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Scholfield set to replace McCoy on Teaforthree

Press Association

Nick Scholfield is in the frame to ride Teaforthree in the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup on Friday after Tony McCoy switched to Triolo D'Alene.

Scholfield partnered the Rebecca Curtis-trained 10-year-old into third place in last year's Grand National and currently does not have a ride in Friday's big race.

"Nick Scholfield may ride him, but obviously I've got to speak to the owners and see what they want to do," said Curtis.

"Nick is available to ride him, but I've got to put it by the owners.

"Teaforthree is in as good a form as we've had him. Hopefully he'll run well."

Curtis was left to look for another jockey after freeing McCoy from his original obligation so that he could team up with Hennessy winner Triolo D'Alene, Nicky Henderson's second string behind last year's winner and ante-post favourite Bobs Worth.

Harry Topper appears to be increasingly likely to miss the race and instead line up in the Betfred Midlands Grand National on the following day.

The seven-year-old kicked off the season with a thrilling victory in the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby, but was unable to make an impact on better ground at Sandown in December.

Kim Bailey's charge performed well when third in January's Argento Chase at Cheltenham and earned a tilt at the Gold Cup when sluicing through the Newbury mud to claim last month's Denman Chase.

But with the ground continuing to dry out at Cheltenham, the Gold Cup-winning trainer admits a trip to Uttoxeter 24 hours later appears a more likely target.

Bailey said: "The forecast is not looking particularly encouraging for us as far as Friday is concerned.

"If the heavens opened he'll run at Cheltenham, but that looks unlikely at this stage, so we've entered him at Uttoxeter.

"Considering the ground is soft, heavy in places at Uttoxeter, it looks more likely he'll run there."

One horse definitely out of the Gold Cup is Captain Chris after Philip Hobbs revealed his star chaser had suffered a season-ending setback.

The 10-year-old has been in fantastic form this campaign, building on an encouraging comeback third in the Peterborough Chase at Huntingdon with brilliant victories at Kempton and Ascot.

Despite his obvious preference for right-handed tracks, connections were looking forward to a second outing in steeplechasing's blue riband, in which he finished sixth 12 months ago.

But Hobbs said: "He's out, unfortunately. He has a suspensory problem and won't run again this season."

Belfast Telegraph


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