Three teed up for Aintree
Rebecca Curtis is hopeful of a big run from Teaforthree in the Crabbie's Grand National after last week's warm-up in the Gold Cup.
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The 10-year-old was beaten 21 lengths into eighth at Prestbury Park on Friday but briefly threatened to play a more prominent role before weakening out of contention and the Newport handler was more than happy with the run.
Speaking on Tuesday, Curtis said: "He is in great form and has come out of the Cheltenham Gold Cup really well. I don't think he had too hard a race, being allowed to coast home up the hill.
"He has eaten everything up and being freshened up out in the field - we will be hopeful of a good run. He took to the Grand National fences last year. Maybe, with him being favourite, there is more pressure this year.
"Teaforthree likes the ground on the softer side of good. Everybody thinks he needs heavy ground but he doesn't."
Rocky Creek was ruled out of a run at Cheltenham late in the day but Paul Nicholls confirmed that both he and Tidal Bay are on course to run at Aintree.
"I have four in the Grand National but the two main ones are Tidal Bay and Rocky Creek," he said.
"His [Tidal Bay] form off top-weight in his last three handicaps has been very good. He is in good shape and ran very well in Ireland last week. I am looking forward to him running. The thing to do is to drop him out and not to rush him.
"It does not matter if he races in last and gradually picks up - get him jumping and in a rhythm. He likes being ridden that way. It is highly likely that Sam Twiston-Davies will be riding Tidal Bay because he has won on him already this season."
Twiston-Davies did confirm, however, that his father, Nigel, would have first call upon his services.
"I am not sure yet who I will be riding in the Crabbie's Grand National this year," said the jockey. "My father has first choice but I could be riding Tidal Bay. We will just have to wait and see.
"I have been lucky enough to enjoy a good record over the Grand National fences," he added.
Phil Smith, the British Horseracing Authority's Head of Handicapping, has a completely free hand to set the weights for the Grand National.
He commented: "Tidal Bay is a 13-year-old and he is carrying top-weight of 11st 10lb. I will be overjoyed if he wins as it will be great for the race for a top-weight to win. Tidal Bay has been a fantastic horse. I hope it will be a competitive race with a close finish.
"I think this year's race is a significantly better contest than last year - just in terms of the depth of quality in the race.
"Teaforthree was beaten in the race last year (finished third) and is 4lb well in. Long Run is the most credible second to top-weight (11st 9lb) I have had in the Grand National as he has won a Cheltenham Gold Cup and two King George VI Chases. It is sensational and I am looking forward to him running.
"There were some horses who ran well last week who would have gone up if I hadn't done the weights in February. Goulanes, who won at Uttoxeter, would have been 9lb higher, while Balthazar King who would also be 9lb higher after his Cross Country win at Cheltenham."