McCoy believes Teaforthree is poor value
Updated: Friday, 04 Jan 2013 19:07
Tony McCoy does not feel Teaforthree's chance in the Coral Welsh National at Chepstow tomorrow is as clear-cut as the bookmakers seem to believe.
The sponsors have him as 3-1 favourite, with the Paul Nicholls-trained Michel Le Bon next best at 7-1 along with David Pipe's recent course winner Sona Sasta.
McCoy believes there is plenty in favour of Rebecca Curtis' charge but the extremely testing conditions mean everything is to play for according to the perennial champion jockey.
"He ran well in the Hennessy, he's a horse that stays well having won the four-miler at Cheltenham," McCoy told At The Races.
"It will be as testing as everybody thinks it is going to be and I'm not sure that's in his favour - he's not a complete mudlark - but he has got a little bit of class so hopefully he's got a good chance.
"I thought riding him in his novice races that he was an ideal horse for the four-miler and this year his programme has been geared around this.
"It's a very open Welsh National, when the ground is like that anything can happen, there's a lot of horses with a good chance, the likes of Viking Blond, Monbeg Dude and Paul's (Nicholls) horse Michel Le Bon, you could make cases for a lot of them.
"I know he's 3-1 favourite and it's 7-1 the next one but I don't think there's that big a gap between Teaforthree and the others - with the ground the way it is anything can happen."
"I know he's 3-1 favourite and it's 7-1 the next one but I don't think there's that big a gap between Teaforthree and the others" - Tony McCoy plays down the chances of his mount in the Welsh National
Welsh handler Tim Vaughan has an interesting candidate in Our Island, sixth in the race last season.
"He has a nice, handy race weight and comes here in good form having finished third in the Devon National last time," said Vaughan.
"He had top weight over four miles that day and hopefully having a light weight on his back will help him.
"It's a super-competitive race, but our horse will love the ground and I'm sure he'll give us a good run for our money.
"It's obviously a race very high on our list of races we'd like to win."
With last year's winner Le Beau Bai sidelined by injury, trainer Richard Lee relies upon Incentivise.
Lee said: "He was in the Sussex National at Plumpton on Sunday, but I discussed things with the owners and we decided to go to Chepstow.
"One of the part-owners is from Cardiff and it has been his lifelong ambition to have a horse good enough to run in the race, so I can understand him wanting to have a go.
"The horse has won twice at Chepstow in the mud before."
Universal Soldier has had this race as his aim for some time.
Trainer Charlie Longsdon said: "He is very lightly raced, and he's obviously had his problems before he came to me, but since we've had him he's been fine.
"We're putting headgear on him for the first time because he was just looking about a bit last time at Haydock, I thought.
"He will absolutely love the ground and the trip. In fact, the trip isn't far enough as he'll stay further."
Victor Dartnall would dearly have loved to get a prep run into Giles Cross as his 11-year-old bids to make it third-time lucky in the race.
Runner-up to Synchronised two years ago, the confirmed mudlark was also second to Le Beau Bai last season.
However, an outbreak of equine herpes at Dartnall's Barnstaple yard in early November saw the Dorset stable shut down for around six weeks, with six equine fatalities.
Dartnall said: "He seems very well. He went well on Tuesday in his final piece of work and I'm very happy with him.
"He hasn't had a run this year. We've come out of a dreadful situation which is a worry.
"The horses haven't been running consistently, but he seems very well and everything should suit him at Chepstow.
"We moved him away during the height of the equine herpes outbreak we had and he escaped it.
"Very often, horses will need a run to cope with the awful ground we are getting at the moment.
"Having said that, it's the ground Giles Cross loves. He's hopeless on anything else so let's keep our fingers crossed.
"If I was going into the race with the yard in form I would be feeling very hopeful."