Curtis eyes Haydock prize for Aintree hope Teaforthree
Rebecca Curtis has more to concern her than the weights for the Aintree Grand National, which are to be published amid great fanfare in London today.
Her stable star Teaforthree, for whom the National is the main target of the year, is entered at both Haydock Park and Ascot on Saturday and the final decision on where the staying chaser will run has yet to be taken.
"I would say it is more likely to be Haydock, that's the more suitable race," the trainer said, before admitting she was happy to have the Ascot option available.
As well as being up near the top of the handicap in Haydock's Betfred Grand National Trial – weighted on 11st 5lb – the gelding is also in the Betfair Ascot Chase as one of 11 entries.
With Tony McCoy certain to be committed to a JP McManus-owned runner at Aintree, Nick Scholfield is set to come in for the mount on Saturday and in April's National. There might also be a run in between for the winner of last year's four-mile National Hunt Chase at Cheltenham.
He is 9/2 favourite with Coral for the Grand National Trial, with Rigadin De Beauchene at 11/2, but there are several other options in an open betting race.
"It would make sense, if McCoy can't ride him in the National, for whoever is going to be riding him to get some experience of him," Curtis said.
"The other possibility is that we use our apprentice Patrick Corbett's claim at Haydock on Saturday. There is talk of the Gold Cup, but I wouldn't want him to be having a hard run so close to the National."
The Venetia Williams-trained Katenko, an impressive recent winner at Cheltenham, has been pulled out of the Haydock race on Saturday, while Sizing Europe has been taken out of the Gold Cup by Henry de Bromhead. (© Daily Telegraph, London)