Glasgow Times

Threeunder­thufive could be aimed at Scottish Grand National


THREEUNDER­THUFIVE will be aimed at either the Coral Scottish Grand National or bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown having been scratched from the Randox Grand National.

Although a four- time winner over the larger obstacles as a novice – including twice in Grade Two company – things have not gone as smoothly for

Paul Nicholls’ charge when tackling some hot handicaps this term, unseating at the first in the Coral Gold Cup before struggling to make his presence felt in both Warwick’s Classic Chase and most recently the Ultima at the Cheltenham Festival.

Those performanc­es have only underlined the belief of connection­s that a tilt at the Merseyside marathon may come a year too soon for the eight- year- old and he will skip Aintree to continue his big- field education either at Ayr on April 22 or a week later at Sandown on the final day of the season.

“It was always the case we thought the National might come a season too early for him, but if he was to run well in the Ultima his mark would have gone up and he would have been well- in for a National,”

explained Iain Turner, racing manager for owners the McNeill family. So when he didn’t [ run well] and he was subsequent­ly dropped 3lb there was no need keeping him in a Grand National.

“He will probably go for the Scottish Grand National or to Sandown for the bet365 Gold Cup.”

Reflecting on Threeunder­thrufive’s eighth- place finish in the Ultima, Turner added: “I think for some of these novices coming out of novice chases, if you’re not going to be one of the graded ones it becomes a big leap to run in these significan­t double- figure field races.

“If we go to Scotland it won’t be any easier for him but, if anything, he’s going to be 3lb lower and he’s going to be learning and getting some more big- field experience.”

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