at Ascot, but Easterby has freshened him up since and a bold display is anticipated. Dougie Costello rides.
It promises to be significant that Paul Nicholls, having had the option of saddling dual-winner Sametegal in the Betfred Victor Ludorum Hurdle, relies instead on French recruit Valco de Touzaine, who carries the nap.
Twice a winner across the Channel, Valco de Touzaine has done little wrong in two runs for Nicholls, finishing second at Sandown and sixth in a hot handicap at Ascot on his latest start. He should prove hard to beat.
Two Rockers, trained by Alan King, has won both his outings this season, both at Towcester, in the style of a useful horse in the making.
Previously a point-to-point winner, Two Rockers can further boost his reputation in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle.
Hold On Julio, runner-up at Kempton last time, has every chance of providing King with another winner on the card in the Pertemps Handicap Hurdle.
At Market Rasen tomorrow, David O’Meara can win the ECS Hawksy’s Heroes Handicap Chase with Classical Mist.
Jake Greenall’s mount won at Catterick on her seasonal debut and then chased home Brave Spartacus, who was in the middle of a purple patch, on the same course.
Given a break since, Classical Mist is fancied to go well in this two miles and two furlongs event.
Tim Easterby saddles Fourjacks in the Late Great Ted Munnelly Birthday Memorial Novices’ Chase.
A Wetherby winner on his chasing bow, Fourjacks has since finished a comfortably held fourth in a Grade 2 race on the same course.
He reverts to a simpler task this time and although this is no cakewalk, Fourjacks is napped to get back on top.
In the Calverts Carpets And Flooring York Handicap Hurdle, Thunderstorm will be popular among punters.
The mount of Tony McCoy, he has won all his three races this season. It is anyone’s guess just far he can go – he is now up to a mark of 115 from 93 — but his profile looks solid and he is not easily opposable.
Philip Hobbs, trainer of Thunderstorm, can also win with Mighty Mobb, a beaten favourite at Exeter, but now up in distance in the Calverts Carpets York Novices’ Hurdle.
1.45 Valco de Touzaine (NAP), 2.20 Trustan Times, 2.55 Teaforthree, 3.25 Two Rockers, 4.05 The Chazer, 4.40 Hold On Julio, 5.10 Classinaglass.
Today’s other meetings: Ascot, Lingfield and Wincanton.
Market Rasen tomorrow
2.00 Mighty Mobb, 2.30 Don’t Take Me Alive, 3.00 Classical Mist, 3.30 Thunderstorm, 4.00 Fourjacks (NAP), 4.30 Royaume Bleu, 5.00 Salto Chisco.
Tomorrow’s other meeting: Ffos Las.