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Teaforthree - Cheltenham 14/03/2012

Teaforthree (right): available at 12-1 for Newbury's Hennessy Gold Cup

  PICTURE: Mark Cranham (  

McCoy expresses ground fears for Newbury mount

THE Hennessy Gold Cup is one of the few big races to have eluded Tony McCoy and the 17-time champion jockey indicated on Thursday that the Newbury showpiece might remain out of his reach for at least another year.

With Darlan not declared for the Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle, McCoy was free to travel to Newbury on Saturday, where he will ride Teaforthree for Rebecca Curtis in the big race.

Not surprisingly, McCoy's booking resulted in the Cheltenham Festival winner being widely cut for the Hennessy, with the 16-1 available on Thursday morning mostly disappearing. Only Ladbrokes still quoted that price on Thursday night, with bet365 and Betfred only 12-1.

Teaforthree won the National Hunt Chase on good ground at the festival, but that was over 4m. His other two wins last season, on soft and heavy, were both over 3m.

"The ground is not as soft as I thought it was going to be and that is against his chance," said McCoy after riding at Newbury, where he won the opener on the Curtis-trained Meganisi.

Tony McCoy - Sandown 05.02.11

Tony McCoy: hoped Newbury ground would be more testing

  PICTURE: Getty Images  

"Bobs Worth is probably the only horse in the race with Gold Cup potential and he'd be the one if the ground is okay. Teaforthree is a stayer and I was hoping the ground would be more testing."

Bobs Worth heads the market at a general 4-1, and apart from Teaforthree the only other significant market mover on Thursday after 19 were declared was First Lieutenant, who was cut to a general 10-1 (from 12).

Clerk of the course Richard Osgood said on Thursday night:"We're putting the covers down on the racing line, where the runners have raced today. We don't expect a problem, it's just a precaution.

"Temperatures should get up to around 4C or 5C tomorrow. The ground on the chase course is soft, good to soft in places, and on the hurdle course it remains soft. I'll update the going first thing in the morning."

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