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THREEUNDERTHRUFIVE: Grade 1 Brown Advisory on the agenda for Paul Nicholls’ likeable charge

Former Cheltenham winner Threeunderthrufive looks likely to head for the Brown Advisory over the National Hunt Chase

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Threeunderthrufive ridden by jockey Adrian Heskin (right) on their way to winning the Shukers Introductory Hurdle at Ludlow Racecourse, Ludlow.

The Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase would be the “preferred” option of connections for contender Threeunderthrufive, McNeill Family racing manager Iain Turner confirmed in a recent interview.

The 7-year-old has won nine of his 12 starts to date and is four from five over fences, winning his last quartet on the spin and most recently seen soaring to success in the Hampton at Warwick in January.

Ditcheat took this contest back in 2019 when Topofthegame beat Santini and Delta Work in a stellar renewal, but the yard look likely to have a much stronger candidate than the son of Shantou in the form of Bravemansgame.

Bravremansgame Cheltenham
Threeunderthrufive’s stable-mate Bravemansgame is unbeaten as a novice chaser and appears Britain’s leading hope for the Brown Advisory

However, owners are wary of last year’s decision to head for the National Hunt Chase with Escaria Ten over the three mile Grade 1 on the Wednesday, avoiding Monkfish but then bumping into Galvin who is prominent in the betting for the main event of the week, the Gold Cup.

“The Brown Advisory would be our preferred option, there’s a few reasons for that; Adrian can obviously ride, and secondly last season with Escaria Ten we went for the so-called easier option with the National Hunt Chase and we ran into Galvin, who is the favourite for the Gold Cup,” Turner told At The Races.

Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle
Adrian Heskin, retained rider for the McNeill Family, would not be able to ride Threeunderthrufive in the National Hunt Chase as it is limited to amateur riders only

“Just because a race looks easier at the time, it doesn’t always mean it works out like that.

“He’s won two Grade Twos, one with a penalty, and this might be his only chance to run in a Grade One.

“Hopefully it’s not, but it might be and if he shows he’s not up to that class and perhaps we should have gone further we can drop him back into handicap company for something like the bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown at the end of the season.

Turner admits that Paul Nicholls would rather separate his duo into differing races, but the final decision will lie with Max McNeill as long as the horse is fit and firing.

Horse trainer Paul Nicholls at Hereford Racecourse Supreme Kempton
Can Paul Nicholls claim a first Festival success in two seasons later this month?

“Paul would probably rather keep Bravemansgame and Threeunderthrufove apart and he probably would look at something like the National Hunt Chase for him, but we’ve not sat down and discussed it,” he admitted.

“One thing for sure is that he can only run in a Brown Advisory once, and from those horses at the top of the market he is the only one that has won around Cheltenham.

“Bravemansgame hasn’t, Ahoy Senor hasn’t, the Irish ones haven’t, so he’s got that little bit of course form and he’d probably be a shorter price than in the National Hunt Chase, but who’s to say Capodanno, Stattler or Run Wild Fred won’t be equally hard nuts to crack?

Galvin, winner of last year’s National Hunt Chase, is fancied to run a big race in the Cheltenham Gold Cup on the fourth and final day

“Max is in it for trying to win Grade One races and they’re difficult races, but we’ve got the option of Sandown five or six weeks afterwards so if we sit there after Cheltenham and think we should have gone for the longer trip, we’ll have a handicap mark and a little bit more experience.

“That is the thinking as of now, ultimately it will come down to Max’s decision, if everything’s well and he’s in great shape, we’ll talk to the team at Paul’s on Saturday and take our chances in a red-hot renewal of the Brown Advisory.”

Dominic Chapman is senior content writer at Low6 with a passion for horse racing. He provides a NAP and NB every day throughout the week on selected National Hunt and Flat cards in both Britain and Ireland. Additionally, he hosts the Paddock Picks Podcast with former Welsh Grand National-winning pilot, Charlie Poste - the pair interviewing and discussing current racing topics with a special guest every week.