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Teaforthree wins the Diamond Jubilee National Hunt Chase

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Teaforthree ridden by J T McNamara on his way to winning the Diamond Jubilee National Hunt Steeple Chase. Photo: PA

Teaforthree ridden by J T McNamara on his way to winning the Diamond Jubilee National Hunt Steeple Chase. Photo: PA

Teaforthree ridden by J T McNamara wins the Diamond Jubilee National Hunt Steeple Chase. Photo: PA

Teaforthree ridden by J T McNamara wins the Diamond Jubilee National Hunt Steeple Chase. Photo: PA

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Teaforthree ridden by J T McNamara on his way to winning the Diamond Jubilee National Hunt Steeple Chase. Photo: PA

Teaforthree and JT McNamara took top honours in the Diamond Jubilee National Hunt Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.

The 5-1 favourite sat handily throughout the four-mile test and produced some prodigious leaps in the hands of his top amateur.



While plenty were struggling down the hill, Teaforthree continued to pour it on, with another prominently-ridden horse, Four Commanders, his closest pursuer under Nina Carberry.



There was little to choose between the pair jumping the final fence, but it was Teaforthree that got away from it the quicker.



He stayed on up the hill to score by two lengths, giving trainer Rebecca Curtis her first Festival winner.



Harry The Viking, part-owned by Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, finished off his race strongly to beat Four Commanders to the runner-up spot.



McNamara, claiming his fourth victory at the Festival, said: "He jumped a little bit to the right, but he never missed a beat.



"It's unbelievable, and it's great to ride a winner at Cheltenham."



Curtis said: "It's very special (to have a Cheltenham winner).



"It wasn't the plan to go out and make the running, but he settled well and we know he jumps and stays.



"It doesn't happen too often (winning at the Festival) and I'm going to enjoy it.



"It's great just to have runners, let alone a winner."



Curtis highlighted Teaforthree's jumping as being one of his major assets.



She said: "He is probably better with cut in the ground, but going four miles you can get away with it.



"He's a brilliant jumper."



When asked about his long-term prospects as a Grand National contender, the Pembrokeshire handler added: "He stays well and jumps well and you've got to have that if you are to be a National horse."



The Irish National at Fairyhouse next month is a possible next port of call for Teaforthree.



Curtis continued: "We always fancied him for the race. You need a little bit of luck, but all he does is stay and jump, which is ideal for four miles.



"It's a massive boost for the yard to have a winner here and hopefully it will attract some new owners.



"AP (McCoy) thought he'd be perfect for the race and he managed to get us the best rider.



"We might look at something like the Irish National if he's all right."



Paul Nicholls, trainer of runner-up Harry The Viking, said: "Will (Biddick) gave him a fantastic ride.



"He was thrown a bit wide turning in, but he stayed on very strongly.



"He might go to Ayr (Scottish National) next month.



"I know he's a novice, but he does have experience point-to-pointing and the aim will be Aintree next year."



Four Commanders' trainer, Mouse Morris, said: "You would be being very critical to say the mistake at the last cost him.



"He's run very well and has just been beaten by two better horses on the day.



"Nina gave him some ride but I don't know if he'll run again this season."

PA Media