Curtis’ thoughts with injured jockey

Trainer Rebecca Curtis’ thoughts are firmly with injured Irish jockey JP McNamara – the rider who steered Teaforthree to victory at the Cheltenham Festival last year.

Curtis is now preparing the same horse for the Grand National at Aintree on April 6 – but for the moment, her concerns are with McNamara.

Asked if a Teaforthree victory in the Grand National would have added significance, Pembrokeshire trainer Curtis said: “To be honest, for JT, it will be the last thing on his mind.

“For him to be where he is, whether he watches the National or not, it’s just more upsetting for him to be in that situation. It’s absolutely heartbreaking for him.”

Teaforthree disappointed last time out but his second to Monbeg Dude in December’s Welsh National at Chepstow and win in last year’s four-miler at Cheltenham make him an interesting contender.

The nine-year-old gelding, who is set to carry 11st 3lb in the National, is rated around a 16-1 chance with bookmakers. On His Own, trained in Ireland by Willie Mullins, is the 7-1 favourite.

“Teaforthree’s really fit and well, he did a really good piece of work on Wednesday. We couldn’t be happier, but it’s just one of those races where you need to have so much luck in running,” said Curtis.

“Even with the best jumper, you can have fallers in front of you and around you. There’s a lot of hard luck stories in the National where a horse is going well and brought down by other runners. I just think you have to be very lucky. All we can do is get him there fit and well.”

Those looking to place a Grand National bet on the horse will get odds of around 16/1 at this stage.

Irish jockey McNamara is paralysed in hospital after a fall at the Cheltenham Festival on 14 March. And the horse racing world has rallied around one of its own.

While Welsh National runner-up Teaforthree is likely to be ridden by Nick Scholfield at Aintree on Saturday 6 April, McNamara is in Frenchay Hospital, Bristol, starting a long road of rehabilitation.

“You can’t even speak words what I feel for him and his family. It’s just an awful situation to be in,” Curtis told BBC Wales.

“It couldn’t have happened to a nicer, hard-working man. It’s just horrendous really.”


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