Threeunderthrufive booked his Cheltenham Festival ticket and the possibility of a £25,000 bonus into the bargain when continuing his winning ways in the Wigley Group Hampton Novices’ Chase at Warwick.
Trained by Paul Nicholls and owned by Max McNeill, neither were on course to witness his second Grade Two win as both are on holiday in the Caribbean and no doubt the champagne corks would have been popping some way from home.
Adrian Heskin was positive on the 8-13 favourite and bounced him into an early lead and in truth he never looked like being caught, coming home three and a half lengths clear of Doyen Breed, who was in receipt of 5lb.
The conundrum now for connections is to run in the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase in March, for which he is 16-1 (from 25s) with Paddy Power, or the National Hunt Chase over three-mile-six where he is 6-1 with the same firm.
Threeunderthrufive is also in the new Weatherbys nhstallions.co.uk Novices’ Chase at Lingfield next week, but he is highly unlikely to turn out again quickly.
Heskin was not surprisingly thrilled with his mount: “Bar his first run of the season he has been faultless and he’s given me a better feel today than Doncaster.
“I know people think we should run in the National Hunt Chase, but he’s deceptively quicker than he looks. I leave it to Paul.”
Iain Turner, McNeill’s racing manager said: “The owner and trainer are meeting for dinner in Barbados tonight and had he got beat it would have been evens each of two to see who would have cancelled first I think!
“He’s in at Lingfield just in case anything happened here. I doubt he’ll run, but we’ll see how he comes out of this.
“I think we’re favouring the Brown Advisory at the minute. Last year we shied away from taking Monkfish on with Escaria Ten. Monkfish was nowhere near his best but still won, and we ended up taking on Galvin in the National Hunt Chase and he’s nearly favourite for the Gold Cup now.
“The bonus for anyone winning this and at Cheltenham is a great boost, it definitely made our mind up to come here rather than Lingfield so well done to all involved.”