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Ground coming good (to soft) for Curtis’ Grand National jolly

| 24.03.2014

Grand National favourite Teaforthree’s trainer Rebecca Curtis talked up her 10-yr-old’s chances of taking the world’s greatest steeplechase recently, and it’s easy to see why the money has come for the Oscar gelding, who’s clear in the market at 10/1 with less than two weeks to go.

Last year’s third-place finisher at Aintree shaped well when coming home eighth of 13 in the Cheltenham Gold Cup – a race the 33/1 shot was never expected to win – and Curtis confirmed afterwards that her horse left Prestbury Park in fine fettle following the run.

Teaforthree has been lightly raced this season, running just twice before the Cheltenham Festival, and looks extremely well treated at 10-11 in the weights at present.

The four-time winner under rules has never triumphed on ground better than good, but that shouldn’t be a problem during the Merseyside spring, as the last four runnings of the Grand National have been on good to soft ground, while the three prior to that were on good ground.

Curtis has dismissed claims that Teaforthree needs bottomless conditions to succeed, stating that her inmate:  “likes the ground on the softer side of good. Everybody thinks he needs heavy ground but he doesn’t.”

With the going currently ranked as good/good to soft in places, and more rain expected in the north west of England over the next couple of weeks, the Newport-based handler can rightly feel confident about one of her leading lights’ prospects.

Six of the last eight winners of the race have been aged either 10 or 11, with four of them coming in at bang on a decade.

Ladbrokes currently go 1/4 the odds a place on the first four home, so an each-way bet on a well-fancied 10/1 jolly, with course and distance form in the book, looks as safe as houses.

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

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Alex Fortune