Local horse Teaforthree is now clear favourite for the Crabbie’s Grand National at Aintree on Saturday, April 5 when the 10-year-old attempts to win one of the biggest sporting events on the planet after being placed last year.

The bay gelding trained by Rebecca Curtis at Fforest Farm near Newport who finished third to Auroras Encore in the 4 miles 3 furlongs and 110 yards steeplechase in 2013 is strongly fancied to come up trumps at the second time of asking.

Given a run-out at Ascot on Saturday over three miles, a distance far from ideal for him, Teaforthree, ridden by Noel Fehily, ran a blinder in finishing second just a neck behind Restless Harry.

Teaforthree’s odds have been slashed from 25/1 at the start of last week to 12 /1 favourite with most bookmakers yesterday and could be reduced still further before the race.

Ridden by Nick Schofield the north Pembrokeshire horse carried 11st 3lbs last year and this time has been allocated 10st 12lbs compared to 11st 10lbs carried by topweight Tidal Bay.

A brilliant jumper Teaforthree skipped over the 30 Aintree fences without encountering problems and with the weights in his favour it is little wonder that punters, especially in west Wales, have confidence in the horse.

He ran really well in the Welsh Grand National at Chepstow at the end of December, which was not his main objective. It is no secret that since last year a successful return to Aintree has been the aim and if he is on top form could give supporters another good run for their money.

After Saturday’s race trainer Rebecca Curtis said “It was only his second race of the season and he is sure to improve for that.

“He is a big stuffy type but we all think the world of him.

“We have high hopes and hopefully Noel will ride him at Aintree. Everything is on course and we are looking forward to the challenge,” she said.

John Williams of Cardigan-based bookmakers Celtic Racing told the Tivy-Side “There was some interest in the horse beforehand but after the weights were announced the telephone has not stopped ringing.

“We had already backed the horse with other companies at 33/1 so we are quite happy that money is pouring on. We have had large numbers of bets from Aberaeron to Pendine and especially in North Pembrokeshire.

“If Teaforthree wins everybody in this neck of the woods will be happy but not the national bookmakers,” he said.